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What is BLS Certification?

Rescuers providing CPR
Professional Rescuers Perform CPR

BLS Stands for Basic Life Support. It refers to the skills used by emergency first responders, medical professionals, and more, use to help during a medical emergency. People who earn a BLS Certification will know how to use skills like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for victims of cardiac arrest, be able to clear airways for victims suffering from respiratory failure, and will be trained to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help restore normal heart function. 

Any layperson can (and should) learn these skills, as they can help save lives. However, if you want to get a job that uses these skills, you need to get Healthcare Provider BLS certification. 

How Can I Become BLS Certified?

To become certified in BLS, you will need to take a nationally accredited course. Then, after taking the course and passing the exams, you will be able to receive a card as proof of your current certification status.

Earn Your BLS Certification Online

You can take the course in person or online from your computer or phone. In person courses are only a few hours long. By comparison, our online course can teach you everything you need to know in about 45 minutes. In either case, the process is quick.

What Does a BLS course consist of?

A Healthcare Provider BLS course covers the essentials for Basic Life Support. In fact, the course covers the skills you will need to respond to the most common life-threatening emergencies. 

The course will cover the basic life support skills, including:

  • CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation for adults, children and infants. 
    • This includes single rescuer and 2 rescuer techniques. It also includes the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Use of an AED (automated external defibrillator) for adults and children. 
    • Additionally, the course includes the medical legal aspects for professionals. 
  • Treatment for choking victims. 
    • This includes the Heimlich Maneuver, Adult, child and infant FBAO (Foreign Body Airway Obstruction) and how to treat victims who are conscious or unconscious. 
  • How to recognize a medical emergency. 

While you can earn CPR certification from a standalone CPR class, the material learned in a standard CPR course is also covered in the Healthcare Provider BLS course.

Who Needs a BLS Certification? 

Many different careers require certification with Healthcare Provider BLS. These include:

  • Doctors and nurses
  • EMTs and paramedics
  • Police officers
  • Firefighters
  • Lifeguards
  • Dentists, dental assistants and hygienists
  • and more…

In general, you will need to have certification in BLS if your job makes you likely to encounter a medical emergency.  But you don’t need to be a healthcare provider to take the Basic Life Support class, anyone can learn these life saving skills.

What is the Difference Between Basic Life Support and Standard CPR Certification?

The Basic Life Support Class is more advanced than the standard CPR class. In fact, BLS is a professional level course designed for career rescuers. It is the standard for doctors and nurses. 

The BLS course contains all of the information from the standard CPR course and then some. You could say it’s a professional level CPR course. The Basic Life Support course will teach you more advanced skills when compared to a standard CPR course. 

For example, the Basic Life Support class covers 2 rescuer CPR. It also teaches you how to use a bag valve mask. 

Like the CPR course, the Healthcare Provider BLS course covers compression-only CPR. However, this was not always the case. In the past, only the CPR course included compression-only CPR. This is because it is easier for a layperson to perform. The BLS course on the other hand requires rescue breaths in addition to chest compressions. This is because the BLS course is designed for professionals who would likely have PPE such as a barrier or bag-valve mask handy. However, the BLS certification online now also covers compression-only CPR for situations in which PPE is unavailable. 

How Much Does Online BLS Certification Cost?

The cost of the online Healthcare Provider BLS certification course is currently $19.95. This includes a wallet card that is mailed within 24 hours. It also includes downloadable card and certificate.

How Long Does BLS Certification Last?

BLS Certification lasts exactly 2 years. In accordance with national guidelines, you must renew your certification after your certification has expired. You need to renew your certification every 2 years because:

  1. CPR and other skills are perishable. If you don’t brush up on them every now and then you can get rusty. 
  2. Every so often, the guidelines for the courses are updated to reflect new evidence and techniques. 

What Is Involved in Renewing a BLS Certification online?

To renew your certification , all you must do is take a Healthcare Provider BLS renewal course


Does having a BLS certification require me to help?

If you are required to have CPR training for your job, then you will be required to act while at work. When you are not at work, you generally do not need to get involved. However, some states have “Duty to Act” laws. Check your local laws and statutes. 

Can I be sued for performing CPR? 

Good Samaritan laws will protect you. Be careful not to go beyond your level of training. A BLS certification does not allow you administer drugs such as an epi-pen, or even aspirin.

Is there an age requirement?

There is no age requirement for the Healthcare Provider BLS class, anyone can take the class.

Is there a difference between the CPR-C class and Healthcare Provider BLS class?

The “C” class was the predecessor to the Healthcare Provider BLS class. The “C” class was changed shortly after the use of and AED was added.

Mike Figuero

Mike Figuero is the founder and president of the American AED CPR Association.

Mike was raised in New York, where at a young age he became an instructor… learn more

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