More hospitals and institutions than ever are requiring that their employees be certified in Basic Life Support (BLS) and CPR procedures than ever before. This increased demand has prompted an increased demand in BLS certification and recertification courses, both in person and online.
As demand has increased, many employees are being afforded the opportunity to certify and recertify online rather than in a classroom setting.
Prior to registering with an online provider for your BLS certification or recertification courses, you should ensure that they meet all your needs aside from being time and cost efficient. While pursuing your BLS certification or renewal online is easier than having to attend classes in person, you will still want to make several key inquiries before registering with any provider.
To help expedite the process of choosing the online BLS cert or recert program that best fits your needs, we have created this checklist of questions and answers that can help you make a well-informed decision regarding what program provider you choose.
These eleven commonly asked questions regarding online BLS certification should help you find the best fit for you:
Skills assessments – yes or no?
There are no skills assessments administered as a portion of any fully online BLS course. While the same material is covered in your studies, your grasp of that knowledge will be tested cognitively rather than in a hands-on manner.
Can I get an AHA Provider Card?
Currently, the AHA does not accredit, approve, nor endorse any fully online BLS or CPR certification or renewal course, so the answer is no. The AHA requires an in-person, hands-on- skills assessment as a part of their certification program, and that is not possible online.
If my employer turns down my card, what happens?
Prior to registering with any website to complete your BLS, CPR or First Aid certification or recertification course, you should first check with your employer to see if they will accept it. Many websites will offer a 100% money back guarantee should this occur, however, not all will and if they do not you have little or no recourse to recoup your money.
Will there be a timer on my course or exam?
In most cases, your online BLS course will not be timed. You will be provided the opportunity to work at your own pace as it fits your schedule. This is in part why online cert and recert is so popular.
If I fail the final, what happens?
In the event that you do not pass your online BLS exam on the first attempt, most websites will allow you to try again as soon as you want at no additional cost. Please be aware, however, that not all websites will provide unlimited re-tests with no waiting period. This should be one of the first things you check at each website you visit.
When I pass my exam, what happens?
Once you have passed your exam, the first task you will perform is checking your results. Once that is done, you will want to request you receive any CME credits completion of your BLS certification affords you along with a printable Provider Card – assuming the site you have chosen offers them.
Will physical Provider Card take long to arrive?
The time it takes to receive your physical Provider card varies from site to site, however, in most cases you can expect to have it within 2-5 business days of the time that you requested it. In some cases, you may be offered a digital Provider Card as well which is available to download and print out immediately.
Is my certification valid forever, how long does it last and when will it expire?
Regardless of where you received your BLS healthcare provider card or renewal from, it will be valid for a period of two years.
Will I also receive study material with an online course?
The study materials that you receive for your BLS course will vary depending on the provider that you choose. Some will may hard copies of their materials while others may dispense materials via access to a locked website. The most common delivery system is providing downloadable PDF versions of everything. Regardless of format, they should adhere to AHA guidelines. Whichever you choose is a matter of personal preference.
How can an unaccredited organization be legit or acceptable?
Even though the AHA will not accredit any BLS class that is offered wholly online, that in no way means that online courses are not legitimate or accredited. Prior to registration, inquire as to whether your BLS provider has agreements with any other accrediting agencies. In most cases, your online BLS Provider card will be accepted by most hospitals and institutions. Keep in mind that the AHA does not accredit or endorse any other providers – they are their own provider. There are many nationally accredited BLS, CPR and First Aid coursers that are acceptable alternatives to the AHA and based on their guidelines.
Are these courses CME Credit(s) eligible?
CME credits are available upon completion of your BLS certification and renewal courses in most cases, but be aware that not all online providers will offer them. If this is important to you, verify the provider you have chosen will award CME credits for successful completion prior to registration.