AHA Pediatric Training for Healthcare Providers

The AHA offers three separate courses for healthcare providers who require training in pediatric care. All three courses reflect science and education from the American Heart Association Guidelines Update for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC).

Which course is right for me?


Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS):

  • For healthcare providers who respond to emergencies in infants and children and for personnel in emergency response, emergency medicine, intensive care and critical care units

What does this course teach?

The PALS Provider Course aims to improve outcomes for pediatric patients by preparing healthcare providers to effectively recognize and intervene in patients with respiratory emergencies, shock, and cardiopulmonary arrest by using high‐performance team dynamics and high‐quality individual skills. The course includes a series of case scenario practices with simulations that reinforce important concepts. Upon successful completion of all the patient cases, students must pass the multiple-choice exam with a minimum score of 84%. Topics include:

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to

  • Perform high‐quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) per American Heart Association (AHA) basic life support (BLS) recommendations
  • Differentiate between patients who do and do not require immediate intervention
  • Recognize cardiopulmonary arrest early and begin CPR within 10 seconds
  • Apply team dynamics
  • Differentiate between respiratory distress and failure
  • Perform early interventions for respiratory distress and failure
  • Differentiate between compensated and decompensated (hypotensive) shock
  • Perform early interventions for the treatment of shock
  • Differentiate between unstable and stable patients with arrhythmias
  • Describe clinical characteristics of instability in patients with arrhythmias
  • Implement post–cardiac arrest management

PALS Plus:

For healthcare providers who either direct or participate in the management of respiratory and/or cardiovascular emergencies, cardiopulmonary arrest, and other emergent and critical conditions in pediatric patients. This includes personnel in emergency response, emergency medicine, intensive care, and critical care units such as physicians, physician assistants, hospitalists, advanced practice/registered nurses, advanced level prehospital providers, and others who desire additional advanced educational content beyond the traditional PALS course.

What does this course teach?

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have collaborated to develop a new program called PALS Plus. The PALS Plus Course is a pediatric advanced life support (PALS) course for more experienced pediatric healthcare professionals seeking advanced educational content. The course teaches more than the standard PALS curriculum and includes 9 additional modules related to pediatric emergencies.

The full course includes an online portion consisting of HeartCode® PALS Online and the student’s selection of at least 6 of the 9 PALS Plus Advanced Modules, combined with an Instructor-led, hands-on skills session.

PEARS® (Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition and Stabilization):

  • For healthcare providers and others who might encounter pediatric emergency situations during their work, including: Nurse practitioners, Physician assistants, Emergency medical technicians, Respiratory therapists, etc.

What does this course teach?

Improve outcomes for pediatric patients by preparing healthcare providers in assessment, early recognition, prompt communication, and initial intervention in patients with respiratory emergencies, shock, and cardiopulmonary arrest. Topics include:

  • Performing BLS consistent with the 2015 AHA Guidelines Update for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC)
  • Evaluating a seriously ill or injured child by using the pediatric systematic approach
  • Applying effective team dynamics
  • Demonstrating initial stabilization of a seriously ill or injured child, including a child with cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, or shock

Ready to take a PALS, PALS Plus or PEARS course?

The AHA offers options for how you can purchase PALS, PALS Plus or PEARS. You can take a full classroom course, take a blended learning PALS course (includes HeartCode PALS + a hands-on skills session training), or purchase additional course materials. Choose from the options below.

Course Completion Card

Upon completion of all course requirements, participants receive a Provider Course Completion Card which is valid for two years.

Continuing Education Credits

Depending on which pediatric course option you choose, CE/CME may be available for your profession.