ATLS® Student Course

Program Overview

The Advanced Trauma Life Support® Student Course is designed to teach the physician life-saving skills and a standardized approach to trauma care in the first hour following a trauma incident. These courses are sponsored by the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma and the Michigan Committee on Trauma. They are jointly presented by the Department of Surgery Division of Acute Care Surgery.


Surgeons, emergency physicians, and other physicians involved in emergency care of injured persons are encouraged to take this course. Upon successful completion of the ATLS® course, the participant is able to: 

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, principles, skills, and techniques used in initial management of the trauma patient.
  • Establish management priorities in trauma situations.
  • Initiate the primary and secondary management necessary for acute life-threatening emergencies within the first hour of care.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the assessment and management skills necessary for the initial care of trauma victims in a simulated clinical setting.

The University of Michigan's exceptional facilities, particularly for teaching surgical skills, gives us the opportunity to go beyond normal content for students who are interested. We attract a diverse array of students from many specialties and geographic locations, and have high expectations for our students. We maintain high standards for course completion.


The ATLS® Student Course is conducted over two days, from 7 am to 6 pm each day. The course combines didactic lectures and practical skills stations, which allow the participant time to learn and perfect skills in the initial assessment, management, and stabilization of trauma patients. Physicians whose ATLS® verification status has expired and/or who are not active in trauma care should take a Student Course. Those with current ATLS® verification who are active in trauma care may wish to take a Refresher Course.

Target Audience

Course content is appropriate for surgeons and emergency department personnel and physician extenders involved in the care of the actively injured patient. 


Practical Skills Stations Include:

  • Surgical Skill Practicum
  • Cricothyroidotomy
  • Venous Cut-Down
  • Diagnostic Peritoneal Lavage
  • Needle Thoracentesis
  • Chest Tube Insertion
  • Pericardiocentesis
  • Airway and Ventilatory Management
  • Assessment and Management of Shock
  • X-ray Identification of Thoracic Injuries
  • Head and Neck Trauma Assessment/Management
  • Spinal Cord Injury Assessment/Management
  • Assessment/Management of Musculoskeletal Trauma
  • Initial Assessment Skills Practice/Test
  • Written Test

Course Lectures Include:

  • Course Overview
  • Initial Assessment
  • Airway and Ventilatory Management
  • Shock
  • Thoracic Trauma
  • Abdominal Trauma
  • Head Trauma
  • Spine and Spinal Cord Trauma
  • Musculoskeletal Trauma
  • Injury Due to Burns and Cold
  • Extremes of Age
  • Pediatric Trauma
  • Trauma in Elderly
  • Trauma in Women
  • Transport to Definitive Care


The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The American College of Surgeons designates this educational activity for a maximum of 17 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Approved by the American College of Emergency Physicians for up to 17 Category 1 credits (1 hour = 1 credit).

Contact Us

For more details on upcoming courses, fees, and how to register, please contact the UMHS ATLS Course office.