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Have you received a voicemail or email from your AHA training center like the following:

“The course you completed with the AHA does not match with the option you registered for….”

This is most likely due to a confusion regarding the different classifications of “On-Line” coursework that the American Heart Association offers under the 2020 guidelines. Read on to find out more and how to protect yourself from making this common mistake.

“Pre-Course Work”

The AHA offers a “pre-course work” option to reduce the in-person class time for traditional, instructor-led classes. These pre-course work options are available for ACLS and PALS and are offered free of charge directly from the AHA at the time of this article’s publication.

The pre-course work for ACLS and PALS courses encompass the videos and assessment you need to complete before attending the in-person classroom portion. The pre-course work generally takes students around 6 to 8 hours for either ACLS or PALS.

On a scheduled date and time, the student who has complete the pre-course work shows up for an instructor-led classroom event. The student brings with them TWO documents; the pre-course assessment and the certificate of completion found at the end of the pre-course videos.

The instructor-led classroom portion of the course combines videos, skills practice, skills testing, with a written exam. Depending on the number of students participating, the in-person class can run about 6 hours for ACLS and 8 hours for PALS. This course format allows for the greatest amount of instructor contact time.

Students who have taken the pre-course work come prepared with questions for the instructor. Reinforcement through videos, and skills practice, will be accommodated and mastery will be achieved. The hands-on skills testing gives the student a time to show off their competence of the skills. Lastly, the written examination is proctored.

HeartCode®

The HeartCode BLS, ACLS, or PALS courses are also on-line; however, in this format the written test and full course instruction is included in the eLearning module. This option is offered for a fee (varies by course) by the AHA at the time of this article’s publication.

On a scheduled date and time, the student who has complete the HeartCode shows up for an instructor-led classroom event. The student brings with them ONE document; the HeartCode certificate of completion.

The instructor-led skills session combines videos, skills practice, and skills testing. Depending on the number of students participating, the instructor-led skills session runs about 1 hour for ACLS and 1.5 hours for PALS. This option allows for the least time spent in-person and the greatest flexibility of a student’s time.

Your AHA center may offer a consolidated package that includes both the HeartCode® and Skills Session appointment in one purchase. Alternatively, if you have purchased or been issued a HeartCode course independently, there may be an option to register for only the Skills Session appointment.

Here’s to your success!

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