BLS vs. CPR What is BLS?

BLS vs. CPR What is BLS?

BLS vs. CPR What Is BLS? | #askcarepoint

Today’s AskCarePoint question comes from LC3.  LC3 asks: “Hi all, Just a quick question.  Is BLS certification the same thing as CPR certification? If so, where can I take BLS certification classes?”

So, What Is BLS?

BLS stands for Basic Life Support and is the abbreviated title for the course developed by the American Heart Association titled Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers.  In essence, BLS is CPR for Healthcare Providers.

Who Needs BLS Certification?

Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers is the required level of CPR certification for:

Lifeguards, Emergency Medical Technicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, Physicians…and more

Let’s just say, that if you are considered a professional rescuer, healthcare provider or a student of any of these professions, you’re most likely required to obtain BLS certification.


Now, unlike lay rescuer CPR classes, where you can mix and match various modules based on your needs, BLS is an all-in-one course that covers the topics and skills of:


One and two rescuer CPR for adults, children and infants

  • Use of an Automatic External Defibrillator or AED
  • Rescue breathing for victims of respiratory arrest
  • Ventilation with a bag-mask device or advanced airway
  • Relief of choking or foreign body airway obstruction


Please note that the BLS course does not include first aid topics such as treatment for bleeding, burns or broken bones.  So, if you’re a healthcare provider that requires first-aid certification, you’ll need to take both the BLS course and a first aid course.



How Can I Become Certified In BLS?

Back in the day, BLS was an all-day course delivered in a classroom setting.  The BLS of today has been streamlined and condensed into a 3 to 4-hour classroom-based course, or a blended option that allows you to take the classroom portion online, and then perform a short, in-person skills practice and check-off.


If you’re looking for somewhere to become certified in Basic Life Support, many fire departments, hospitals, and privately owned training centers hold BLS certification classes on a regular basis.  A great resource to find a class near you is the American Heart Association’s website found at


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  • Randy Boone
Comments 1
  • Rhianna Hawk
    Rhianna Hawk

    I’m planning to apply to work at a lifeguard for my rec center’s indoor pool and they listed BLS certification as something they’re looking for in an applicant. I didn’t know what that meant, so it’s good to know that it’s a general first aid course that I don’t need a specialized degree or anything for. Most likely, I’ll be looking for both a BLS and a CPR course, just so that I can most effective as a lifeguard and have a more impressive resume for the part.

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