What is an ACLS Instructor Course?

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  • Written By: T. M. Robertson
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2019
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An ACLS instructor course is a class designed to prepare individuals to teach the curriculum of the American Heart Association's Advanced Cardiac Life Support course, otherwise known as ACLS. Before taking the instructor course, individuals are required to already have a detailed understanding of ACLS, working experience with ACLS, current CPR certification, and also hold a current ACLS provider card. The ACLS instructor course teaches students how to organize and structure their classes, while also teaching them learning strategies to better reach their students.

Before applying for an ACLS instructor course, some requirements must first be met. In order to be successful in teaching the ACLS curriculum, the student must first have an in-depth understanding of all ACLS concepts and principles. Direct working experience with ACLS is also a prerequisite. During the ACLS instructor course, students will be required to demonstrate a certain level of expertise on emergency cardiac care of patients. Applicants must also provide proof that they are certified in CPR and that they hold an active ACLS provider card in order for their application to be considered.


The required curriculum for the entire ACLS instructor program will vary with different institutions, with some requiring only one course and some requiring multiple courses. The average course lasts between two and four hours, and it is usually a one-time course, only taking place during one day. In addition to the course requirements, students will also be expected to complete a specified number of student teaching hours before they are certified to teach on their own. Most programs require the student to assist teaching two ACLS courses with a certified instructor in order to meet this requirement. The average program will verify the student's skills and knowledge of ACLS, teach instruction and testing methods, teach the basics of the American Heart Association's Emergency Cardiovascular Care program, and teach advanced methods of cardiac life support.

After the student successfully completes the ACLS instructor program requirements, he or she will receive an American Heart Association ACLS instructor card. With this card, he or she will be able to teach ACLS courses at approved educational facilities. While teaching formats will vary depending on the needs of a particular student population, all ACLS instructors are required to only use the videos and other educational materials approved by the American Heart Association when teaching students. Failure to follow this protocol could result in termination, and possibly a revocation of the instructor card.


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