How do I Become an ACLS Instructor?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 January 2020
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To become an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) instructor, an applicant must complete a core instructor course and an ACLS instructor course at a medical training center. Some medical certifications are required that are designed to ensure interested parties have the necessary skills to competently administer this type of training. Candidates should check with local training centers to find out specific requirements for pursuing a career as an ACLS instructor.

An ACLS instructor trains other health care professionals in the use of advanced cardiac life saving techniques. These techniques are typically performed on individuals experiencing a cardiac emergency, such as a heart attack. They can include the use of heart monitoring equipment, such as EKGs and resuscitation devices. In the US, this type of training is regulated by the American Heart Association (AHA).

Interested candidates may first wish to check with their local training centers to determine whether they are interested in hiring new ACLS instructors. These training centers may be in the form of community colleges and hospitals that offer part time training courses. They may also be centers that are run by government organizations, such as the AHA, and specialize in offering classes and seminars for medical providers in the field of cardiac medicine. Each training center may have a different course preference for their instructors. The AHA website provides a list of training centers by state for US residents.


Individuals pursuing an ACLS instructor career should first be certified in CPR and ACLS. Some training seminars ask for a written recommendation from a current or previous ACLS instructor prior to accepting students. With these qualifications met, an applicant can then sign up for a core instructor course. This course is designed to be a foundation for instruction in any of the life-saving disciplines, including basic techniques, heart-saving methods, and pediatric specializations. It focuses on educational practices and teaches instructors to relate to their students.

There are three ways in which this core class may be taken. In the US, students may complete the course online through the AHA's website and receive continuing education courses once finished. Students in any region may purchase a core instructor's workbook and complete the class through the accompanying CD, though course credits usually can not be obtained through this method. Individuals who prefer a traditional classroom setting may prefer courses offered at local training centers from existing instructors.

Once the core class has been completed, students may proceed to an instructor's course that is specific to the type of techniques which they will be teaching, such as ACLS, basic life saving (BLS) techniques, or pediatric advanced life support (PALS). These discipline-specific courses are typically only offered in classroom settings at training centers. The applicant has finished training once he or she has been monitored while teaching by a member of a local training center or a current instructor.



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