How Do I Earn BCLS Certification?

Laura M. Sands
Laura M. Sands
BCLS courses offer a test and certification immediately upon completion.
BCLS courses offer a test and certification immediately upon completion.

Earn BCLS certification by enrolling in a course that offers certification upon completion. You may find a course in your area by searching for one on the Internet or by simply asking your local hospital for information on where such classes are taught. After you have successfully completed all coursework for BCLS certification, you will be given an examination to test your knowledge of basic cardiac life support. If you pass the exam with a satisfactory score, you will be awarded a BCLS certificate.

In this digital age, you may find that some basic cardiac life support courses are taught online. Other classes are taught at various physical locations including hospitals, clinics, medical schools and community colleges. The length of a training program may vary, but most can be completed in two days or less. If you are required to obtain basic cardiac life support certification for a job or for an educational program, be sure the class you are considering meets the criteria put forth by the agency you will eventually present your BCLS certification to.

You do not need to fulfill any prerequisite training to obtain your BCLS certification. Although most people who take basic life support (BLS) or basic cardiac life support training either work in the medical field or work with populations who may need such intervention, certification is open to the general public. In fact, health experts agree that everyone should obtain BCLS certification whether required to do so or not.

Although some classes are taught online, they are primarily made available for health care providers. If you have already had medical training, you may qualify to earn BCLS certification through such courses. If you are not a trained health care provider, however, it is recommended that you take an in-person class so as not to miss the hands-on training you need.

Regardless of the BCLS certification course you choose, you will be trained to administer basic cardiac life support to children and adults. You will also receive training literature that is yours to keep and refer to in the future. At the course’s end, you will be given a written examination to assess what you have learned during your training. If you are able to successfully pass the examination, the course instructor will give you a certificate to keep and a smaller card to carry with you as proof of your BCLS certification.

Discussion Comments


Taking a BCLS certification class can be a nice resume builder for teachers and school administrators, especially PE teachers. Schools these days often have emergency response plans with personnel designated to take certain roles, like the person who calls 911, the person who uses the automatic defibrillator, etc.

At my schools, these have been PE teachers and administrators. I think that may be because PE teachers often work two at a time (that is, there is often more than one PE class going at once) and so it is easier for them to leave their classroom. If a classroom teacher is alone, it's difficult for him or her to leave. But it's a nice qualification for *anyone* to have. Also helpful for nannies, day care workers, etc.

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    • BCLS courses offer a test and certification immediately upon completion.
      By: Tandem
      BCLS courses offer a test and certification immediately upon completion.