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Information for ATLS Instructors

ATLS® is a world-renowned multidisciplinary course, teaching a systematic process of trauma care for patients with life-threatening injuries.

There are 2,000 ATLS® instructors throughout the UK. Each one plays a vital role in the national course programme, which delivers over 270 courses every year.

Becoming an ATLS Instructor

The first stage in becoming an ATLS® Instructor is successfully completing the Instructor course. After this, your status will change to instructor candidate. Only providers who have been nominated as having instructor potential can apply for the ATLS® Instructor course.

To go from candidate to instructor, you’ll need to then teach on the ATLS® Provider course within 12 months of completing your ATLS® Instructor course.

During the course, you will be assessed by the faculty while you run these sessions:

  • Managing a moulage scenario
  • Teaching scenario station

The course director will let you know the outcome. If you are successful, you’ll gain ATLS® instructor status.

ATLS instructor status and the recertification process

Your status as an ATLS® Instructor lasts for four years from your instructor candidate course completion date or your last recertification date.

To maintain your instructor status, you’ll need to teach a minimum of four ATLS courses in a four year period of your instructor status and recertify every four years. You will receive an automated reminder from the RCS six months before the expiry date of your instructor status.

Recertification involves having your teaching skills assessed while teaching on an ATLS® Provider course as a member of faculty. The course director will assess your abilities in:

  • Managing a moulage scenario
  • Teaching scenario station
  • Delivering an interactive discussion (if applicable)

You will also need to complete an MCQ, scoring 30/40 or higher.

At the end of the course, the course director completes the recertifying instructor form (held by all centres teaching ATLS®) and submits it to the RCS team.

Please note that recertifying instructors may not direct or co-direct courses. 

How to reinstate lapsed instructor status

If your instructor status has lapsed, you can reinstate your status:

  • If you teach regularly (at least once per year) but your ATLS® instructor status has lapsed, you will need to recertify at the next available ATLS® Provider course
  • If you haven’t taught for over two years but your instructor status is still in date, you will need to teach ATLS® as an instructor candidate
  • If you have not taught ATLS® for two years or longer and your ATLS® instructor status has expired, you will need to retake the ATLS® Provider course as a candidate, gain ATLS Instructor potential and then teach as an instructor candidate within one year of the provider course completion
  • Additional grace period for recertification, instructor candidacy completion and frequency of teaching applies to instructors returning from parental leave

Teaching requirements for ATLS Instructors

ATLS® Instructors need to teach a minimum of four courses during each four-year period of instructor status.

We strongly recommend that instructors teach six courses in their first four-year period of ATLS® instructor status.

You must not leave more than two years between teaching courses. Additional grace period for recertification, instructor candidacy completion and frequency of teaching applies to instructors returning from parental leave.

Becoming an ATLS course director

Prospective ATLS® course directors must be experienced ATLS® Instructors who have taught at least seven ATLS® Provider courses and one current edition ATLS® Instructor course.

Once you have been appointed as a trainee director, you’ll need to co-direct an ATLS® course with an experienced director – someone who has directed an ATLS® course within a year of the date of the course you will co-direct.

We strongly recommend that you should be supported by an experienced course director who acts as a faculty member on your first course as course director.

Teaching on the ATLS Instructor course

Are you an ATLS® Course Director or an experienced Instructor who has taught at least six ATLS® Provider courses? If so, we would like to invite you to teach the ATLS® Instructor course.

Please get in touch if you are interested:

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