Basic Life Support (BLS)

Basic Life Support (BLS) is the foundation for saving lives after cardiac arrest. This course teaches both single-rescuer and team-based basic life support skills for application in both in-facility and prehospital settings.

Available languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese

Who should take BLS?

BLS is for any healthcare provider or first-responder who needs to know how to perform CPR and other basic cardiovascular life support skills. The course provides prehospital and in-facility tracks and an accelerated renewal course is available for providers who have BLS experience and need to recertify.

BLS is the basic CPR and lifesaving course for:

• Paramedics
• EMTs
• Physicians
• Nurses
• Nurse Practitioners
• Pharmacists

• Respiratory, Physical, and Occupational Therapists
• Interns and Residents
• Medical and Nursing Students
• Firefighters
• Police Officers
• Direct Support Professionals

Course Content

Concepts and skills covered in BLS include:

  • High-quality CPR
  • AED use
  • Coking relief
  • Ventilation techniques
  • Opioid-associated life-threatening emergencies.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • Describe the importance of high-quality CPR and its impact on survival;
  • Describe all of the steps of the Chain of Survival and apply the BLS concepts of the Chain of Survival;
  • Recognize the signs of someone needing CPR
  • Perform high-quality CPR on adults, children, and infants
  • Describe the importance of early AED use and demonstrate using one
  • Provide effective ventilations with a barrier device
  • Describe the importance of teams in multi-rescuer resuscitation and perform as an effective team member during multi-rescuer CPR
  • Describe the technique for relief of foreign-body airway obstruction (choking) for adults and infants.

BLS is a credentialed course.

Providers who successfully complete the BLS course receive a course completion card valid for two years.

What is the difference between BLS & CPR certification?

The acronym “BLS” stands for Basic Life Support. It basically is CPR certification; however, this term is more often used to refer to the level of training given to health care providers rather than the general public.

Adding to the confusion, the term is more common in the UK and other places outside the United States, where it may be used to refer to various levels of CPR training.

In a very general sense, the treatments and actions that fall under “Basic Life Support” are the same as those taught as part of any CPR class. This includes maintaining an open airway, keeping the blood and oxygen circulating in the body of an unconscious patient without mechanical help, and the other actions you would perform when delivering lifesaving CPR.

However, this term can also encompass more in-depth practices you might need in a hospital setting—such as administering oxygen, the team approach to CPR, advanced airway management, and the use of a bag valve mask. The American Heart Association provides a certification called “BLS for Healthcare Providers” that is designed for medical professionals rather than the lay public. The American Red Cross calls their equivalent training “CPR for the Professional

Rescuer and Healthcare Providers.” Two different training programs, each with very similar content—one called BLS, and the other CPR.

There are also CPR training and certification programs that are more geared toward the general public. Lay adult, child, and infant CPR and AED classes are typically designed for people such as teachers, coaches, and daycare providers—not medical professionals, but still, people who have responsibility for children and may have to provide lifesaving care. For a more general workplace-safety environment, lay rescuer adult CPR and AED classes are often the most appropriate.
So, in general, if you’re looking at a job description that asks for BLS certification, it’s probably best to take that as an indication that they’re looking for healthcare provider level CPR training, rather than training for laypeople. This job may be looking for someone with the expertise of a paramedic or nurse.

However, if the job is clearly outside the medical profession—you’re applying to be a kindergarten teacher, for example, or a soccer coach—it’s possible that they don’t actually, need that level of certification. In that scenario, it may be worth it to apply with your existing CPR certification or to call their HR department for additional clarification.

At, we offer professional-level certification courses. We also provide a range of classes for non-healthcare professionals at different levels, encompassing AED training, Adult and Child CPR, basic first aid, and Bloodborne Pathogens. These are developed by AHA-licensed CPR instructors and based on the AHA core curriculum; and adhere to ARC, ECC, ILCOR, and OSHA guidelines.

If you’re not sure which class is right for you, please give The QI Team a call at 833-486-4440 or ERTSS American Heart Association Training Center and we’ll help you decide which certification is right for your situation.