The information on this page provides an overview of becoming an American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), or Pediatric Advanced Live Support (PALS) Instructor.
Becoming an AHA instructor means you will teach AHA program(s); if you do not wish to teach a course and need to take a course instead, please click here to be directed to the AHA program list and select a provider program.
Becoming an instructor is one of the most satisfying aspects of healthcare education, "watching your students' get it" and hearing stories of how the people you have taught have contributed significantly to saving a life. Moreover, being an AHA instructor is, by far, a noteworthy achievement; it demonstrates that you know the content and have shown the ability to teach and deliver vital course material to your students. The first question to ask is... Do you want to be an ACLS Instructor, a PALS Instructor, or a BLS instructor? (any combination is ok with us, but we have to ensure that you have the prerequisites for the instructor course, see below for pre-requisites).
However, becoming an instructor and learning the rule of the AHA may be daunting for some, as the process entails following the steps below to obtain your instructor card. We have outlined the major steps to becoming an instructor and explained each step below.
Steps to obtain an AHA Instructor Card:
1. BEFORE REGISTRATION: Locate a primary AHA training center, meet with them, and complete an Instructor Candidate Application (ICA): Please send us a copy of the completed ICA: Every AHA instructor MUST have a primary training center. You cannot teach AHA courses without a primary training center. Every AHA Training Center has the ICA form. You must contact a training center in the area where you wish to teach and have this document completed between you and them, then email the fully completed ICA to our office (instructors@CardiacEd.com). This form is used to show that you are aligned with an AHA training center in the area where you wish to teach, and the primary center will maintain your instructor file; if you register for the instructor course without a signed ICA, you risk not being able to complete the instructor program. You should complete an ICA for each discipline you wish to teach under your primary training center AND email it to our office BEFORE registering for an AHA instructor course. Our center may be able to accept you if you are willing to teach in NJ.
2. BEFORE YOUR COURSE: You must hold a current AHA PROVIDER card in the discipline you wish to teach: This is the card you were issued when you took your ACLS, BLS, or PALS course; upon registering for the course; please email us a copy of this card (front and back) (instructors@CardiacEd.com). We must have this on file before your instructor course. You will also want to review the provider manual from your provider course. When you arrive at the instructor course, you will be given the provider's written exam and skills/mega-code testing. You should focus on the provider's manual content between registering for the instructor course and attending. In many cases, taking a renewal course (not required, by highly recommended) before your instructor's course is not a bad idea.
3. ATTEND THE INSTRUCTOR COURSE: Attend the Instructor Course for either ACLS, BLS, or PALS: Upon arrival at the instructor course, you will be tested on your BLS provider skills (or mega code for ACLS or PALS instructor candidates) and written exam(s). You must pass the test (in your discipline) to continue in the instructor program. It's a good idea to review the provider course and maybe take a renewal course before you attend the instructor course. You may register to take ACLS and PALS Instructor courses on the same date (if available). If you select BOTH ACLS and PALS Instructor, you will be assigned teaching topics for both courses at your course.
4. DURING (or) AFTER ATTENDING THE INSTRUCTOR COURSE: Complete the AHA Instructor Essentials Online Course: This is provided as part of your tuition for the instructor course. We will email you access to this online program (usually at your instructor course).
5. AFTER THE INSTRUCTOR COURSE: Be successfully monitored within six months of your instructor course date. Please note: Your primary center will do your monitoring. The monitoring is an in-person session you must schedule with your primary center. Your primary center will send us your completed monitoring form (instructors@CardiacEd.com). You will arrange your monitoring and align with a primary training center by completing an Instructor Candidate Application (ICA) in step 1 above. TIP: When meeting with your primary training center, obtain a list of their upcoming courses within six months of the instructor course. Remember: you must monitor within six months of the instructor course, and you'll want to ensure that your center has courses (with students registered) to monitor you. All monitorings are in-person and are not available virtually.
6. AFTER THE INSTRUCTOR COURSE: Take the Instructor Course Exam and pass with 84%; then your instructor card is issued: The instructor exam will be issued to you, and you must complete it with a passing score of 84%. Many fail the instructor exam if they do not study and complete the instructor essentials course and study the instructor and provider manuals. The instructor card is issued as an eCard and will be available in your AHA account.
After the above steps have been completed, for the discipline you wish to teach and you have your AHA instructor card.
You will be allowed to teach the AHA programs for which you hold an instructor card; however, every Training Center has its own rules/policies; therefore, please consider the following:
If we ARE NOT your primary Training Center:
- You must contact your Primary Training Center to undergo any orientation/onboarding regarding their internal rules, policies, fees, procedures, allowed courses, etc.
If we ARE your Primary Training Center: Firstly, you can only hold courses in New Jersey. No out-of-state courses. (We are an NJ-based training center whose AHA agreement does not permit any out-of-state courses).
- BLS Instructors: You can teach courses at our location (or yours). As a BLS Instructor, you may maintain and teach your clients; however, we do not permit you to teach clients who belong to our Training Center or another instructor in our organization. (This prevents "stealing of others clients").
- Advanced Instructors (ACLS and PALS): you will be invited to teach our programs at our location. ACLS and PALS instructors cannot independently teach ACLS or the PALS program via our center. ACLS and PALS instructors must have the Course Director (and/or Training Center Faculty) rank to teach one of our programs independently. As an ACLS or PALS instructor, you may also teach for another US AHA Training Center; provide them with your ACLS/PALS instructor card, and most Training Centers will permit you to teach at their center.