EMS Tips

Tips for Success in Certification Courses

CPR, EPC, PHTLS, ACLS, AMLS, PEPP, ITLS, BLS … all of those certification courses. Do you attend certification courses with dread and low energy? Or do you attend to maximize your own learning and preparation for emergencies?

Pediatric Assessment PracticeMaximize your success in certification courses with these tips:

1. Be prepared to learn. Do your best to avoid taking a certification class just as you have come off shift. Instead come to class rested, well fed, and energized. If you can read the book before class. At the least skim the main headings in each paragraph. Complete any pre-course work well before class starts.

2. Sit near the front of the room. Demonstrate your interest and willingness to learn by sitting in the front. You will learn more and be less distracted in the front.

3. Align with the right people. When it comes time for the inevitable group work (aka patient assessment stations) assign yourself to groups with other students that want to learn and make the most of the session. You know the Debbie Downers in your organization so do your best not to sit near them.

4. Ask questions to affirm and broaden your knowledge. A certification class is a focused opportunity to ask and get questions answered. Ask questions during lectures, skill stations, and assessment scenarios. Breaks and meal times are also good times to ask questions … especially to outside instructors.

5. Practice, practice, practice. Take advantage of opportunities to practice. If there is a down moment place a couple more endotracheal tubes, place more IO lines, or compress the manikin’s chest. Build muscle memory and familiarity with these important skills.

6. Honestly and specifically evaluate the course. Use the written evaluation to share honest and specific feedback on how to improve the course. Instructors and program coordinators appreciate specific critique. Let them know how to improve because you might be back in the same course in two years.

What are your tips for success in certification classes?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.