PALS Certification Online: What You Need to Know

harvey-pals-certification-sc-300x215With the growing need for healthcare workers, medical certifications are in high demand across the U.S. Of these, PALS certification online is one of the fastest growing fields. Although highly specialized, it is a requirement for all jobs in intensive care and emergency settings, making it almost a must for anyone looking to get ahead in the healthcare industry.

PALS stands for Pediatric Advanced Life Support, and is one of several fields overseen by the American Heart Association (AHA). These include Adult Cardiac Life Support and Basic Life Support. Jobs that require PALS certification include emergency medical technicians, intensive care workers, and pediatric ward personnel.

Pediatric life support offers a different set of challenges compared to adult life support. Besides the obvious physiological differences, cardiac arrest in infants is often linked to respiratory failure, which can result from a wide range of causes, such as congenital defects and poisoning. While there is some overlap in procedures with adult life support, such as restoring air flow and circulation, approaches based on cause are central to pediatric life support. Much of the course content in a PALS certification program deals with these causes, both in terms of preventing them and responding to them. Common topics include identifying and treating illnesses, respiratory management, monitoring heart rates, defibrillation, and resuscitation.

Most PALS certification courses are offered in classrooms, but more and more companies are bringing their courses online. Many of these are affiliated with well-established associations like the American Academy of Pediatrics. All courses are required to comply with AHA guidelines, which are updated regularly to reflect new, evidence-based information. The latest guidelines were published in January 2012.

Online PALS certification can be just as effective as classroom courses, but as with any online course, comparing your sources is always essential. Although both follow the same guidelines, there are obvious differences between reading online material and learning in a classroom. Simulated figures used in online courses can do the job just as well as in hands-on practice, but it’s both a matter of how the material is delivered and how each student learns best. There are also practical matters: some people have full-time jobs or simply do not have the time or means to commute to classroom courses.

Perhaps more importantly, you have to make sure the course you are taking is accredited in your area and by your employer. The best way to go is to show the online course content to present or potential employers, and talk to the course provider directly. For something as essential as pediatric life support, it pays to take the time to get the right training.

Learn More By Staying At Home

handheld tabletWith the recent explosion in the ownership and use of tablets and handheld devices, there has also been a growth in the availability of online learning.

Online learning – also known as ‘e-learning’ – started life in 1999 after the term was coined in Los Angeles. It symbolises choice and pace of learning for students across the world. It is possible to gain qualifications from the comfort of the armchair and to make friends with fellow learners from other countries without having to leave home. Students of all ages can now access coursework through their PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

Everyone leads a busy life and the opportunity to gain new skills quickly slips down the ‘things to do’ list when it means attending a regular class at a venue not normally visited with a timetable which more than often clashes with work, childcare responsibilities or other social events. E-learning can fit in with all the other aspects of life and can be picked up or put down electronically whenever needed. For those of a school age, e-learning can be a boon when living in a remote location or when recovering from illness.

The short history of e-learning has quickly shown that people like the opportunity to learn at their own pace and to choose what time of the day or night to learn. Courses and classes can be held in real time online or the work can be accessed at a time it suits the student. The wealth of subjects available to choose from is growing wider as the restrictions of having to choose from a short list of subjects just because of the fact they are the only ones taught locally start to disappear. Work is made available through dedicated websites or portals such as extranets. Students usually have a secure login where they can see the required tasks, receive help and feedback from their tutor, interact with others on the same course as them through forums and find out results to assignments or exams without the waiting for the envelope to drop through the letterbox. E-learning also appeals to those who are shy and don’t want to join a group of strangers. They can undertake the work at home and unless there are stipulations of the course that online interaction takes place for tasks such as projects, there is no need to talk to anyone else whilst they study.

As the availability and capabilities of technology increases, the rise of e-learning is going to continue to grow. It is a real alternative to traditional teaching methods and sits comfortably alongside those courses which are taught in the classroom.

How Much Is A Like Worth? The Costs of Facebook Marketing

With a user pool of close to a billion, Facebook is a valuable marketing tool for businesses–and not surprisingly, a potentially expensive one. Advertising on the internet has always been on both ends of the scale, with small ventures getting by on a few dollars a day and others investing hundreds of thousands. But the amount of competition on Facebook means that you have to pay a premium–in time, effort, and mostly money–to set yourself apart.

So how much does it really cost to market on Facebook? It depends on how you’re going about it.  For instance, if your goal is to get subscribers, you can expect to pay around $1.07 for every person who likes your page. This takes into account the advertising that gets people to like: ad space, ad time, copy, and images.

It’s not as simple as that, though. The more popular you get, the more expensive it becomes to maintain that level of popularity. A page with over 300,000 likes can therefore cost well over $320,000 to keep up. This is why it’s important to think of conversion: without making sales, you can’t afford to keep those fans coming. For the most successful businesses, the returns are more than worth it.

What about the pay-per-click system, which is used by about half of the companies in North America? Many companies use this in addition to free self-made fan pages. Here, the cost varies by industry. According to Flowtown, a social media marketing firm, healthcare advertising is the most expensive, followed by Internet products, telecommunications, and financial services. Travel and e-commerce are among the cheapest. This could be a result of the number of bidders in a particular industry–the more competition there is for a spot, the bigger the bids become. The prices range from 31 cents to $1.27 per click, which, when scaled up to the thousands, ends up being a big investment.

The next important question is perhaps how to get your money’s worth. Maximizing Facebook’s marketing value requires a good understanding of market behavior. People like pages because they get exclusive access to information, incentives (discounts and freebies), interesting content, and interaction from the company itself. In other words, you don’t want to be just spewing out sales talk. Put as much effort as money into building a community and creating a feeling of belonging, and you’ll end up with a much more valuable fan base.

New Facebook Features for Marketers

Some of Facebook’s decisions may have raised a few eyebrows, from the Timeline format to their information-sharing policies. But on the marketing side, most of the changes have been for the better. Facebook marketers now have more tools to help better manage their pages, monitor their content, perform analytics, and get better results. If you haven’t been keeping up, you’re missing out on a lot of new functionalities. Here are some new features you may want to check out, and how they can fit into your campaign.

Assigning administrators: Many companies’ Facebook pages have grown from a small side project to a full-fledged marketing channel, and social media marketing departments have grown as a result. The administrative role feature, accessible from the Edit Page option, helps delegate tasks into five categories: management, content, moderation, advertising, and analytics. It’s a great tool for fast-growing businesses that rely heavily on social media presence, even if they don’t have a fixed social media team.

Post scheduling: Facebook posts can now be treated like blog posts, in that they can be published (or “shared” in Facebook lingo) at preset dates. This was previously possible through third-party apps, but being able to do it from Facebook itself saves time and reduces the risk of lag. It’s also a lot easier: all you have to do is click on the clock icon on the sharing options panel, and enter the time and date the post should go up. You can pre-schedule posts up to six months ahead, and you can add photos and videos as well.

Post promotion: The idea behind post promotion is similar to that of premium ads on eBay, where you pay more to make your item (or in this case, your post) more visible. The fee, which starts at $5, will be visible not only to people who have liked or commented on the post, but also to their friends. This option only works for pages with at least 400 likes, and is also accessible from the sharing options menu. You can also promote previously published posts provided they’re less than three days old.

These features are free and user-friendly, but surprisingly few page owners use them to their full potential. Many still waste time on manual posting and pen-and-paper analytics. But while good content and community building are still central to Facebook marketing, knowing and using the right tools can go a long way in increasing your bottom line.

Increasing Facebook Conversion Rates

Getting an advertising campaign off the ground is simple, especially with platforms like Facebook making everything intuitive. Where your marketing savvy comes in is turning all those likes and click-throughs into conversion–in other words, making money off the whole venture. Unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people stumble.

So how do you increase your Facebook conversion rate? Avoiding the following common mistakes can go a long way.

Messy landing pages: Your Facebook ad campaign can achieve one of three goals: it can generate traffic, create brand awareness, and create involvement. In any case, the landing page determines whether people end up buying or write the site off as just another Facebook page. They expect to see the same thing on your Facebook and your official website–it looks more streamlined and therefore lends credibility.

Reach out to new fans: The Internet has made consumer demographics a lot less static, and reaching out to just one group can make you miss big opportunities. A company’s typical customers can change or expand from time to time, and it’s important to find out who these new people are. If your buyers are usually young professionals, you may also want to market to people who have something in common with them, whether it’s an interest, an industry, an age group or a location.

Manage your budget: Facebook’s bidding system forces advertisers to put their money where they think it’ll go the farthest. Your competitors are targeting the same group of people, so you should decide where to be most competitive. Do you want to set a higher limit for yuppies, or do you expect to get a better return on university students who might spend more time on Facebook (but may have less buying power)? Some of the factors you may want to look at are how long the users spend on each page, how much buying power they have, and how many of their peers show interest in the same products.

Match your traffic patterns: If your ads lead to your website instead of a Facebook page, consider setting them up so that they are most visible during your peak traffic hours. That way, you spend the most money at hours where you typically get the most conversion. Many people have to do this manually by tracking each ad, but you can use third-party tracking tools to save some time–especially if you’re running several ads.