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My PA program doesn't have ACLS certification as part of its curriculum. Is this something I should be concerned about for when I start looking for jobs? Does it just depend on the specialty that I work in, such as the emergency room? Any recommendations for what I should do? (if anything)

 

I'm willing to just get it on my own if necessary, I'm just not sure.

 

Thank you!

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I'd recommend it.  It will be essential for EM/UC, but other institutional settings may require it.  YMMV, but yes, getting ACLS is a good idea.  My program had us all do it before rotations.

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We didn't have it at UTMB until both myself and a classmate requested it since we both had EMS experience. Took an Act of God to get us approved I was told. Wouldn't hurt to have it but it isn't as in-depth/stressful as it used to be back in the "horror story" decades of the '70's-80's. Try for PALS/APLS as well.

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My school did not provide ACLS certification as part of the curriculum either. I collaborated with my class to bring an ACLS instructor to our school with the equipment to teach us, and he gave us a pretty hefty ~40% discount. You should communicate with your class too and see if you can get a similar discount with an instructor near your area!

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Okay, so it seems like I probably should get the ACLS certification then; it's on the to-do list. Could I just take the classes right after graduation, or is it important to get it sooner? I'm not entirely sure I'll have time to do the formal training during our clinical rotations. 

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Classes after graduation should be fine, but don't let them interfere with getting PANCE done and passed first.  ACLS you can get with a 24 hour electronic turnaround now, so fit it in wherever.  There are classes within driving distance of me weekly, so unless you're out in the boonies somewhere, odds are you can swing it immediately after you've sat for PANCE and get it back before or concurrently with scores.  ACLS is never needed for licensure, but may be for credentialing, so it's unlikely to be a critical path dependency to getting to work ASAP after graduation.

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Many jobs require ACLS especially surgery and EM, but many of those jobs Wil also allow for you to get in within 6 months of hire and will pay for it...even if it doesn't say it on the job posting

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We did it when I was in PA school (already had it as I was a medic at the time) and it's done at the school where I teach. We also do a sim lab on defibrillation, synchronous cardioversion, and pacing beforehand. One of our students now in her clinical rotations used that skill to save a life in a small urgent care while her preceptor did CPR.

 

Keeping ACLS certification is a requirement at all three hospital systems where I have privileges. If you plan to set foot in a hospital, I'd recommend it.

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Typically hospitals require it as a part of their credentialing process. So definitely get it if you're planning on working at a hospital in some capacity.

 

Also, you can get CME credit for ACLS courses, both initial cert and recert.

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