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What is the AHA’s BLS Course?

The AHA’s new BLS Course provides the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. Updated to reflect new science and education in the 2015 AHA Guidelines Update for CPR and ECC, this course teaches basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings, with a focus on high-quality CPR, improvement of chest compression fraction, and high-performing team dynamics.

The AHA’s new BLS Course offers

  • Content representing the latest resuscitation science for improved patient outcomes

  • Realistic scenarios, simulations, and animations depicting rescuers, teams, and patients

  • Course and content flexibility for AHA Instructors and students, including adaptability to local protocols

How long is the BLS Instructor Lead Course?

The BLS ILT Course is approximately 4 hours long including all required lessons, if taught using the recommended Instructor-to-student ratio of 1 Instructor to 6 students.

Who is the intended audience for the BLS Course?

The AHA’s BLS Course is designed for healthcare providers caring for patients both in prehospital and in-facility environments.

What specifically is taught in the new BLS Course?

After successfully completing the BLS Course, students should be able to 

  • Describe the importance of high-quality CPR and its impact on survival

  • Describe all of the steps of the Chain of Survival

  • Apply the BLS concepts of the Chain of Survival

  • Recognize the signs of someone needing CPR

  • Perform high-quality CPR for an adult

  • Describe the importance of early use of an automated external defibrillator (AED)

  • Demonstrate the appropriate use of an AED

  • Provide effective ventilation using a barrier device

  • Perform high-quality CPR for a child

  • Perform high-quality CPR for an infant

  • Describe the importance of teams in multirescuer resuscitation

  • Perform as an effective team member during multirescuer CPR

  • Describe the technique for relief of foreign-body airway obstruction for an adult or child

  • Describe the technique for relief of foreign-body airway obstruction for an infant

How long is the AHA BLS course completion card valid?

The AHA BLS course completion card is valid for two years. The date of issue will be the day of the course. The expiration date will have a two digit day, a two month and a four digit year; therefore the course completion card expires on the last day of the month. 


If you take a course on 02/01/2017, the card issue date would be 02/01/2017 and the expiration date would be 02/2019.

What delivery formats does the AHA offer for the BLS Course?

Three different course formats are available to accommodate the learning needs of individual students and offer flexibility for Instructors. All three course formats include the same learning objectives and result in the same course completion card. Course formats include: 

  • Instructor-led training This option is led by an AHA Instructor in a classroom setting. Instructors deliver courses designed to include both the cognitive portion of training and the psychomotor component of thorough skills practice and testing.

  • Blended learning (HeartCode® BLS) Blended learning uses online technology not only to supplement but also to transform and improve the learning process. Successful blended learning can reach students with varying learning styles and in different environments. It is a combination of eLearning, in which a student completes part of the course in a self-directed manner, and a hands-on session.

    • Blending learning: A combination of eLearning, in which a student completes part of the course in a self-directed manner, and a hands-on session with an Instructor or on a voiceassisted manikin (if their institution uses this option).

  • Resuscitation Quality Improvement™ (RQI™) A unique ECC program designed specifically for training actively employed healthcare providers in clinical environments. Unlike the Instructor-led and/or blended course, the RQI program is a maintenance-of-competence platform designed for site-specific adoptions.

Is there a BLS renewal course? If not, why not?

There is not a BLS renewal course/agenda. Since BLS skills – and competency and mastery of those skills – are the most important component of BLS training, course timing cannot be shortened for a renewal agenda. While the AHA did provide a renewal option for the 2011 course, it was only 30 minutes shorter than the full course.

What does the term “in-facility” mean?

In-facility refers to healthcare providers who work in a hospital, clinic, or other healthcare facility including a dentist office, skilled nursing, and assisted-living facilities.

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