You know you have to complete an approved health care training program and pass a licensing examination before you can receive a certification or license in your state to practice medicine as a doctor, nurse or other health care professional. However, you may not be aware of just how much extra certifications can help you in your daily work.

At first, these certifications may seem like extra work for you that don’t do you much good. However, they actually come with numerous benefits. For example, your certifications can help you beef up your resume if you’re applying for a new job. If you’re staying in your current job, your certifications can help you ask for and get that desired raise. Plus, certifications designed specifically for your field can infuse you with confidence every time you arrive for work, and can help you give the best possible care to each of your patients.

What Is PALS? 

If you are a pediatric provider, such as a nurse, doctor, respiratory therapist or emergency responder, the PALS certification is the definitive option to help you along your career path. PALS stands for Pediatric Advanced Life Support and in some ways mirrors the ACLS certification for adult patients. This certification tells those you work with as well as your employer that you know how to respond to emergency situations with speed and accuracy. It also demonstrates that you are a knowledgeable team leader and that you are committed to the best possible care for your pediatric population. 

What Is a PALS Course Like? 

A PALS course usually takes 13 to 14 hours and is spread over two days to give you time to absorb the material and to have time for breaks. During the first day, you’ll participate in instructor-led courses and will practice at stations with your colleagues. These stations let you practice your newfound skills, ask questions and get support from certified instructors. 

One of the most important parts of the PALS course is the life-saving algorithms that you’ll memorize. These algorithms help you know how to respond to a variety of respiratory and cardiac arrest scenarios. However, you’ll also learn advanced pediatric assessments, team dynamics and leadership skills. 

How Do You Earn the PALS Certification? 

To pass the PALS course and become certified, you’ll have to attend all of the classroom portions of the course and attend all learning stations. Once you’re prepared, you’ll take a written examination, which you must pass with a minimum of an 84 percent score. Next, you’ll demonstrate One and Two-Rescuer Pediatric BLS. Finally, you’ll be given two core PALS scenarios, which you’ll participate in as a team leader without any help from the instructor. These scenarios could include cardiac or respiratory arrest, airway obstructions, shock, bradycardia or other key skills. 

Your PALS certification must be renewed with a short course, written examination and skills test every two years. Your renewal course will cover any recent changes that the American Heart Association has made. 

Should You Get a PALS Certification? 

If you ever work with a pediatric population, a PALS course is a smart choice because it will give you confidence in your work and will help you meet any requirements that your health care organization has for job advancement. You’ll want to consider it if you work on a pediatric floor, in an emergency room, in pre-hospital settings or even in a pediatric clinic.

Project Heartbeat offers PALS certification courses in Oakland, Sacramento and the Bay Area. Check our PALS certification page for locations and times. For groups of eight or more, we offer onsite training, and if you need ACLS or BLS certification as well, we provide health care certification bundles. Or, contact us to discuss your needs.