How to Become a Flight Paramedic

Just like ground paramedics that come with ambulances, flight paramedics play a crucial role as part of a medical team that stabilize patients being transported by helicopters to a hospital during emergency situations.  It’s a demanding profession and if you plan to become one, here’s what you need to do

Step 1:  Before or after obtaining your high school diploma, take a CPR (Cardiopulmonary resuscitation) class which is considered a pre-requisite to getting into a paramedical course.  You can also take BLS (Basic Life Support) and AED (Adult Emergency Defibrillation) to increase your knowledge.

Step 2:  You can start your formal paramedic career by first becoming an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician).  You need to enroll and complete an EMT basic course which usually takes just a semester in a community college.

Step 3:   All states require EMT certification that recognizes three training levels as of 2009, Basic EMT, Advanced EMT (replacing EMT-Intermediate 1985) and finally, Paramedic (replacing a combined EMT-Intermediate 1999 and EMT-Paramedic).  Take the certification exam corresponding to your training level from the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) which administers the licensure according to the guidelines of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

flight paramedic

Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59359901@N05/7705877438/

Step 4:   Get yourself employed in a hospital’s paramedic or emergency ward to gain at least one year of experience before proceeding to obtain the subsequent EMT intermediate training levels.
Step 5:  Complete your EMT coursework to obtain an associate degree in EMT-Paramedic and become certified as a Nationally Registered Paramedic. This should land you a job as a field paramedic in a 911-accredited response company.

Step 6:  You need at least 5 years of experience as a field or ground paramedic before you can become eligible to apply as a flight paramedic.   In the meantime, you could opt to complete a bachelor’s degree in Emergency Medicine as the application to be a flight paramedic can be quite competitive.

Step 7:  You need to pass a certification exam as a Flight Paramedic-Certified (FP-C) or a less difficult Critical Care Emergency Medical Transport Program certification administered by the Board of Critical Care Transport Paramedic Certification (BCCTPC).  Your paramedic license should be current when taking any of these certifications.
Apart from completing the coursework and accumulating the required experience level, you need to have the innate ability to think, respond and decide well under pressure. Having excellent communication and interpersonal skills under a crisis situation is a great asset.

Comments

  1. @tuesday_rn says:

    This is definitely one of the fields a nurse like me can go and enjoy. Flight Paramedic could be an alternative to the never ending routine work we use to have as nurses in the ward. I have seen a field like this when I was trained in Thailand a few years ago and they call it aviation nursing. It requires a lot of training and efficiency when it comes to skills and endurance. It is good that somehow this field was given importance through this blog. Not everybody is aware of this kind of job. Quite dangerous but must be truly fulfilling for medical and health practitioners.

  2. Being a paramedic is my dream during high school days I was able to attend training on BLS Basic Life Support which I gain knowledge how to save people.Rescuing the live’s of others is not easy task to do you will risk your life for the others to live.
    Even I am not a nurse or in the field of this, this kind job definitely enjoy to save others. If you have skills like this then try to do so. Well Flight Paramedics need have the knowledge about aviation, the rules, and how to become more effective about this kind of job because you caring the life of others to survive.

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