FP-C

HH1251

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How long does one need to wait to take FP-C? A few people I've talked to make it sound like you need to be a medic for decades to take and pass others say not that long. So how long is long enough?
 

zacdav89

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There is no set time to wait to take your FP-C. You can take it any time so long as your certified as a paramedic. That being said it's up to you as to how much you understand the concepts on the test as most were not covered during your paramedic education. Look at the programs around you to see what they require for prehospital experience for being hired. I would use that to judge when you should pay the fees and take the test. You can start preparing anytime by self study or taking any of the prepitory courses to get a grasp on the new concepts. I enjoyed the flight bridge ed podcasts and review course.
 

DesertMedic66

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How long does one need to wait to take FP-C? A few people I've talked to make it sound like you need to be a medic for decades to take and pass others say not that long. So how long is long enough?
The majority of paramedic programs/schools will not give you the information needed to pass the FP-C without a decent amount of self study.

With that being said it is very possible for a medic to pass it pretty much right out of medic school or only a couple of months of working.

When I took it I was right around 2.5 years of working as a medic and I am a ground 911 paramedic in a very restrictive state. We don’t do RSI, ventilated patients, surgical crics, chest tubes, and have a very very restrictive drug list for us to administer.
 

CANMAN

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I would also be honest with yourself as to why you are taking the exam, and what you're looking to do with it. Unfortunately the FP-C exam and certification has become nothing more then another alphabet soup set of letters to add to the resume. It used to be the standard, coupled with someone's resume, to evaluate people's experience levels and wasn't a test most people took with only a year or two of general Paramedic experience under their belt. Now you have people 6 months out of Paramedic school rushing to sign up for the exam and alot of the value has been stripped out of it in my opinion. When I took the test 10 years ago I was #1392, now we are up to almost 9k people...... In my opinion it's a test that SHOULD be coupled with the clinical and resume experience to backup the verification of knowledge, otherwise you're just a good test taker....

I don't know what your background is or motives are, but if you're looking to break into the critical care transport arena then I would say hold off for a bit and work in the industry for a while before taking the exam. Same applies if you're looking to get into HEMS. If I'm sitting on a hiring committee comparing applicants and person A: has 5 years of progressive EMS or CCT time under their belt and no FP-C vs. person B: has 3 years and their FP-C, I'm likely going to pick person A if their interview and clinical portion are equally matched. People who have been in the industry a while and review applicants can tell based off a resume who are alphabet soup guys vs. who actually is the real deal when it comes to rubber meeting the road with knowledge AND the experience. There are so many forums and FB groups now a days of people looking for "the quickest way to get to X" or "the quickest way to bridge from RN to Paramedic" and it's really frustrating.

Not trying to discourage you in the least, and I applaud anyone seeking additional knowledge, review, and a challenge. Just understand it's not the end all be all for the industry and critical care in general, and they're are plenty of FP-C's that are worthless as t*ts on a tomcat when it's their time to shine. Feel free to ask any additional questions if you're looking for some direction and good luck if you end up taking the test.
 

VFlutter

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I wish more advanced certs required verified practice hours prior to applying for the exam. Unfortunately, that takes time and money for the company which likely just wants as many candidates to test as possible.

Like stated above, you can study and pass most exams without much experience but it really doesn't mean much without the experience to back it up. It may make you stand out and help land an interview, which isn't a bad thing, but you will quickly get burned if you aren't competent.
 

Phillyrube

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The system I started with, waaaaay back in 1975, required you to have AFC Advanced First Aid, then ride the box for 1 year. AFC!! Wow, I had that in 1968. I was almost a doctor. Then, your peers in the squad nominated you for EMT class. Free training, so only the best went to it. Once you were an EMT, 2 years on the box. Then, your ALS peers nominated you for cardiac tech training. More free training. No paramedics yet. 2 years as a CT, and then you would again be nominated by your peers for PM school. You guessed it, all free. Only the best went there. When all hell breaks loose, EMTs call for ALS. Got a problem moving a patient? EMTs call ALS.

Now, the benefits. Going into EMT, you had a good solid grasp of the basics. You could splint and backboard like Macgyver. EMT gave you the medical whys. Going into the ALS side, you had a well trained EMT. Ever hear the joke about what do you call the guy who graduates last in his med school class, and does'nt get an internship? Doctor. Same as medics.

Yea yea, I'm a dinosaur. Get off my lawn! I just don't think the 6 month "zero to hero" route is good. Take away the velcro splints and most EMTs are lost. I did some fancy splinting using boards, cravats, pillows, sheets, and new guys would look at me like I had a third eye. Ask the patient does it hurt? No, it feels good. Nuff said!

I congratulate you on your aspirations. Be the best medic you can. Remember, when all hell breaks loose, EMTs call ALS. When it gets real bad, ALS calls for the helo. You're the guy who has to be the ultimate problem solver. Get the experience. Take a wilderness first aid class. Lots of great improvisation needed there.

Carry on, boys.
 

CIRUS454

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It used to be the standard, coupled with someone's resume, to evaluate people's experience levels and wasn't a test most people took with only a year or two of general Paramedic experience under their belt. Now you have people 6 months out of Paramedic school rushing to sign up for the exam and alot of the value has been stripped out of it in my opinion. When I took the test 10 years ago I was #1392, now we are up to almost 9k people...... In my opinion it's a test that SHOULD be coupled with the clinical and resume experience to backup the verification of knowledge, otherwise you're just a good test taker....

I didn't want to quote your whole reply but WOW. Your reply is dead on the money!!!!! When I took my Critical Care Paramedic at University of Florida back in 2013, there were like 4-5 Paramedics that had less than a year experience under there belt. The company that was sponsoring them fibbed on there experience to get them in the class and the Program Director could tell and was furious. Anyways. They all ended up taking the FP-C like 3-4 weeks after graduating from the class and all of them passed on the first try. I was like " WoW!!!!! I have almost 20 years in Fire/EMS, 15 as a Medic, and these young punks now have a Specialty Cert that will probably help them get an interview with a Flight Program over me when they get enough experience????? " But like you said above. Experienced hiring boards should know the difference between a seasoned Medic w/o FP-C over a newbie with FP-C that is just a good test taker.
 

DesertMedic66

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Experienced hiring boards should know the difference between a seasoned Medic w/o FP-C over a newbie with FP-C that is just a good test taker.
It really depends on how you look at it. Someone that already has FP-C can be viewed as outgoing and willing to go the extra mile vs someone without FP-C. Someone with experience can be viewed as comfortable/confident in their skills or someone who has repeated 1 year of experience over 20 years with no advancement and no drive.
 

StCEMT

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They all ended up taking the FP-C like 3-4 weeks after graduating from the class and all of them passed on the first try. I was like " WoW!!!!! I have almost 20 years in Fire/EMS, 15 as a Medic, and these young punks now have a Specialty Cert that will probably help them get an interview with a Flight Program over me when they get enough experience????? "

I agree with getting experience before truly diving into the world of critical care. There is a lot of knowledge that is necessary, no argument there and I've seen it go both ways multiple times this year where I work with new vs experienced providers.

However, I will throw out some contradictory points as a young punk (had to ;))with a couple years under my belt just to play devil's advocate. See the highlighted bits above.

At 1 year, they aren't going to get picked up by a flight service. BUT! They furthered their education, which is commendable. Not only that, they passed a tough test on their first try, so clearly they came out as smarter providers which is better for their patients. Does it "cheapen" the FP-C? Maybe. But I understand the desire to know more as I am currently in the UF CCP course myself.

Second. Why shouldnt they get an interview over you? Your words were "when they get enough experience", which as far as I see, means they are just as qualified as you? I've disagreed with or overruled my supervisors on calls I've ran because I knew WHY what I did/didn't do or wanted them to do/not do was appropriate. They have done this longer than me, but that doesn't mean they are doing things the best way. Some examples for specificity include not going straight to pacing a bradycardic/hypotensive pt with a K of 8.5+ and obvious EKG changes, not dumping 1-2L of saline into traumas, or not allowing compressions to be stopped for intubation. All things I've done contrary to people who have done this longer than me.
 

VentMonkey

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WoW!!!!! I have almost 20 years in Fire/EMS, 15 as a Medic, and these young punks now have a Specialty Cert that will probably help them get an interview with a Flight Program over me when they get enough experience?????
This post honestly just makes you sound egregiously bitter. I think @StCEMT proves your point (or mine) quite well.
 

CIRUS454

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This post honestly just makes you sound egregiously bitter. I think @StCEMT proves your point (or mine) quite well.

Sorry that you think I am bitter. By no means am I nor do I have a reason to be. I was merely remembering what went through my head almost 5 years ago in a joking sense of how I felt when I found out they passed. This is a great example on how typed words can be taken the wrong way.
 

StCEMT

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It's all good dude. Like I said, I don't entirely disagree with you, I can think of at least 1 person I work with that fits your concern rather well. Just bringing up the other side of thr spectrum. However, there are parts of what you said that actually are points of bitternessfor some. I have heard the "I've done this for x years" before which means **** all to me if they back it with the 1x20 way of thinking Desert made.
 

VFlutter

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Specialty certifications are a great way to learn new things, show a willingness to put in extra effort, and may land you an interview. Having said that, those with the certifcation and not the prerequisite experience who try to fluff it quickly get rooted out either in the interview or when they fail during orientation.
 

DrParasite

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WoW!!!!! I have almost 20 years in Fire/EMS, 15 as a Medic, and these young punks now have a Specialty Cert that will probably help them get an interview with a Flight Program over me when they get enough experience????? " But like you said above. Experienced hiring boards should know the difference between a seasoned Medic w/o FP-C over a newbie with FP-C that is just a good test taker.
So what's your issue? that they sat through the same class as you, absorbed the same amount (or more, idk) of information, and retained it well enough to pass the exam? Maybe the exam demonstrates that you DON'T need 20 years of experience to actually pass the exam, provided you do the reading, pay attention in class, and can comprehend what is taught?

This line of thinking drives me nuts about EMS: the longer you have been doing it, the more school you have the better you are. That isn't how it works in much of the rest of healthcare: all nurses take the NCLEX, regardless of if they have completed a diploma program, ASN or BSN (and likely a MSN if they weren't a nurse previously, I don't really know), at the end of they, if you pass, your an RN. If you go to PA school, they used to have associates level programs (last i checked, around 10 years ago, so they likely don't exist anymore), BS programs (which were fading fast), and the masters level programs, at the end of the day, they all take the PA-C exam. So if they have the minimum level of competency to pass the exam, does it matter how long their schooling is, or how much experience they have prior?

Disclaimer: I have never taken any of those exams, nor will I ever take the FP-C exam. And I also agree that the cert without the experience will likely not result in you getting hired for a job.
 

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