Thoughts on getting PALS and ACLS on my own?


I graduated almost a year ago and am working my first nursing job out of school. I wasn't overly-aggressive in my initial Job Search, had/have a job in dentistry that I love and didn't have to leave, so I did lots of perusing of nursing ads before making a move. I'm currently working in home health caring for a baby on a vent and am preparing to take my peds vent certification practical in a couple of weeks. It works out well, I do nights so my sweet little one spends a lot of time sleeping and I study at her cribside.

When I do look at nurse postings, some will say you have to have PALS and or ACLS, some will say nothing in regards to this, some will say you have to obtain within X amount of time. I do want to stay marketable and I have the time to study, so I'm wondering, would it behoove me to go ahead and obtain these certifications on my own, even though I'm not currently working in a situation where a full ACLS scene would ever be played out? Also, I see lots of ad for obtaining these via online programs, is anyone familiar and happy with any of them? I'd REALLY hate to spend the money and time and then find out that the certification is worthless.

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatrics, Wound Care. Has 11 years experience.

Getting ACLS (and PALS) will not harm your Job Search. I took ACLS while job hunting to add it to my resume. I found the course a useful learning experience. I don't plan on working with kids, else I would have done the PALS, too. I figured it was a little investment for getting a job. Even if the jobs don't require it, I'm sure it looks pretty. My recruiter seemed pleased that I had gotten my ACLS cert between the initial phone interview with her, and a subsequent one. If nothing else, it shows continuing education.

I don't think AHA endorses online-only ACLS. I believe there is at least an in-person skills check. I think the online portion could simply be the educational testing. I'm not 100% positive about this.

subee, MSN, CRNA

4,584 Posts

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 51 years experience.

AN has a lot of threads about ACLS - check them out.

Specializes in Med-Surg, Neuro, Respiratory. Has 5 years experience.

I am planning on taking ACLS at the end of this month to look more marketable/keep my skills fresh for new jobs.

From what other nurses have told me it looks good to have ACLS/PALS and it shows that you have taken initiative to better yourself and your career.

@PolaBar: I think that the AHA only endorses ACLS/PALS classes that require you to show up to a class in order to pass the skills test. I'm not sure where you live but in CA there is a company called Pace Symposia that holds in-person classes for ACLS that is AHA endorsed.


38,333 Posts

I took both at my own expense for the knowledge base and to put them on my resume. It is totally up to you. Keep in mind that if you take the course(s) you will be able to add them to your resume and you can mention them on applications in that box that asks for special certifications or courses. At least once someone made mention of them being on my resume when I applied for a job, so they are noticeable. No one can take that away from you. Good luck.