Many people are familiar with training in CPR—the well-known life-saving technique used to provide chest compressions and rescue breaths to someone suffering from cardiac arrest. Courses and certification in this procedure are widespread and mandatory to work in a variety of fields, including firefighters, paramedics, coaches, and even flight attendants. According to the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, over 356,000 cardiac arrest episodes occur outside of hospitals every year. Thus, the need for bystanders to be trained to respond to these incidents is clear.

But have you heard of PALS certification? PALS, or Pediatric Advanced Life Support, is similar to CPR training, but unique in that it is designed to assist young children. PALS provides training in identifying and assessing life-threatening conditions in young children and the steps to performing resuscitation techniques. Similar to CPR and ACLS training, online PALS certification is an increasingly popular option for those who need this type of training.

But even if your job does require PALS training and certification, many people may not be sure exactly what it entails, how it differs from other types of pediatric care, and how long it takes to acquire. In this article, we take a quick look through some important facts and questions you should know before you begin your PALS training.


You might first be wondering what the difference is between learning PALS or PEARS. PEARS stands for Pediatric Emergency Assessment Recognition and Stabilization. This type of training is designed for those who work with children, and thus, should have some knowledge of life-saving procedures. School nurses and medical aids often undergo PEARS training to better recognize and respond to conditions in children, such as shock, cardiac arrest, or respiratory distress.

PALS training is more common for medical professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or paramedics. PALS is designed to improve the quality of care provided to children suffering from cardiac arrest and includes strategies for recognizing medical conditions in young children and applying the appropriate resuscitation techniques.

The main difference between PALS and PEARS training lies in the role of the responder. PEARS training is designed for those providing a support role in a medical emergency. PEARS emphasizes the recognition and understanding of symptoms for various medical conditions common in young children. PALS, on the other hand, is designed for a leadership role. When determining which type of course to take, think about how and why you’ll be using this information. Will you be serving in a leadership role or assisting a team?

SCA In Young Children

SCA, or sudden cardiac arrest, is the leading cause of cardiac arrest in young children. Unlike heart disease, SCA occurs when the heart unexpectedly stops beating, generally from an electric abnormality. What makes SCA so frightening is that it often occurs in individuals with no previous health issues. Almost like lightning on a clear day, SCA can strike at virtually any time, but most often during strenuous physical exercise. That’s why SCA is common in younger athletes. Sadly, over 2,000 children are lost every year from this condition.

What Causes SCA In Young Children?

SCA can affect healthy individuals, including children, with no history of medical conditions. While SCA can be unpredictable, there are three common causes of SCA in young children.

  1. Commotio Cordis

Common in baseball players, this condition in electrical disturbance to the heart caused by a blow to the chest.

  1. Long QT Syndrome

This genetic disease affects 1 in 7,000 children and can cause electrical abnormalities in the heart through physical exertion or stress. This genetic issue causes ones to be more prone to minor electrical irregularities.

  1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

This medical condition leads to an unusual thickening of the heart’s walls, making obstruction of blood to the heart more common. Reports show that 1 in 500 to 1,000 young children experience this condition.

What Do I Learn in PALS Training?

Similar to courses in CPR, PALS training will give you the knowledge, skills, and confidence to respond to an SCA incident in a young child. PALS courses will teach you how to perform a pediatric assessment fully. Once you have successfully assessed the medical condition, PALS focuses on effective resuscitation techniques, including vascular access and airway management. PALS training also provides context information, such as how to manage an emergency situation, and the full range of medical terminology you’ll need to know.

PALS is designed to make you a leader at the scene of an emergency. Therefore, PALS offers a complete package to identify, assess, and respond to a pediatric medical emergency. These courses are also useful because they go beyond the book, using case studies and simulations to put your training into action immediately. What better way to develop your skills than to put them to the test?

How Long Does It Take To Get Pals Certification?

Not long at all. Many people are surprised to find out that you can complete your PALS certification in less than a day. Most PALS courses can even be completed in as little as fourteen hours. Once you successfully pass your test, your PALS certification is valid for two years. Additionally, one advantage of online PALS training is that you can go at your own pace and fit the classes to meet your schedule. This is especially useful for those already working full time but need this certification for their careers. PALS certification courses are designed to fit your individual needs.


Whether it’s required for your career or you’re just interested in being better prepared to respond to any situation, you should consider receiving your PALS certification or recertification. Never before have these classes been easier, more accessible, or more affordable than today. Additionally, online courses add convenience to fit your own schedule while receiving high-quality training from certified professionals.