Do you need to renew life supports?

As the new year approaches, it is good practice to review your life support certifications to check if any will be expiring in 2019. Schedule life support renewal classes as early as possible to ensure there is no gap in your certification. Keep in mind that some classes, particularly ATLS and CALS, fill up rather quickly and typically need to be scheduled months in advance.

Life support requirements vary by facility. Contact our credentialing department if you are not sure of your site’s requirements. Below is information on the most common life supports:

Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)
ATLS was developed by the American College of Surgeons with the goal of training medical providers in the management of acute trauma cases. It is widely accepted as the standard of care for initial assessment and treatment in trauma centers. For a list of upcoming ATLS classes, visit the American College of Surgeons ATLS website. (ATLS is an in-person training and not available to take online.)

Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS)
CALS is a life support certification that can be used in place of ATLS. While CALS is not yet recognized nationwide, it is currently accepted in medical facilities in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, and Maine. The primary focus of CALS is to train medical personnel in a team approach to anticipate, recognize, and treat life-threatening emergencies. Visit the CALS website for more information or to register for a course. (CALS is an in-person training and is not available to take online.)

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
ACLS is a set of clinical interventions for the urgent treatment of cardiac arrest, stroke, and other life-threatening cardiovascular emergencies. ACLS certification is good for two years and must be renewed prior to the expiration date stated on the card. Most facilities (particularly those with a trauma designation) no longer allow a 6-month grace period for ACLS renewal.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
PALS is intended to teach a systematic approach to quickly assess and stabilize a pediatric patient in an emergency. PALS certification is good for two years and must be renewed prior to the expiration date stated on the card.

Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP)
NRP was developed by the American Heart Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics to teach an evidence-based approach in the care of newborns. It was established as an educational program in 1987 to address newborn transfers to the NICU. 


As mentioned previously, ATLS and CALS are both in-person trainings and not available to take online. However, there are some online options for ACLS, PALS, and BLS. The American Heart Association offers a hybrid program in which ACLS, PALS, or BLS recertifications can be completed partially online. After completing this online session, you will need to locate a skills session, which is an in-person test out session required to complete your certification. For more information on this option, visit the American Heart Association website

There are many online life support certification courses that are NOT recognized by the American Heart Association or Red Cross. These may not be accepted by the facilities you staff, licensing boards, state medical societies, Department of Health & Human Services, etc. Please use discretion when looking at online options and contact our office for assistance if you are unsure.

Wapiti Medical Staffing
107 Flynn Drive
Suite 600
Milbank, SD 57252

Phone: (888) 733-4428
or (605) 432-6621
Fax: (888) 242-9992 Contact Us