Google the term “online BLS course” and you’ll undoubtedly receive dozens of listings – all of which claim to be the best option for you. With so many different resources to choose from, figuring out which online BLS course is actually the ideal solution for your needs can be challenging. Knowing what to look for before you begin your search can help you narrow down those providers that are legitimate as well as which ones you’d be best to steer clear of.
Why Online BLS?
As technology continues to have a positive impact on the health care industry, a growing number of individuals are choosing to pursue their required medical certifications online as opposed to courses held in a traditional classroom setting. This includes the Basic Life Support (BLS) certification. Being able to obtain these credentials online comes with a number of attractive benefits, including a savings of time and money as well as the convenience of working at one’s own pace from anywhere there is an internet connection.
In response to increasing demand for convenient, online medical certification options, the vast majority of hospitals and medical institutions now allow employees who are required to receive/renew these credentials to do so online. The deciding factor is typically whether or not the coursework is in line with the latest American Heart Association (AHA) and
International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) guidelines. Provided it is, online BLS certification (or recertification) can be a great option – particularly for busy health care professionals. In most instances, the decision isn’t whether or not to go the online route, but rather which online BLS provider to go with.
The truth is, most online BLS providers offer the same basic advantages: cost savings, convenience and flexibility. But while these things certainly are great, it’s important to dig a little bit deeper in order to identify which online BLS program is truly worth your while. To make the evaluation process easier and more straightforward, here are a few additional features to look for when choosing the best online BLS course.
The most common concern health care professionals have when choosing an online BLS course – and for good reason – is whether or not the provider is legit. The last thing you want to do is dish out money and waste time studying and testing only to find out the resulting “certification” isn’t accepted by your employer.
There are a number of ways you can determine the legitimacy of an online medical certification provider. First and foremost, it’s critical that you make sure that the provider’s coursework adheres to the current BLS guidelines and best practices, as set forth by the AHA. These guidelines are widely regarded across the medical industry as the golden standard because they ensure optimal patient care. As such, it’s imperative that the online BLS course provider you choose meets these standards if you want your certification to be recognized and accepted by your employer.
Continuing Education Credits
One of the nicest things about online BLS courses is that they enable health care professionals to essentially “kill two birds with one stone.” Most medical professionals are required by law and their employers to obtain a certain number of continuing education credits each year. This ensures that these individuals remain current on any and all changes to the industry standards of patient care. But taking time out of your busy schedule to pursue these CME/CMU credits can be a huge hassle.
When you choose an online BLS course that offers CME/CMU credits as an addition to receiving your certification, you’ll save time, money and aggravation in the process. Offering these credits isn’t just an added bonus, either. It’s also a sign of the provider’s legitimacy as well. That’s because in order for a CME/CMU to be issued, the company must be an approved provider and/or have their coursework reviewed and approved by an accreditation board.
As mentioned, the ability to pursue one’s required online medical certifications online offers tremendous flexibility. Because the courses and tests are web-based, they can be accessed any time from any internet-ready place and device. That means you can study on the go. But beyond simply offering the ability to work at your own pace and tackle the coursework from anywhere, a quality online BLS course provider will also offer flexibility in how the materials and testing work.
For instance, if you’re going to study on the go, you’ll want to be able to pick up right where you left off each time you access the course’s material. Likewise, you may need to take the test multiple times before you are successful. Look for a provider that offers features such as untimed and/or unlimited tests.
If you’re not completely sure whether a particular BLS provider offers legitimate credentials, check to see if they offer any kind of guarantee. As mentioned above, the majority of hospitals and institutions today gladly accept medical certifications that are obtained online. There are, however, a select few that will not. Likewise, if you’re not careful and choose a BLS provider that isn’t legit, you could end up with a certification that’s worthless.
To avoid this risk, look for a provider that backs their certifications with a satisfaction guarantee. For instance, at ProMed,Certifications offers a 100% money-back guarantee for anyone whose employer does not accept the results. This allows you to be confident in the quality and legitimacy of the coursework and credentials.
Perhaps the best way to determine which online BLS provider is worth your time and money is to check out the online reviews and testimonials from other students. Hearing directly from others who have had experience using the BLS coursework, working with the provider in question and obtaining their certification or recertification is far more powerful than any ad or marketing message could ever be.
As you’re evaluating candidates, be sure to take the time to read through the comments of prior students. If the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, you’ve found yourself a good provider worth pursuing. If they’re not, consider yourself lucky that you’ve dodged a bullet.
As with any educational experience, not every BLS course or provider is created equal. Knowing what key features, benefits and warning signs to look for can help you narrow your options and choose the best one for your needs.
David England, MS, DO is the Chief Medical Officer for ProMed Certifications. He has 20 years of experience as an Anesthesiologist. He has a DO in anesthesiology, a master’s degree in physiology from Georgetown, and Bachelors of Science degrees in both biology and psychology. He currently works on staff at 8 hospitals and 6 Surgicenter’s in Arizona. He is also a trustee board member of the Arizona Osteopathic Medical Association and serves as the District 5 President.