ACLS woman standing under tree

ACLS vs BCLS – Which Training Is Appropriate For You?

Both ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and BCLS (Basic Cardiac Life Support) are types of cardiac life support training that provide necessary skills and knowledge to healthcare providers who may encounter a cardiac emergency.

However, there are several key differences between the two courses which can help you decide which one is right for you right now. Let’s explore those differences in more detail.

ACLS

The comprehensiveness

ACLS covers a wider range of topics than BCLS, including more advanced topics such as airway management and electrical therapies. On the other hand, BCLS focuses on the basics of life support, such as CPR and AED use. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive introduction to cardiac emergencies, BCLS is the right course for you.

Many healthcare providers have a general understanding of CPR but need a refresher on the latest techniques. BCLS is perfect for those who want to brush up on their skills, while BCLS renewal might be a great way to keep your skills up-to-date. In this case, you just need to take the BCLS course again, which is nowadays possible to do online, thanks to digital technology.

The level of certification

ACLS certification is valid for two years, while BCLS certification is valid for three years. For healthcare providers who need to maintain their credentials, this might be a deciding factor in which course to take. If you’re due for renewal soon, it might make sense to take the ACLS course so you can renew both your ACLS and BCLS certification at the same time.

However, if you’re just starting in your healthcare career, or if you need to take a refresher course, BCLS might be the better option since it covers the basics of life support.

The focus of training

ACLS is designed for healthcare providers who are likely to encounter a cardiac emergency in their line of work, such as paramedics and nurses. BCLS, on the other hand, is more geared toward laypeople who want to learn how to save a life but might not have the same level of medical knowledge.

This is an important distinction to make, as the focus of the training will affect the content of the course. If you’re not sure which course is right for you, it’s always a good idea to consult with your supervisor or another healthcare professional.

Additionally, many courses now offer hybrid options that combine both ACLS and BCLS training, so you can get the best of both worlds. For example, the American Red Cross offers a blended learning course that includes both online and in-person components.

The time and money cost

ACLS courses tend to be more expensive than BCLS courses since they cover more material and require more time to complete. If you’re on a tight budget, BCLS might be the better option since it’s a shorter course and covers the basics of life support. If you have the time and money to invest, though, ACLS might be worth the investment since it covers more advanced topics.

Of course, the cost of the courses will also vary depending on the provider. Some providers offer discounts for groups, so it’s always a good idea to check with your employer or other healthcare professionals to see if there are any discounts available.

As a matter of time, ACLS courses are typically two days long, while BCLS courses are only one day. This can make a difference if you’re trying to fit the course into a busy schedule.

The provider

ACLS is typically only offered by certified instructors, while BCLS can be taught by a wider range of providers such as nurses, paramedics, and even some laypeople. If you’re looking for a more hands-on learning experience, ACLS might be the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more affordable option, or if you’re tight on time, BCLS might be a better choice since it’s offered by a wider range of providers.

You should also consider the experience of the instructor when choosing a course. ACLS and BCLS courses are available from a variety of providers, both online and in-person. Make sure to do your research to find a reputable provider with experienced instructors.

ACLS

Choosing the right cardiac life support training can be tricky, but it’s important to choose a course that fits your needs. ACLS is typically more expensive and time-consuming than BCLS, but it covers more material and may be a better choice for healthcare providers who are likely to encounter a cardiac emergency. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, or if you don’t have a lot of time to spare, BCLS might be a better choice.

Ultimately, the best decision is to consult with your supervisor or another healthcare professional to see which course is right for you.