BLS is an abbreviation for ‘Basic Life Support’ and is a reference to the emergency medical care given to a victim who’s vital signs need to be sustained until they can get further care at a hospital. BLS training provides individuals with the skills they need to support a victim of cardiac arrest, choking, and drowning in a pre-hospital setting. The techniques used by BLS certified people are generally non-invasive and do not include medicine but rather focus on using life-preserving techniques such as CPR to maintain the victim’s vital signs to avoid death and/or brain damage. The three factors that BLS certified individuals are directly trained to manage are the victim’s circulation, airway, and breathing.
This type of certification is commonly required for those that have jobs in the healthcare industry or people that work with young children, the elderly, or other roles which include the responsibility for the safety of others.
Having your BLS certification is proof that an individual has taken a class and passed the required exams. A BLS certified person theoretically has the knowledge and skill-set required to perform CPR / BLS in the event of an emergency. Once certified, are are required to renew your certification every two years to keep your knowledge and skills sharp as well as to stay up to date with changing guidelines.
What’s the Difference Between CPR Certification and BLS Certification?
Well, the short answer is that there is no difference between CPR certification and BLS certification however the term BLS has generally been associated with the healthcare profession. So the question you need to ask yourself, or your employer, is what is the purpose of the certification? If your job is in the healthcare profession or in emergency services, then you will likely need a Healthcare Provider level CPR certification.
Jobs That Require BLS Certification
As mentioned earlier, if you are required to get a BLS certification, you are required to take a CPR course that is geared to Professional Rescuers and Healthcare Providers and not for regular laypeople. Here are examples of some professions that may require BLS certification:
- Athletic Trainer
- Bus Drivers
- Foster parents
- Physical Therapists
- Physician’s Assistants
- Police Officers
- Security Personnel
Where can I get BLS Certification?
There are a few options for becoming BLS certified:
- American Heart Association: The current leader in the marketplace for certifications is the American Heart Association. They pretty much set the standard for CPR and BLS practices. Their traditional classroom-based course, you are taught everything you need to know. You can find a class near you by using their class locator. Read more about the AHA BLS classroom courses. Course length is 3 hours and price varies by training center but costs approximately $85.
- American Red Cross BLS: They also offer BLS classes which they call CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers and Health Care Providers. The course is done in a classroom environment and has a length of about 5.5 hours. Cost is approximately $110.
- ProCPR Online BLS Certification: They offer 100% online training for people that need BLS certification. If required, they also have the option of having your skills tested in person, which is known as a ‘blended’ approach, blending both online and offline training. May take 1-2 hours with a cost of $29.95. Visit ProCPR to learn more.
Can I get my BLS Certification Online?
The American Heart Association offers you to skip the theory portion of the classroom training which can instead be done online virtually through their online BLS training courses. You do the bulk of your learning online with their videos and reading materials. Their standard online BLS course, called BLS for Healthcare Providers Online costs $22. If you elect for the HeartCode® course which is just a little bit more expensive ($28.50) you will have access to a state of the art eSimulator to place you right into virtual emergency situations. Once you complete one of these online BLS classes, you will be required to have your skills tested in person by an AHA instructor, which is not included in the price of the online course.
If you prefer a 100% online-based certification, without needing in person skill evaluations, ProCPR is by far the market leader with over 350,000 Healthcare Professionals depending on them for their certifications. Their online certification program costs $29.95. They follow the American Heart Association guidelines and guarantee that your employer will accept their certification. This is a convenient option that is rapidly growing in popularity.