How long does it take to become a flight medic


Forum Captain
I know flight nurses have to work in a hospital for a number of years, is it the same with medics having to work the road for a certain amount of time? Or is it all dependent on the company? I'm in the process of getting a job with a company that has air transportation, definitely something I'd like to do when I become a medic.


Forum Troll
For companies out here they require 5 years as a medic in a busy urban 911 system.


Old and Crappy
3-5 Years in a busy service is standard. You can get become a Flight Paramedic earlier than that, but really you should avoid it. You are going to be expected to have become very proficient in prehospital medicine and also learn critical care transport, which is really a specialty in and of itself. Depending on where you work you may be expected to function like a Critical Care Nurse. You don't want to be flying out to bad scenes without some confidence in your knowledge base and skill set.


The answer is 0 years after becoming a paramedic, there is no standardized national requirement. Even certified flight medics who hold BCCTPC certification do not have requirements. There are however recommendations, and as others have said, its normally minimum 3-5 years experience in a 911 system by employers and certification bodies. That being said, I have met people with less who have got the position.


Just a dude
CAMTS requires 3 years and most companies strive to be CAMTS compliant (which is a different discussion for a different thread). That said, there are occasionally medics hired at 3 years, but they on the far left of the bell curve in terms of number of years experience. 5-8 seems to be about the average on the folks with the least amount of experience as new hires, with 10-13 being around the mean amount of experience for new hire paramedics. (speaking for my area only)

Work at spreading your experience out... Try to get some ER time, definitely try to get some IFT time and work your way up to a MICU truck. Don't bother trying to rush it. It'll come when it's time.


Forum Asst. Chief
Here's a great post by @Remi that I bookmarked a while back. At this point, you should just focus on becoming the best EMT-B that you can.

The best and only thing that you can do now to become an attractive candidate for a position as a flight paramedic is......drum roll, please......become the best ground paramedic you can be.

Work for a progressive 911 system. Learn to be calm, respectful of everyone around, and methodical, even on the most hectic scenes and with the sickest patients. Read journals, blogs, and websites. Look things up online and in textbooks. Don't be afraid to say "I don't know". Don't be cocky or a know-it-all. Take classes that you think will help you understand and do your job better. Precept. Teach, both informally and maybe formally. Earn a 4-year degree. In a couple of years, go to work for a ground CCT service and then start this whole process over. Become the type of paramedic that other EMT's and medics love to have as a partner, that docs and nurses and firefighters and cops like to see walk through the door, and that people say about "if my wife or kid ever gets badly hurt, I hope cointosser13 gets the dispatch".....not because you know everything but because you just always do a really_good_job. That should keep you busy for 5-6 years......after you've done all that, start seriously looking into flying. But don't do these things because you think they will help you get into flying, do them so that you can get really good at what you are doing now.

HEMS programs typically look for paramedics with quality experience, who are mature as both an individual and as a clinician, who are easy to get along with, who are confident but not cocky, and who have really good customer service skills and crisis-management skills. They'll figure this out through interviews, scenarios, testing, and talking to people who know you. Some people naturally possess these "soft skills", some don't - but they are critically important - you will NOT get hired by a good program if they don't get the right impression of your personality, no matter how bad*** of a paramedic you are or how many critical care courses you've taken or how much physiology you can rattle off. Reputation is important. Many programs only hire people they know, or at least people that they know have a good reputation in their area.

Don't spend the next few years of your life focusing on becoming a flight paramedic and just checking off the boxes that you think will help you reach that end. Nothing wrong with having a goal and a plan to get there, but enjoy what you are doing now and work hard to be really good at it.



You have my stapler
I got hired for my first flight job at 4 years as a medic in a busy urban FD. I was in no way ready. My current job I started at 10 years and some change, with lots of time in rural 911, ground CCT and education. I was prepared this time around. Don't rush things.


Forum Asst. Chief
11 years as a medic, started flying at year # 6. Had both FD and critical care transport expierence concurrently throughout my whole time as a medic. I would be cautious with companies who are willing to hire minimally qualified people, because they most likely accept the minimum in all other areas as well....


Forum Deputy Chief
I was a street medic almost 11 years before I became flight. In that time, I worked in both urban and rural EMS, I worked in hospitals to "see the other side and learn", and I took every course possible offered through that opportunity. I do not mean just the ticks on the scorecard courses, I went to "routine/mundane" inservices and I picked brains every chance I got. You would absolutely be AMAZED at the knowledge some of those old crotchety battle axes have and are willing to share if you are humble, drop the ego and show genuine interest in patient care.


Forum Chief


Washed Up Paramedic/ EMT Dropout
"No literally...drop 'em or I'm cuttin' 'em off before I evaluate and get you all packaged up."

I'd probably refuse treatment and get a taxi to the hospital at that point.

...Sorry, Chimpie.


Security Officer/Dispatcher/FR
I was just speaking with my instructor about this yesterday. He said here in Minnesota it's at least 3 years. My mom was a pilot for some of her career and you would think I would love to be a flight medic but the thought of flying is not something on my list of "to-do's"


Forum Chief
I flew for the first time prn at just under 3 years. But i had beeb working for my company on the ground doing 911 as a cct medic with expanded scope and education when i started flying too. When i flew full time fixed wing it was at exactly three years as a medic


Forum Deputy Chief
What about becoming a member of the flight crew such as the pilot? What sort of aviation experience would they want (would they care much about EMS experience for a pilot?)

Carlos Danger

Forum Deputy Chief
Premium Member
What about becoming a member of the flight crew such as the pilot? What sort of aviation experience would they want (would they care much about EMS experience for a pilot?)
Common requirements are 3,000 hours of PIC time in a twin and instrument ratings.


Forum Deputy Chief
What about becoming a member of the flight crew such as the pilot? What sort of aviation experience would they want (would they care much about EMS experience for a pilot?)
Most pilots I know are former military; paying out-of-pocket for the flight time requirement would be crazy.