What Is the ACLS Exam?

The advanced cardiac life support exam certifies health care providers to perform medical procedures in the event of patient heart failure. The American Heart Association and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation manage the advanced cardiac life support procedure guidelines, and independent organizations offer training programs and certification exams. Most provider institutions require emergency care staff to renew their certifications every two years.

The American Heart Association offers training courses at its training centers. Providers can locate local courses at the American Heart Association's website. The organization offers classroom-based courses on treating cardiac arrest victims, performing electrocardiograms, managing patient airways during resuscitation, identifying normal cardiac rhythms and other advanced cardiac life support procedures.

Some hospitals offer on-site training and certifications, and others rely on outside, online and software-based courses and certification exams. Sites such as ACLSCertification.com and ACLS.com offer training courses and certification exams based on the guidelines in the "ACLS Provider Manual."

A variety of health care providers are required to certify their advanced cardiac life support skills, including paramedics, nurses, physicians, dentists and pharmacists. As of 2015, the American Heart Association and International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation's 2010 guidelines are the most current. These guidelines provide sets of instructions for a variety of situations, including suspected stroke, cardiac arrest and other life-threatening conditions.