Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Course

Course Participants

The Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Provider Course is for healthcare providers new to ACLS and for those whose ACLS completion card has expired This course is designed for healthcare providers who direct or participate in the resuscitation of patients, either as a prehospital or in-hospital care provider. Participants will enhance their skills in the treatment of arrest and peri-arrest patients through active participation in a series of simulated cardiopulmonary cases. Course content reflects the new science in ACLS resuscitation contained in the AHA 2020 Guidelines for CPR and ECC.

Course Overview

This course is delivered as a blended learning course including an online self-paced didactic session and a hands-on skills practice and assessment session. The Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) course builds on the foundation of lifesaving basic life support (BLS) skills, emphasizing the importance of continuous, high-quality CPR. This advanced course highlights the importance of high-performance team dynamics and communication; systems of care; and recognition of and intervention in cardiopulmonary arrest, immediate post-cardiac arrest, acute dysrhythmia, stroke, and acute coronary syndromes (ACS). The ACLS course is designed for healthcare professionals who either direct or participate in the management of cardiopulmonary arrest or other cardiovascular emergencies. The course adheres to the 2020 Guidelines promoted by the American Heart Association (AHA) for clinical management of basic and advanced cardiac life support.

Course Objectives

After successfully completing the ACLS course, students should be able to:

  • apply the BLS, Primary, and Secondary Assessments sequence for a systematic evaluation of adult patients
  • perform prompt, high-quality BLS, including prioritizing early chest compressions and integrating early automated external defibrillator (AED) use
  • recognize and perform early management of respiratory arrest
  • discuss early recognition and management of ACS and stroke, including appropriate disposition
  • recognize and perform early management of bradyarrhythmias and tachyarrhythmias that may result in cardiac arrest or complicate resuscitation outcomes
  • recognize and perform early management of cardiac arrest until termination of resuscitation or transfer of care, including immediate post-cardiac-arrest care
  • model effective communication as a member or leader of a high-performance team
  • evaluate resuscitative efforts during a cardiac arrest through continuous assessment of CPR quality, monitoring the patient's physiologic response, and delivering real-time feedback to the team
  • recognize the impact of team dynamics on overall team performance
  • discuss how the use of a rapid response team or medical emergency team may improve patient outcomes
  • define systems of care.

Course Pre-requisites

Participants enrolling in the ACLS Providers Course must have completed prior learning
and proficiency in:

  • Performing BLS CPR skills.
  • Must be able to demonstrate basic electrocardiography (ECG) interpretation.
  • Must be able to demonstrate knowledge of pharmacological concepts and competent administration of cardiac drugs used during ACLS.
  • Performing the basic and advanced assessment of the BLS and ACLS patient.

Course Completion

For successful course completion, students must:

  • Complete all portions of the online ACLS HeartCode program
  • Pass the online HeartCode ACLS exam with a score of 84% or higher
  • Pass the hands-on skills assessment for high-quality BLS, bag-mask ventilation, and ACLS code management.

Participants must attend all sessions of the course and pass all the skills tests and the written test to receive a completion eCard.

Upon successful completion of all requirements, students receive an AHA ACLS course completion card. AHA ACLS Course Completion cards are only issued in the format of an individual e-card.


Course Registration and Fees

The ACLS course consists of two parts, the online ACLS HeartCode and the Hands-on Skill session.
You need to register for each part separately, following the instructions below.

Step 1Select a date and register for the ACLS Hands-On Skills Practice and Assessment (Fee $75)

  1. Send an email to: with the subject line ACLS Course. In the email include the following information: Name, Student Number, a contact phone number, and the nursing program you are enrolled in.
  2. Upon receipt of your email you will be contacted to select an available ACLS Hands-On Skills session date and time, and information for payment of your $75 fee.
  3. ACLS Hands-On Skills session dates for Summer 2021:
    • May 22 - ACLS
    • June 12 - ACLS
    • July 17 – ACLS & PALS

Step 2Register and complete the online ACLS HeartCode portion of the ACLS course (Fee $144)

  1. Go to the online registration link at:
  2. Select and add HeartCode® ACLS Product Number: 20-3554 to your Cart and proceed to Checkout. At the Checkout, sign-in or register and create a new account. Pay for the online portion of the course and receive the course access information.
  3. If you need technical support assistance for the online ACLS HeartCode, technical assistance with HeartCode ACLS, contact the AHA Customer Support Center at 888-242-8883 or for technical assistance. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Central Time, Monday – Thursday, and 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Central Time, Friday.
  4. When you complete the online portion of the course, print a copy of your course completion and bring it with you to your scheduled session for the ACLS Hands-On Skills Practice and Assessment.
  5. The online HeartCode ACLS may be completed in more than one sitting, however you must follow the instructions and click the “Exit Exercise” button in the top right-hand corner to ensure the progress in the session is saved. For students who have not yet completed a HeartCode eSim, be sure to review the “How to Complete the Patient Cases” document located in the eSim Tutorial section of the program to become familiar with the basics of the eSim.

Step 3Attend and complete the ACLS Hands-On Skills Practice and Assessment

  1. You may only attend the ACLS Hands-On Skills Practice and Assessment on your pre-registered date and time. You MUST bring a copy of your online ACLS HeartCode course completion print out with you to the session.
  2. There will be four Practice and Assessment Stations at the Hands-On Skill Session:
    1. BLS/CPR
    2. Airway management
    3. Defibrillation and medications
    4. ACLS Code management
  3. The first half of the Hands-On Skill Session is for practice and question/answer, and the second half of the session is for Skills Assessment, and remediation if needed.
  4. If you are unable to attend the ACLS Hands-On Skills Practice and Assessment on your reserved date and time, you must reschedule at least one week in advance. Cancellation less than one week in advance, or failure to attend will result in forfeit of the session fee.

Step 4Obtain your ACLS e-card

Upon successful completion of both the ACLS online HeartCode and the Hands-On Practice and Assessment, you will receive an email notification from the American Heart Association with a link to your ACLS e-card. Save this email in a secure place since it will contain the access code for your e-card.

Thank you for enrolling in the ACLS HeartCode Course with the Simulation Hospital Advancing Research and Education (S.H.A.R.E.™) at the School of Nursing and Health Studies.


For questions or further information, please contact:
Zuzer Calero, MALS
Director, Simulation Operations
Office: (305) 284-2709