How Often Should You Renew Your PALS Certification?

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( — September 18, 2020) — If you’re a healthcare professional whose job requires that you hold certifications like the PALS (pediatric advanced life support) or ALCS (advanced cardiac life support), you might not realize that they need to be renewed. Keeping your certifications active and up to date is not only necessary for employers to recognize them, but recertifying also ensures that your knowledge is fresh and that you’re prepared to handle emergencies should they arise. 

Whether you are looking to get a PALS certification, or you already have one and are curious about how to renew, it’s important to inform yourself about the process and the costs. If you’re not quite sure what PALS is, or you need help renewing yours, here’s some basic information you need to know.

What is a PALS certification?

Pediatric Advanced Life Support, or PALS, is a program offered by the American Heart Association. It’s intended for healthcare providers to learn how to care for critically sick infants and children. CPR, first aid, and basic life support are all equally important, but certificates like the PALS and ALCS are more advanced and specialized. 

In your PALS training, you’ll learn about treatment algorithms, effective resuscitation, communication and cooperation in emergency situations, and advanced pediatric assessment. Before taking a PALS course, it’s important to be familiar with basic life support and heart rhythms, and have knowledge of the various drugs and medications that are used. 

PALS training is required for many emergency medicine jobs, but remember that it doesn’t cover the critically ill neonate and isn’t applicable or used in a NICU setting. Rather, PALS is designed to teach rescuers and frontline healthcare employees how to assess patients, provide immediate intervention, and apply critical thinking skills and knowledge in a way that provides the patient the best chance for survival and recovery. 

What types of jobs require PALS certification?

Most jobs that require knowledge of pediatric advanced life support are in healthcare and emergency medicine. Emergency responders, nurses, ICU staff, ER personnel, and pediatric care providers are some examples of careers where a PALS certification would be required and essential in order to adequately handle the responsibilities of the job. In many cases, employers won’t require that a prospective employee be certified upon being hired, but usually, you will be required to obtain certification within 3-6 months on the job. 

How do often should I renew?

Once you have your PALS certification, it’s essential that you keep it up to date and recertify on time. If you wait more than 60 days after your certificate expires, you may find yourself having to start over to obtain a new one, instead of the shorter process of recertifying. Your certification must be renewed every two years, and the coursework is estimated to be approximately 8 hours long. Many programs offer certification online, so when you search “PALS recertification near me“, remember that you don’t need to find a class that’s in your geographic proximity. 

Getting your PALS certification is crucial for many healthcare professionals, and it’s a huge asset in other careers as well. However, just because you’ve obtained your certification doesn’t mean you can just forget about it. PALS requires renewal every two years, which is much simpler and less expensive than starting over from scratch because you waited too long to renew. Don’t be scared to apply for jobs that will eventually require certification, talk to your employer about whether or not they would be willing to have you go through the program once you’re hired. 

Once you have basic life support training, you’ll be better prepared to succeed in a PALS course, as having preexisting knowledge of the relevant courses of treatment and methodology are a prerequisite for understanding the material. If you have a certification that needs renewal, find a course from a provider you trust as soon as possible to avoid any problems or complications with your healthcare career.