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Pros and Cons of Earning a PALS Certification Online

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 7/23/2010

Earning a PALS certification online is an increasingly popular means of expanding employability in the health care industry. Considering the sometimes adverse effects of dealing with pediatric advanced life support, can distance learning courses really do the discipline justice?

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    PALS Certification Online: An Overview

    Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) is becoming a crucial discipline for healthcare providers who do work in pediatric wards. Earning the necessary certification online may also equip those in adjunct careers---Bright Hub’s Cherrineb offers a “Pediatric Oncology Nurses Overview" that explains one area where PALS training might be needed---for further employability.

    In essence, the training allows nurses and other healthcare providers to recognize early on when a pediatric patient may suffer from impending respiratory failure or may go into cardiac arrest. Since children’s bodies function vastly different from adults’, this training is a must-have for those encountering these potential problems on a daily basis at the workplace. Medical professionals do not usually have the time to attend lengthy conferences and training sessions, and the Internet is the most logical venue for providing the training and at the same time controlling that all aspects of the coursework are understood. That being said, there are distinct differences in the administration of the online option.

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    Online Certification Venues

    PALS Course

    After paying $199, first time students may prepare for and take the online PALS certification course. It includes one exam and one retake if needed as well as provides manuals. You have as much time as you need to complete the exam. A passing score nets you a certification that is good for two years. Please note that while the program is endorsed by the North American Medical Certification Committee of Advisors, it does not result in an American Heart Association certification.

    American Medical Resource Institute

    This venue uses case histories to illustrate the lessons it teaches. The cost of the course and exam is $275. Students initially complete an online course in PALS and then spend time reviewing the most current clinical recommendations. Next, they must garner clinical skills and receive documentation for their efforts.

    Only when proof is received by the tester will a provider card be sent out. It is noteworthy that students have ninety days to finish the test and take the exam. Moreover, if the initial result is dissatisfactory, students will receive faculty assistance to ensure future success. The PALS certification offered by Health Education Solutions follows similar guidelines.

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    Potential Drawbacks of the PALS Certification Online

    Perhaps the most obvious drawback is the lack of an onsite clinical evaluation of book learning via hands-on activities by some distance learning providers. Although it is likely that professionals opting for the online certification option are already well versed in the management of airway problems and cardiac arrhythmias and also possess the experience needed to provide for basic life support, there is the chance that unqualified personnel may also earn the PALS designation. This makes it possible for only marginally qualified health workers to be entrusted with the care of the most vulnerable patients.

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    Sources

    • PALS Course: http://www.palscourse.com/
    • American Medical Resource Institute: http://www.aclsonline.us
    • Health Education Solutions: https://www.healthedsolutions.com/Public/Certifications?