PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support)

PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support)

The AHA’s PALS Course has been updated to reflect new science in the 2015 AHA Guidelines Update for CPR and ECC. This classroom, Instructor-led course uses videos and simulated pediatric emergencies to reinforce the essential concepts of a systematic approach to pediatric assessment, basic life support, PALS treatment algorithms, effective resuscitation, and team dynamics. The goal of the PALS Course is to improve the quality of care provided to seriously ill or injured children, resulting in improved outcomes.


What is taught?

PALS events build on the fundamentals taught in BLS events. A common misconception is that PALS teaches the same thing as BLS plus more. If an employer requires a PALS certification, they will almost always need healthcare providers to have a BLS certification.

Depending on whether the student takes a PALS Initial class (2-days) or a PALS recertification class (1-day), different topics are covered. A PALS Instructor must teach the minimum requirements for a PALS recertification class but has the flexibility to include additional issues from the PALS Initial course. Therefore, there can be a large variance in time and experience, depending on which class/instructor a student chooses.

Let’s take a look at the bare minimum for a PALS Recertification class as well as the full scope of a PALS Initial class.


Science of Pediatric Resuscitation: an overview of the entire PALS class and discussion of updated guidelines

Child High-Quality BLS

Infant High-Quality BLS

Child/Infant Chocking (optional)

Overview of Systematic Approach Model: discussion of the Pediatric Assessment Triangle (PAT) and Primary Assessment

Team Dynamics: learning about bad and good team behaviors and the elements of good team dynamics.

Management of Post-Cardiac Arrest Care

Coping with Death (optional)

Case Scenario Practice with Simulations: includes an overview of PALS algorithms and ECG rhythms



Secondary Assessment

Management of Respiratory Emergencies: includes video case discussions

Airway Management

Management of Shock Emergencies: includes video case discussions

Vascular Access: learn and practice the use of an EZ-IO

Management of Arrhythmia Emergencies: includes video case discussions

Rhythm Disturbances and Electrical Therapy (including 12-Lead ECG Placement)

Case Scenario Practice:

Hypovolemic Shock

Upper Airway Obstruction

Lower Airway Obstruction


Parenchymal Lung Disease

Septic/Distributive Shock


V-Fib and Pulseless V-Tach

Obstructive Shock

Cardiogenic Shock

Disordered Control of Breathing



Regardless of whether a student is taking the full AHA PALS Initial or PALS Recertification class, they are tested over five things:

Child BLS skills test

Infant BLS skills test

Airway Management skills test


50-question written exam.


Who needs this certification?

AHA PALS events are primarily for those who need a PALS certification for their job. State licensing regulations drive this requirement. These regulations may apply to an entire healthcare organization or individual healthcare professionals. This class can also be taken by medical professionals or students in a medical program who don’t have requirements but are interested in expanding their knowledge.

The following are examples of industries that usually require a PALS certification.

  • Surgery Center
  • Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Dentists (performing conscious sedation)
  • Children’s Emergency Department
  • Urgent Care
  • Pediatric Clinics
  • EMS agencies
  • Fire Department
  • The below are individuals that qualify and may need a PALS class.
  • Physicians
  • RNs
  • Travel Nurses
  • Nursing Students
  • Paramedics
  • Firefighters
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Physician’s Assistant



Classroom-based courses work well for learners who prefer group interaction and instructor feedback while learning

The course includes realistic, clinical scenarios that encourage active participation – delivered through actual pediatric patient videos and lifelike simulations

The course is comprehensive and has a systematic approach to assess and treat pediatric patients in emergencies

The course uses a hands-on class format to reinforce skills proficiency

Co-branded with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)





High-quality Child CPR AED and Infant CPR

Recognition of patients who do and do not require immediate intervention

Recognition of cardiopulmonary arrest early and application of CPR within 10 seconds

Apply team dynamics

Differentiation between respiratory distress and failure

Early interventions for respiratory distress and failure

Differentiation between compensated and decompensated (hypotensive) shock

Early interventions for the treatment of shock

Differentiation between unstable and stable patients with arrhythmias

Clinical characteristics of instability in patients with arrhythmias

Post–cardiac arrest management