WHATS THE PATH TO AIR MEDIC

JRod92

Forum Ride Along
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Hey guys I think the title is pretty self explanatory. Is there any flight medics that can guide a young Green banana of a EMT.
After Paramedic school...How do you go about starting to prep for Flight Medic?? Is there additional schooling?
How long??
From Paramedic year 1 to Flight Medic what is the Average time?? Thanks Guys. I love this Group btw
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
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You need time in a busy 911 system, but you still need to be competitive on top of that. Most medics will have many advanced classes or certifications in critical care, trauma, burns, etc. A good flight program is going to require at least 5 years of good medic experience before considering the candidate.
 

Bishop2047

Forum Crew Member
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If at all possible get some experience in an ER. This will get you ultra familiar with devices commonly used in the aeromedical world. I know 2 years of ER experience put me ahead of a lot of other applicants. Also helps with things like X-Ray interpretation, ultrasound courses, and all sorts of other things out of your scope, but an understanding of these things really will help you talk the talk.

Best of luck, it is pretty neat and something I NEVER wanted to do when I finished my Advance Care Paramedic (Canada), but I love it now.
 

GMCmedic

Forum Asst. Chief
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405
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Get experience in a busy 911 system. It took me just shy of 5 years to get hired, but results may vary, I was hired the first time I applied.


In my opinion the following is the most important part:
Don't get sucked into the negative mindset, dont bad mouth your patients, dont bad mouth other EMS, nurses, CNAs, Doctors, etc. Build a good reputation for yourself, taking care of patients is easy, most of the job is good PR.

Some base knowledge in critical care is helpful but I wouldnt pay to take the FP-C, most places are going to reimburse you. Not only is it expensive to get, it is expensive to maintain. Focus on alphabet certifications PALS, ACLS, PHTLS, NRP, etc etc. Being an instructor in many of those courses is typically pretty helpful also.
 

joshrunkle35

EMT-P/RN
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It's really going to depend on what part of the country you are in. In some places, I've heard of people who have 2-3 year experience in a slow, rural 911 system as a paramedic and get on to a flight crew without any additional certifications. In other parts, people have a decade of busy 911 experience, might be an RN and a Paramedic, have advanced critical care certifications and experience and have their FP-C and still have a difficult time getting a job.

Education and experience will alway be beneficial for your patients. Take as much schooling as you can and get the best experience you can and then try to meet people in your area who are on flight crews and ask them what they did.
 

FiremanMike

EMS Coordinator
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In all seriousness, here's my advice.

1. Put flight out of your mind right now. It can stay as a long term goal, but your immediate goal is completing medic school, actually understanding/retaining the material, and doing well in class.

2. Get on an EMS or Fire/EMS department (as long as they do patient transport) and start working on applying the knowledge you gained in medic school. This is where putting flight out of your head comes into play. If you get on your department and all you can think about is the rotor blades, you're going to be miserable at work and miserable to work with. Your goal is to become a good paramedic during this phase.

3. You will start to get exposure to flight crews in your area. Don't be a tool around them. Be respectful without obsessing. Make friends without sucking up. Just be a normal dude (or dudette?) and start building a reputation of being a GOOD MEDIC.

4. As mentioned in my previous post, it doesn't hurt to work in a department where the programs are trying to capture flights. I have seen with my own eyes candidates being disregarded for rotor jobs because they work in a city department with short transport times and zero aircraft requests. If your full time job is with an urban department, get a part time job in a rural department. This goes beyond politics, as scene flights are more similar to rural EMS in their approach than urban.

5. Stay up to date on EMS trends, don't be stagnant in your intelligence.

6. An RN license and RN experience on top of a paramedic card and 911 EMS experience would put you in a very small cohort and would exponentially increase your odds of being hired.

No matter what.. this is not a short process, nor should it be. Despite the fact that rotor EMS has become a bit of a political chess game and has somewhat parted ways from only hiring the folks in the region known far and wide as being EMS gods, you still owe it to your patients and partners to be at the very top of your game.

FWIW, when I finally got hired to a flight company on their ground unit, I had been working paid for 14 years in 911, 12 of which were with an extremely busy urban department, with 8 years of experience as an active EMS Instructor, and frankly I only got that shot because one of their long time flight medics (who was hired back in the day when you had to be a known commodity) vouched and pushed for me. I worked there 8 months and then went to a different company on the helicopter where I worked for 2 years before quitting to focus on an admin position at my FD. I miss flying almost every day, but my 40hr schedule just won't allow it..
 

Akulahawk

EMT-P/ED RN
Community Leader
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839
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Disclaimer: I'm not a flightmedic or RN... but I have been around the business for YEARS, just over 20. If becoming a flight medic or flight RN is your end goal, you absolutely should follow firemanmike's advice. Flight is a very small community, compared to EMS in general. In general, you are going to want to be seen as teachable, approachable, and a very SOLID medic or RN, with experience. If you end up having GOOD and CURRENT experience in both areas, you'll be in a much smaller group of applicants. In any event, you absolutely want to have a great reputation because it's not YOU that will end up getting you "the job" it's the people that will be asked about you that basically gets you the job. Stellar ability but crappy attitude = no flight gig. Solid knowledge/skills (even if not perfect) + teachable/coachable/very approachable = much more likely to get flight gig.

Only part of that stuff they can teach you. Other stuff... they can't.

Best of luck and it's gonna be a LONG road to there. The journey may even take you down roads you didn't even realize existed!
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Lieutenant
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If you can, go with the Air National Guard or Air force Reserve as Aeromedical Evacuation Technician or a Pararescue. The others is with the Us Army as a 68W Combat medic and get training with Aeromedical evac units. One example is become a PJ and here's an example,
 

FiremanMike

EMS Coordinator
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That's true, but understand that Pararescue is special forces which is astronomically difficult to attain. It's not really a realistic path for the overwhelming majority of us.
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Lieutenant
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That's true, but understand that Pararescue is special forces which is astronomically difficult to attain. It's not really a realistic path for the overwhelming majority of us.
True but if you become a Pararescue, your the top dog in the EMS world.
 

medichopeful

Flight nurse, ground paramedic
1,814
204
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Hey guys I think the title is pretty self explanatory. Is there any flight medics that can guide a young Green banana of a EMT.
After Paramedic school...How do you go about starting to prep for Flight Medic?? Is there additional schooling?
How long??
From Paramedic year 1 to Flight Medic what is the Average time?? Thanks Guys. I love this Group btw
Flight nurse here (rotor wing, hospital based), so take my advice for what it is worth. I have my paramedic as well, but I was hired as a flight RN so my path was a little different than yours will be.

The minimum time to be hired as a flight medic is going to be 3-5 years of busy experience, preferably doing 911 in a system that does RSI. I know medics who have worked at urban systems and rural systems that have been hired for flight, so the actual location you work in doesn't matter as much as your experience. After you get 3-5 years you'll be hire-able, but not necessarily marketable. In order to be marketable, I suggest you do the following:

-Get involved in teaching
-Start going to conferences and networking. I can't say how important networking is
-Start listening to podcasts, reading books, and getting involved in online discussions. Show that you really have the thirst for knowledge
-Look at doing ride-alongs with your local flight programs to get your foot in the door
-Seriously consider getting your RN, and getting some critical care experience
-If possible, do critical care IFTs as a paramedic in addition to your 911 experience
-Have a good attitude, admit when you don't know something, and make sure you put safety before everything else

The most important thing is to always look to self-improve, and to admit when you don't know something or when you might be out of your league. Get familiar with medications and you don't use often, such as pressors, insulin drips, etc.

Becoming a flight provider isn't easy, and that's a good thing. We're tasked with transporting some of the sickest patients in the state with very limited space and resources. You'll need to have a good, solid foundation to build on when you start in flight, otherwise you'll be bound to fail.

It's an attainable goal, but just realize that it will take you a while to attain it.

For your knowledge, my path to becoming a flight nurse took about 5 years. During those 5 years, I gained experience in ER nursing, ICU nursing at a level 1 trauma center, rapid response nursing, went to conferences, obtained my paramedic and began working part time in a busy, urban EMS system that does RSI (which I still do as my "vacation job"), and obtained my CCRN, CEN, and CFRN, along with a bunch of other certifications that they wanted to see.

It's doable, but just know what you are getting into. That being said, I think it's one of the best jobs in the world.

Best of luck! If I can be of any assistance just let me know!
 

VFlutter

Flight Nurse
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True but if you become a Pararescue, your the top dog in the EMS world.
Appreciate the enthusiasm for the military however it is just not comparable to civilian HEMS. AE is primarly transport of stable patients with little to no interventions. AE Techs are not trained at the medic level. PJs are technical rescue experts and solid medical providers at the paramedic level but to call them "Top dog in the EMS world" is a little disparaging to both sides of the fence.

There is a reason Air Force AE/CCATT units rely heavily on reservists with civilian critical care jobs...
 

CCCSD

Forum Captain
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216
43
If you can, go with the Air National Guard or Air force Reserve as Aeromedical Evacuation Technician or a Pararescue. The others is with the Us Army as a 68W Combat medic and get training with Aeromedical evac units. One example is become a PJ and here's an example,
Army Air Medevac units are EXTREMELY hard to get into. It’s not an EMT walk in with zero experience.
 

VentMonkey

k’uhul ajaw
Premium Member
4,765
3,872
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Agreed with @VFlutter, apples and oranges.

OP, if your goal is to become a civilian HEMS provider follow the advice of those on here who’ve posted as such.
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Lieutenant
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Then again, if your goal is to be a Flight Nurse or Flight Medic, Going Air National Guard or Air force reserves is one option and look for Aeromedical Evacuation units.

Here's an example;

Here's what the Job entails

Here's a good example;
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Lieutenant
118
12
18
Army Air Medevac units are EXTREMELY hard to get into. It’s not an EMT walk in with zero experience.
Active Army maybe impossible, but Army National Guard or Army reserve Medevac units, is possible.
 

jgmedic

Fire Truck Driver
540
57
28
Active Army maybe impossible, but Army National Guard or Army reserve Medevac units, is possible.
Possible, yes, easy, no. I had some early talks with an ARNG dustoff unit out of Mather up in SAC. They were uninterested in anyone with less than 5 years of busy 911 paramedic system experience, not to mention, if you weren't local, their unit recruiter really tried to dissuade you due to their increased training regimen, this was not your one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year deal.
 

Kavsuvb

Forum Lieutenant
118
12
18
Possible, yes, easy, no. I had some early talks with an ARNG dustoff unit out of Mather up in SAC. They were uninterested in anyone with less than 5 years of busy 911 paramedic system experience, not to mention, if you weren't local, their unit recruiter really tried to dissuade you due to their increased training regimen, this was not your one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year deal.
It really Depends on what ARNG or Army reserve Unit. The Air Force reserve and Air National Guard is a whole other matter as well
 

CCCSD

Forum Captain
385
216
43
Active Army maybe impossible, but Army National Guard or Army reserve Medevac units, is possible.
Since I served with a Coastie who was a FF Paramedic who transferred to the Army Reserve as an Air Medic, I am qualified to make that statement as I have direct knowledge of the difficult process he went through, including the requirements.

You are an AUXILIARY member, who volunteers to help out the Gold Side in a limited capacity. You have not served in the CG, so your knowledge level of input is limited.

Please be careful about speaking of things that you only know about by watching YouTube videos. Spreading bad googe is not helping anyone, nor does it serve to create a professional aura. I am not the only one who has mentioned this.
 
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