Frequently Asked Questions

What is the AHA’s 2020 ACLS Provider Course?

The AHA’s ACLS Provider Course has been updated to reflect new science in the 2020 AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC and the 2019 Update to the 2018 ASA Ischemic Stroke Guidelines. ACLS teaches the importance of preventing cardiac arrest, high-performance teams, continuous, high-quality CPR, systems of care, recognition, and intervention of cardiopulmonary arrest, post-cardiac arrest care, acute dysrhythmias, stroke, and acute coronary syndromes (ACS).

The ACLS Provider Course goal is to improve adult patients’ outcomes of cardiac arrest and other cardiopulmonary emergencies through early recognition and interventions by high-performance teams.

What specifically is taught in the new ACLS Course?

In the 2020 ACLS Provider Course, students will learn and practice:
Systematic approach (assessment)
• High-quality BLS
• Airway management
• Rhythm recognition
• Defibrillation
• Intravenous (IV)/intraosseous (IO) access (information only)
• Use of medications
• Cardioversion
• Transcutaneous pacing
• High-performance teams

What are the key differences between the 2015 Guidelines and 2020 Guidelines versions of the ACLS Provider Course?

The new ACLS Course includes the following changes:
Learning and Testing Stations
The ACLS Provider Course’s key change is achieving a minimal Chest Compression Fraction (CCF) of 81% for more objective practice and testing. This allows everyone to move from a perception of how they did to an actual measurement of how they performed (perception to reality). This requires scenarios to be run in real-time so that CCF can be measured coupled with a required feedback device for increased CPR quality. Teams will need to work together to figure out how to increase their CCF (i.e., choreography, logistics, etc.) for arrest-related cases. The desire is to transfer this newly acquired knowledge into real-world emergencies. This is the core of increasing survival rates.

Perform—–Measure—–Evaluate/Debrief——Implement changes—–Perform better—–Measure⇒⇒Continuous improvement cycle.

Online exams
The AHA now offers online exams for Instructor-led Training (ILT) courses. Online exams improve exam security and are
just one way the AHA ensures that cardholders worldwide have met the same course completion requirements for ACLS classroom training.

Course Videos
• Course videos are available in digital format online.
• New videos have been added to the ACLS Course, including CPR Coach.

Precourse Work
Instructor-led courses now include Precourse work. If an Instructor chooses this option (recommended), students review course content through online interactive videos before entering the classroom. Video lessons cover multiple medical subjects to prepare students for the course. Each lesson includes questions to engage students. This format allows more classroom time for hands-on skills training and leads to students being better prepared to participate as soon as they enter the classroom.

Pre briefing
In the 2020 ACLS Provider Course, Instructors conduct a briefing with students immediately before the start of each simulation. The pre-briefing goals are to establish a positive learning environment and provide information about the session to students. Also, teams will set goals for the case and discuss their briefing goals during the debriefing. This will prepare students for success in the course.

CPR Coach
The CPR Coach is a new role within the resuscitation team. The CPR Coach role is designed to promote the delivery of high-quality CPR and allow the Team Leader to focus on other cardiac arrest care elements, coordinate the various team members’ assigned tasks, and ensure that clinical care is delivered according to AHA guidelines.

Skills Testing
High-Quality BLS Skills Testing
• Focuses on continuous chest compressions

Megacode Testing
• Assesses students as a team
• Set goals related to chest compression fraction and teamwork

Provider Manual Updates
• Highlights 2 main themes: preventing arrest and high-performance teams
• New information under “Cardiac Arrest: Selected Special Situations’ Maternal cardiac arrest
⇒ Ventricular assist devices
• Revised illustrations
• CPR Coach
• Expanded information on high-performance teams

What is the format for the ACLS Provider ILT Course?
In the new ACLS Provider ILT Course, Precourse work is completed before the course so that students are prepared for the course at a Training Center. Precourse work includes the mandatory Precourse Self-Assessment, followed by video lessons.

The course is structured as follows:
• Core concepts are presented online through interactive video lessons. Video lessons are completed before coming to class. Then Instructors lead discussions and case-based
scenarios around a manikin during class.
• The Instructor coaches students by using a feedback device as they practice CPR and ventilation skills.
• The Instructor monitors as each student/team demonstrates skills proficiency as outlined in the skills testing checklist.
• Students take the ACLS Provider Course Exam exam to confirm their understanding of core concepts.

The students will complete online video lessons (Precourse work) before coming to class. The course is designed to give students the opportunity
to practice and demonstrate proficiency in the following skills used in resuscitation:
• Systematic approach (assessment)
• High-quality BLS
• Airway management
• Rhythm recognition

• Defibrillation
• Intravenous (IV)/intraosseous (IO) access (information only)
• Use of medications
• Cardioversion
• Transcutaneous pacing
• High-performance teams

Who is the intended audience for the ACLS Course?

The ACLS Course is designed for healthcare professionals who either direct or participate in managing cardiopulmonary arrest or other cardiovascular emergencies. This includes personnel in emergency response, emergency medicine, intensive care, and critical care units such as physicians, nurses, paramedics, and others who need an ACLS course completion card for job or other requirements.

What are the prerequisites for taking the ACLS Course?

Providers who take the ACLS Course must be proficient in the following:
• Performing high-quality BLS skills according to the current AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC
• Reading and interpreting electrocardiograms (ECGs)
• Understanding ACLS pharmacology
• Providing bag-mask ventilation

What is the ACLS Precourse Self-Assessment?

The Precourse Self-Assessment is an online tool that evaluates a student’s knowledge in 3 sections: rhythm recognition, pharmacology, and practical application. Students complete the assessment before the course to help evaluate their proficiency and determine the need for additional review and practice. All students must complete the Precourse Self-Assessment and achieve a score of at least 70% before taking the ACLS Course. Students must print their successful scoring report and bring it with them to class.

Why is the ACLS Precourse Self-Assessment required?

Students need to make sure they are prepared for the ACLS Provider Course to minimize the risk of failing the course. Market research indicates a significantly favorable response from Instructors on making the Precourse Self-Assessment mandatory. The need for the mandatory Precourse Self-Assessment has increased due to more non-traditional students taking ACLS.

Does the 2020 ACLS Provider Course include an option for students to earn a BLS Provider Card during an ACLS class?

Yes. The AHA allows Instructors to add BLS skills testing to provide both a BLS Provider eCard and an ACLS Provider eCard upon successful completion of the ACLS course.

Q: Are students allowed to access resources when taking the ACLS Provider Course Exam?

The AHA has adopted an open-resource policy for exams. Open resource means that students may use resources as a reference while completing the exam. Resources could include the provider manual, either in printed form or as an eBook on personal devices, any notes the student took during the provider course, the 2020 Handbook of ECC for Healthcare Providers, the AHA Guidelines for CPR and
ECC, posters, etc. Open resource does not mean open discussion with other students or the Instructor.
Students may not interact with each other during the exam

Q: Does the ACLS Provider ILT Course offer continuing education (CE)?

Yes. The following CE is available for the ACLS Provider and the ACLS Update Courses:

ACLS ILT Full Classroom Course
Continuing Education Accreditation – Emergency Medical Services
This continuing education activity is approved by the American Heart Association, an organization
accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE), for
11.50 Educator CEHs, activity number 20-AMHA-F2-0073.

ACLS ILT Update Course
Continuing Education Accreditation – Emergency Medical Services
This continuing education activity is approved by the American Heart Association, an organization
accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE), for
6.75 Educator CEHs, activity number 20-AMHA-F2-0074.

ACLS Traditional Full Course
Continuing Education Accreditation – Emergency Medical Services
This continuing education activity is approved by the American Heart Association, an organization
accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE), for
13.50 Educator CEHs, activity number 20-AMHA-F2-0070.

ACLS ILT Traditional Update Course; ECC Training Centers
Continuing Education Accreditation – Emergency Medical Services
This continuing education activity is approved by the American Heart Association, an organization accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE), for 7.75 Educator CEHs, activity number 20-AMHA-F2-0072.

ACLS ILT Full and Update Precourse Work
AMA Credit Designation Statement – Physicians
The American Heart Association designates this live activity for a maximum of 3.00 AMA PRA
Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of
their participation in the activity.

AAPA Credit Acceptance Statement – Physician Assistants
AAPA accepts certificates of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.
Physician assistants may receive a maximum of 3.00 hours of Category I credit for completing this program.

AANP Credit Acceptance Statement – Nurse Practitioners
American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) accepts AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

ANCC Credit Designation Statement – Nurses
The maximum number of hours awarded for this CE activity is 3.00 contact hours.

ACPE Credit Designation Statement – Pharmacists
ACPE Credit: 3.00 Contact Hours. Universal Program Number: JA0000134-0000-20-038-H04-P

Continuing Education Accreditation – Emergency Medical Services
This continuing education activity is approved by the American Heart Association, an organization accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE), for 3.00 Advanced CEHs, activity number 20-AMHA-F3-0071.

ACLS & PALS Certification – Combo Package