How to become an (AHA) ACLS Instructor & Teach Advanced Cardiac Life Support Classes

We field a lot of questions about how to become an ACLS instructor and teach Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Being an ACLS instructor is an ideal skill compliment for Basic Life Support Instructors and people looking to produce income on the side. Here we will break down the qualifications to become an ACLS instructor, the training process, and the equipment needed.

Qualifications to Become an ACLS Instructor

  1. The minimum age to become an AHA Instructor is 18 years. (This update is due to the requirement that all instructors align with the AHA Atlas website, and the AHA cannot collect information on minors under the age of 18 years.)
  2. Currently have or obtain a provider card in ACLS. (For AHA Instructors, you must get an AHA ACLS Provider Certification.)
  3. Identify a Training Center willing to accept your alignment. For BLS, ACLS, & PALS alignment in all 50 U.S. states visit Vitali Instructor Advantage.
  4. Complete the ACLS Instructor Essentials Online Course.

How to Find an ACLS Instructor Class

ACLS Instructor Classes are more rare to come across. Although there is demand for ACLS instructors, there is less demand for ACLS instructor courses. You may be able to find an instructor course advertised near you. However, you may need to plan on traveling to a scheduled course. You can search ClassEagle for qualified instructors near you. It could also be worthwhile to reach out to ACLS Training Faculty and ask them to put on a course for you.

Vitali Medical Training offers ACLS Instructor Classes Quarterly. You can view the dates and locations here. If you do not find ACLS Instructor classes listed, you should check back soon. ACLS Instructor course availability is updated monthly.

How Long is an ACLS Instructor Class?

AHA ACLS Instructor classes have three parts:

  1. ACLS Instructor Essentials. This is portion you will complete online. This course must be completed before you attend in person training. You can buy the course here for $40. The online course takes approximately 1-4 hours to complete. This course utilizes adaptive learning. As a result, the course will vary in time based on your prior knowledge. The ACLS Instructor Essentials Course will prepare instructor candidates to teach AHA Instructor-led and blended learning ACLS courses. It explains how to use AHA Instructor materials, how to ensure that students meet learning objectives, and follow AHA policies.
  2. ACLS Hands On Instructor Training & Course Director Training. The purpose of this training is to prepare instructors to plan, organize, and teach an ACLS Provider course. Hands on training will ensure that the candidate can accurately instruct, evaluate, and monitor students in their skill proficiency. (Approx. 8 hours)
  3. Monitoring. You must be successfully monitored teaching your first course within 6 months of completing the Instructor Essentials Hands On training. (Approx. 4-8 hours)

Can I do ACLS Training Virtually?

Effective September 1, 2023, there is no longer allowance of virtual skills for advanced healthcare provider courses (ACLS, PALS, PEARS, ACLS EP). As such, this extends to the hands on instructor training as well.

What Equipment is needed to Teach ACLS Classes?

Required Curriculum:

  • ACLS Instructor Manual. Available as eBook, or Printed.
  • ACLS Course Videos. Available on USB, DVD, & Streaming.
  • ACLS Student Manual. (Instructors are responsible for ensuring each student has an ACLS manual before, during, and after their class.) Available as an eBook or Printed.


How long does ACLS Instructor Certification Last?

The American Heart Association requires instructors to renew their instructor certification every 2 years. To renew your instructor certification, you must:

  • Teach a minimum of 4 instructor-led ACLS courses or ACLS skills portions of a HeartCode course.
  • Teach an ACLS course and be monitored by a Training Faculty Member.

For facilities utilizing 100% RQI and Heartcode, a skills test may satisfy the monitoring of the instructor.

Can ACLS Instructors teach Basic Life Support (BLS)?

In order to teach AHA BLS Provider classes, you must complete a BLS Instructor Course. The process is similar and you can read the details here.

ACLS Providers are tested and expected to be proficient in BLS skills. However, the ACLS Instructor course does not spend the same time a BLS Instructor Course does covering the required topics.

What Type of Classes can ACLS Instructors teach?

If you have your AHA ACLS Instructor certificate you are able to teach any of the ACLS course formats. The current formats and course agendas are:

  • ACLS Initial Instructor Led Course (8-12 hour course agenda for first time ACLS students)
  • ACLS Renewal Instructor Led Course (4-8 hour course agenda for previously certified ACLS students)
  • ACLS Heartcode Skills Course (1-2 hour course agenda for students who have completed the AHA ACLS Heartcode Online Training)

If I have an ACLS Instructor Certification, Do I Need an ACLS Provider Card?

In order to take ACLS Instructor Training, you are required to have an ACLS Provider certification. After you have completed ACLS instructor training, you no longer need to maintain an ACLS Provider Card. If needed, a provider certification may be issued when you renew your instructor certification. As a part of the renewal process, instructors will demonstrate skill proficiency to a Training Faculty member and take the ACLS Provider Exam. If an instructors workplace requires an ACLS Provider card, instructors may receive one from the Training Faculty doing their monitoring. However, according to the AHA this is not necessary.

Read more: ‘If I have an ACLS Certification, do I need BLS Certification?’

American Heart Association & American Red Cross Reciprocity

ACLS Instructors that take training through the American Heart Association are eligible for instructor reciprocity with the American Red Cross. However, the AHA does not honor reciprocity from the Red Cross. Depending on your location, one training brand may be more popular or required.

Vitali Partners can help with bridging AHA instructors to Red Cross. Through the Red Cross, instructors are able to be their own ‘Licensed Training Providers.’ However, there are benefits for aligning with a partner like Vitali. Learn more here.


To become an AHA ACLS Instructor you will need to meet the prerequisites, attend an instructor course, and successfully complete monitoring. AHA ACLS Instructor certification is valid for two years. Instructor certification can be renewed by teaching at least four classes over two years, followed by being monitored teaching one of them.

Visit our YouTube Channel for more information on being a CPR and ACLS instructor!

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