American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Information for Educators

Identification and Nomination

Minimum Selection Criteria

The selection criteria listed herein are used by the State/Provincial Committee on Trauma Chair in identifying nominees for the Advanced Trauma Life Support® (ATLS®) Educator training process.

  1. Applicants should have a master’s degree and preferably a doctorate degree (PhD, EdD) with concentration or specialization in education, as well as experience in postsecondary teaching.
  2. Applicants must be able to communicate effectively with doctors.
  3. Applicants must be able to demonstrate the types of teaching skills addressed in the educational portion of this course (e.g., lecture and group discussion skills), and must also demonstrate both direct and indirect teaching styles.
  4. Applicants should have experience in the medical field.

Audit an ATLS Student Course

Applicants who satisfy the selection criteria should audit an ATLS Student Course in its entirety within six (6) months of applying for Educator candidacy. The date and site of this Student Course should be included in the individual’s application.

Auditing a Student Course is necessary for applicants to acquire the basic knowledge imparted in the program and to achieve an understanding of the requirements to which doctors must adhere. Additionally, this audit process assists applicants in determining whether they wish to make the commitment to become an ATLS educator.

Letters of Recommendation and Curriculum Vitae

  1. Applicants must submit their curriculum vitae to the American College of Surgeons (ACS) ATLS Program Office, along with a letter explaining how their background, training, and experience conform to the minimum selection criteria.
  2. A letter of recommendation and support from the applicant’s respective State/Provincial Committee on Trauma Chair must accompany the information previously referenced.

When the ACS ATLS Program Office receives all of the required documents, a National Educator faculty member and the ATLS Committee Chairperson review the application. If necessary, a National Educator interviews the applicant.

If the application is approved, the applicant and the State/Provincial Committee on Trauma Chair are notified. The applicant is then required to observe an Instructor course and begin training under the supervision of a National Educator faculty member.

Educator Training Process

As aforementioned, approved applicants are required to observe an ATLS Instructor Course, and they are expected to:

  1. Observe a National Educator during the entire course, including the precourse and postcourse faculty sessions.
  2. Assist the National Educator during the microteaching sessions.
  3. Participate in discussion sessions with the National Educator before, during, and after the course.

Upon successful completion of this process, the applicant becomes an Educator Candidate. The National Educator submits an initial evaluation of the applicant’s to-date progress to the ACS ATLS Program Office. The Course Coordinator is responsible for recording the Educator Candidate’s and National Educator’s participation as Faculty on the postcourse reports submitted to the ACS ATLS Program Office.

Monitoring the Educator Candidate

Upon successful completion of the nomination and training processes, the Educator Candidate is expected to:

  1. Serve independently as the Educator for another ATLS Instructor Course in accordance with the minimum criteria and guidelines established for the course. This teaching experience must be accomplished within 1 year of the Candidate’s training.

    This includes participating in the precourse and postcourse faculty meetings, and demonstrating prescribed lecture, skills, and group discussion techniques. The Candidate may serve in this role twice.
  2. Be monitored and evaluated by National Educator Faculty, National Faculty, or Regional Faculty according to prescribed evaluation criteria. A written evaluation of the Candidate’s performance is provided to the ACS ATLS Program Office and the Course Director. This evaluation includes a recommendation to elevate the Candidate to Educator status, monitor the Candidate during one more Instructor Course, or not elevate the Candidate. After successfully completing the first or second monitoring phase, the Candidate is considered an approved ATLS Educator and receives a letter to that effect from the ACS ATLS Program Office. A copy of this letter is forwarded to the Educator’s State/Provincial Committee on Trauma Chair. The Course Coordinator is responsible for recording the Educator Candidate’s, National Educator’s, and/or National or Regional Faculty member’s participation as faculty on postcourse reports submitted to the ACS ATLS Program Office.

    Upon successful completion of all nomination, training, and monitoring phases, Educator Candidates are elevated to full Educator status and their names are added to the list of approved ATLS Educators in the ACS ATLS Program Office.


ATLS Educators wishing to maintain an active status in the ATLS Program are required to reverify their status every 4 years.