What is a BLS Card?

A BLS card is a tangible proof of one’s competence in providing initial medical care during emergencies. It is a universally recognized certification, crucial for healthcare professionals and other first responders.

What’s the Duration and Validity of a BLS Card?

Typically,the validity of a BLS card is two years from its issue date, the validity duration aligns with the medical field’s need for continuous learning and adaptability to new research and findings. As we’ll see later, the consequences of an expired card can be significant.

Why Two Years?

  • Emerging Research: Medical science is ever-evolving. Two years ensure practitioners are updated with new findings.
  • Skill Retention: Skills diminish over time. Regular renewals ensure you’re always in top form.
  • Standard Practice: Many certifications in the healthcare sector follow a similar validity timeline.

Renowned BLS Certifying Institutions

Several reputable organizations provide BLS certification, including the American Heart Association (AHA), Red Cross, and National Safety Council. 

  • American Heart Association (AHA): A gold standard in cardiac care training.
  • Red Cross: Known globally for its comprehensive emergency care programs.
  • National Safety Council: A body that emphasizes workplace safety and emergency care.

The certification from these bodies is widely accepted and complies with international standards, essential for professional practice.

InstitutionNotable FeaturesRenewal DurationMode of TrainingCertification Cost
American Heart Association (AHA)– Pinnacle in cardiac care training. – Updated guidelines as per latest research.Every 2 yearsOnline & In-person$$$
Red Cross– Global hallmark in emergency care. – Extensive practical training sessions.Every 2 yearsOnline & In-person$$
National Safety Council– Focus on workplace safety. – Collaborative training modules.Every 2 yearsIn-person$$

Note: $$$ denotes a relative cost indication with more symbols suggesting a higher cost.

This table provides a snapshot comparison for readers to understand the offerings of each institution, assisting them in making informed choices based on their preferences and requirements.

Image alt text: the validity of a BLS card.

Author credit: By Phi_2528 – 投稿者が所持しているカードを投稿者自身が撮影(Taken by the owner(=uploader) of this card), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5343658

The BLS Card Renewal Process

The renewal of a BLS card is as crucial as obtaining one. This process ensures that your skills and knowledge remain fresh and in line with current guidelines. It typically involves:

  • Choosing between online or in-person classes
  • Undergoing a skill evaluation
  • Passing a written examination
  • Receiving a new card

Why Keep Your BLS Certification Current

Keeping your BLS certification current connects back to why the validity is set at two years. Here’s why it’s important to keep your BLS Certification Current

  • Updated Protocols: BLS guidelines might undergo changes. Stay informed to provide the best care.
  • Skill Sharpness: Regular refreshers maintain proficiency.
  • Professional Requirement: Many healthcare roles require a current BLS certification for employment or ongoing practice.

Implications of an Expired BLS Card

An expired BLS card might seem trivial but can have serious professional repercussions. Knowledge gaps and employment challenges are just the tip of the iceberg. Letting your certification lapse could lead to:

  • Knowledge Gaps: You might miss out on crucial updates in the BLS procedures.
  • Employment Challenges: Especially if you’re in the healthcare sector, employers typically demand up-to-date certifications.
  • Lack of Confidence: In an emergency, an expired card might make you question your skill.

Professional Tips for Certification Maintenance

In the ever-evolving realm of healthcare, the importance of keeping certifications, such as the BLS card, current cannot be overstressed. The validity of your certifications not only provides professional leverage but also assures that you’re at the forefront of emerging medical practices and knowledge. 

This pivotal aspect of healthcare necessitates strategies for diligent maintenance. Let’s delve deep into some pragmatic tips tailored for professionals.

1. Set Reminders

The Power of Timely Alerts:
In today’s digital age, the ease with which one can set reminders on various platforms—be it smartphones, email calendars, or specialized apps—is a boon. But why are these reminders so crucial for BLS certification maintenance?

  • Avoiding Last-Minute Hustle: Setting reminders a few months prior to the expiry of your certification allows ample time for renewal preparations, such as revisiting the coursework or scheduling exams.
  • Ensuring Continual Validity: It safeguards against unintended lapses, ensuring your certification never falls out of its validity period, which could potentially harm your professional standing or employability.

2. Consider Early Recertification

Staying Ahead of the Curve:
Early recertification, rather than waiting for the exact expiration date, has its merits.

  • Knowledge Refreshment: It ensures that you’re constantly updating yourself, and the knowledge doesn’t become stagnant.
  • Flexibility: Early recertification can be more flexible in terms of scheduling, and you won’t be pressed for time.
  • Peace of Mind: Having your certification renewed ahead of time provides a certain peace of mind, knowing you’re always ready and qualified, especially in professions where validity is closely monitored.

3. Stay Abreast of Updates and Changes

The Imperative of Continuous Learning:
The medical field is notorious for its rapid advancements and protocol shifts. Therefore:

  • Regularly Review Guidelines: Medical bodies, like the American Heart Association, periodically review and update their guidelines. Professionals should make it a habit to check these updates, even if their certification is still valid.
  • Participate in Workshops: Attend workshops or webinars focused on BLS, as they often discuss recent changes in depth.
  • Subscribe to Journals or Newsletters: Many professional organizations release publications highlighting major changes in procedures and protocols.

4. Regularly Engage with Professional Communities

The Power of Collective Knowledge:
Being an active member of professional communities or forums can be an enlightening experience.

  • Networking: Engaging with peers can provide insights into best practices, experiences, and shared challenges, which can be immensely valuable.
  • Discussion Forums: Many online communities have dedicated forums where members discuss recent advancements, changes in guidelines, or even address common misconceptions.
  • Collaborative Learning: Study groups or joint training sessions can be a beneficial way of collaborative learning and ensuring that you’re not missing out on any crucial updates.

In sum, maintaining a certification, especially something as crucial as BLS, goes beyond just attending a course and passing an exam. It’s an ongoing commitment to professional growth, adaptability, and the unwavering pursuit of excellence.


Is online renewal of the BLS card recognized?

Yes, many institutions offer and recognize online renewals. However, ensure the course is from a reputable organization.

What if my BLS card has already expired?

Depending on how long it’s been, you might need to take the full course again or just a refresher.

Are there any prerequisites for BLS certification?

No, anyone interested in learning life-saving skills can pursue BLS certification.

Is there a difference between BLS for healthcare providers and the general public?

Yes, BLS for healthcare providers often dives deeper into certain protocols given their medical background.

How long does the renewal process take?

This varies by institution, but often it’s a single day of training and evaluation.

Remember, the BLS card isn’t merely a piece of paper. It’s a symbol of professional competence and an ethical commitment to excellence in patient care. Its validity is interwoven with continual learning and alignment with medical advancements. Let’s consider it a pledge to our dedication to saving lives and delivering quality care.