More and more people are making the choice to forego traditional classroom settings to obtain their Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Certification online. Could this be the right choice for you?
The fact that PALS certification is moving online is hardly a surprise as technology in its many various forms is being embraced more and more among the medical community. The simple fact is that PALS courses online are more time and cost efficient than the traditional alternative.
What has deterred some people from pursuing their PALS certification course online is that most hospitals and institutions require their employees have their certification from the American Heart Association (AHA), and they do require a hands on portion of the course to be completed. If, however, your employer does not specifically require AHA certification, an online PALS course is your best option. If that is the case your only question which provider?
The one thing that all online PALS courses have in common is they offer convenience. As great as that is, you need to look a little closer to see what makes a program right for you. There is no doubt that some programs are better than others so we have provided some information to help you distinguish between the pretender and the contenders.
This is most likely going to be the first thing you look into when exploring online PALS courses. No matter how great a program may appear, id the course is not basing their material off of the most recent PALS AHA and EEC guidelines and best practices, it is not a course you want to take. Since you also won’t be getting an AHA certification of completion for passing the course, this is very important and should be non-negotiable.
The second factor you are likely to weigh is cost. Most online PALS Certification courses range from around $179 to $275, and in the range of $129-$175 for recertification courses. The costlier options do tend to offer some extras which may include videos or extra study materials. The more inexpensive courses tend to be more straightforward with few frills. If your employer has no specific preference of a provider, the less expensive options are usually the best choice.
Continuing Medical Education (CME) Credit
If you can receive CME credit while getting your PALS certification, why not kill two birds with one stone? CME credit shouldn’t be viewed as an optional bonus; you should ensure that you get it. CME is only granted to companies that are approved to do so, therefore this also adds to the legitimacy of your course provider so long as it is from a reputable board that is accepted by your employer.
Most online PALS courses offer 6+ hours for certification courses and 3+ for recertification courses. Also make sure you also understand the type of CME currency you can receive (AMA, ANCC, ADA, etc.). This should all be clearly laid out on their website.
Reviews and Testimonials
Reviews and testimonials should never be the only factor in choosing a PALS certification course, unless of course you personally know the person providing it. On their own, however, they are an excellent way to gauge what kind of experiences others have had with a provider and to what level of satisfaction.
Some PALS courses online will have a time restriction on how long you have for completion while others have none. Make sure you are absolutely clear regarding the amount of time you have to not only finish the course, but the exam itself, and how many attempts you have to pass it. Not all providers are the same so make sure you choose a provider that allows you to work at your own pace.
Satisfaction guarantees or money-back guarantees will never even come into play in most cases. However, it is also always possible that they could, and as such you ideally want to choose a provider that offers you some recourse if needed. Just in case something changes where you cannot complete the course, an employer decides to no longer accept it or any rare but possible scenario of the ilk arises, it is best to be covered.
PALS Certification online may be the best option for you if traditional courses in person are difficult for you to travel to or fit into your schedule.