What is a BLS Certification?

BLS, which stands for Basic Life Support, is one of the most beneficial skills a person can have. With proper BLS training, an individual will gain the skills and knowledge needed to act in the case of several emergencies.

Generally speaking, anyone who is likely to be around individuals experiencing cardiac arrest or other emergencies will need a BLS certification or, at the very least, other related certifications (CPR certification, ACLS certification, etc.). However, it is important to note that BLS requirements can vary by state, by hospital, and by specific occupation.

If you are unsure whether you need a BLS certification, be sure to check with your current employer. However, if you are currently looking for a new source of employment, you may be surprised by just how many occupations your certificate can be applied to.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most common occupations where a BLS certification is required. We will also discuss some of the jobs and career paths individuals with a BLS certification (and related qualifications) can pursue. By understanding how important and useful a BLS certification can be, you’ll see that this specific certification is much more than a piece of paper.

What is BLS?

According to the Red Cross, “Basic Life Support, or BLS, generally refers to the type of care that first-responders, healthcare providers, and public safety professionals provide to anyone who is experiencing cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, or an obstructed airway.” BLS is used in cases where, without help, the victim will be very likely to lose their life.

There are quite a few different skill sets that will be required in order to obtain a BLS certification. Exam-takers will need to be familiar with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which can be used to save someone’s life in the event their heart stops working. Additionally, they will need to know how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) and how to open airways in the event they become obstructed. BLS exams will typically ask about the differences between administering to an adult and a child, along with various other circumstances.

Occupations that Require Basic Life Support (BLS)

There are many different occupations and career paths that require a BLS certification. While some of these people will be required to obtain their certification because of a specific law, others will be required by their employers or by various organizations that are governing their industry.

Some of the most common occupations requiring a BLS certification include:

Who Needs a BLS Certification?

  • Doctors, Nurses, and Hospital Workers: almost everyone working in a hospital (at least with a patient-facing role) will be required to obtain a BLS certification and/or other related certifications, such as an Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). Doctors, nurses, and medical assistants will all need to know how to keep a patient alive until additional help becomes accessible. Individuals working in the emergency room (ER) will likely require further training.
  • Paramedics and EMTs: these individuals do most of their work in the field, rather than in the actual hospital, meaning their BLS training is crucial. Advanced paramedics will require additional certifications as well.
  • Firefighters: firefighters are very likely to encounter individuals on the verge of death, meaning that a BLS certification is, without a doubt, a very important part of their job. These rules apply to both paid and volunteer firefighters.
  • Police Officers: because police officers often arrive “on the scene” before anyone else, they will need to be able to act in the event of an emergency. BLS gives them the skills they need to keep any victim(s) alive until an ambulance arrives.
  • Dentists: in the dentistry field, life-threatening situations are rare, but they do occasionally emerge. While the rules for dentistry will vary by state, most states require dentists to have BLS and various other certifications.
  • Teachers: the BLS rules for teachers will be set by either the state Board of Education (BOE) or the school district the teacher is working for. Teachers will need to be familiar with how to respond to emergencies and will also need to understand how children’s bodies differ from adult bodies.
  • Lifeguards: lifeguard training is usually administered by the Red Cross and other organizations. Lifeguards, whose basic role is to “guard lives”, will need to know how to act quickly in the event that a victim becomes unconscious.

These are some of the most common occupations that require BLS training. If you are unsure whether you need to pursue this certificate, speak directly with your supervisor.

How Often Do You Need to Renew Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification?

A Basic Life Support (BLS) certification must be renewed at least every two years. Many of the online BLS renewal programs can be combined with other certificates expiring every two years, such as ACLS, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and various others. By bundling multiple programs into a single package, you may be able to save some money.

A BLS certification is valid for 2 years

Renewing Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification Online

Fortunately, renewing your BLS certification is something that is remarkably easy. There are many different BLS certification programs available online, making it easy to work at your own pace and earn your certification on time. If you are still familiar with the subject matter, these courses can usually be completed in just a few hours. By renewing your BLS certification online, you’ll also have ample opportunities to review any of the relevant information that you may have forgotten.

Now that you know whether or not you need to be BLS certified, here are a few additional resources to help get you started:


A BLS certification applies to a wide variety of different occupations. This certification has, in many cases, helped directly save people’s lives. Because your BLS certification only lasts for two years, be sure to check and determine when you will need to renew it. For more information on obtaining or renewing your BLS, ACLS, or PALS certification visit our website or send us a message.

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BLS Certification - $90

BLS Recertification - $60