What is a BLS Instructor?

What role does a Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor provide? What training is required to become a BLS instructor? CPR Instructor Affiliates explains everything you need to know!

BLS Instructor
BLS Instructor

What is a BLS Instructor?

BLS stands for Basic Life Support. AHA BLS certification is required for current healthcare providers like nurses, EMTs, and other people in the healthcare field. Not just anyone can teach BLS courses. Individuals wanting to teach BLS courses will need a BLS Instructor certification.

The American Heart Association does not require BLS instructors to have a medical background. However, BLS Instructors are given the highest training of any CPR instructors and can teach various courses including basic CPR courses.

How to become an AHA instructor?

The prerequisites to become an AHA BLS instructor are the following:

  • Current American Heart Association BLS Provider certification card.
  • Completion of the AHA BLS Instructor Essentials Online training.

Once you have completed the prerequisites you can find an instructor course near you. You can view the classes we offer on our site here.

Next to become an instructor you need to:

BLS Instructor Job Description

Pre-course responsibilities:

  • Ability to teach classes often. (monthly is recommended)
  • Maintain your own equipment or maintain another company’s equipment.
  • Upon scheduling of a class, prepare necessary materials and equipment.
  • Set up classroom
  • Transport equipment to location, if applicable.
  • Ability to carry 30-50 lbs is recommended. Some instructors use students to help with loading or carrying equipment and utilze lightweight folding wagons for easier transport.

Class time responsibilities:

  • facilitate course agendas
  • manage a classroom
  • time management skills
  • Provide feedback to students
  • Administer exams

Post-course responsibilities:

  • Cleaning equipment
  • Submitting paperwork
  • Sending certifications

What types of training can a BLS instructor provide?

American Heart Association BLS Instructors can teach all AHA CPR classes including: Basic Life Support, Heartsaver CPR/AED for layresponders, First Aid, and Friends and Family (Hands only CPR) CPR.

All CPR courses feature the same content and CPR guidelines, however the difference between the courses are the following:

  • The BLS course teaches more advanced techniques and skills. You don’t need a medical background to teach BLS, but you will primarily be teaching others who do have a medical background.
  • While the BLS course is developed for healthcare providers, HeartSaver courses are meant for people who are not healthcare professionals but need the certification for their job.
  • BLS focuses on two-rescuer scenarios and team-based approach resuscitation. Whereas, HeartSaver is focused on one-rescuer community resuscitation.
  • In addition to covering the basics, BLS will also discuss rescue breathing, using advanced airways, and how to use a bag mask device which are not covered in HeartSaver.
  • HeartSaver teaches First Aid as an option module, whereas BLS only teaches CPR.

What knowledge and skills should I mention on a resume as a BLS Instructor?

If you have worked as a BLS instructor and are applying to other jobs or just maintaining a professional profile on a site such as Linked In, you may want some ideas on how to beef up your skills list. Consider including items from the job description above as well as skills such as general skillsets that make for a good BLS instructor.

Most BLS instructors are personable, friendly, and able to work with all types of people. This is an attractive quality to put on a resume and alongside your BLS teaching experience it gives people a good idea of your capabilities.


So now you know what being a Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor entails. If you are an employer looking to hire a BLS instructor, feel free to use our job description template. Also, check out our video about how to find and hire quality instructors:

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