Category Archives: Qualifications

Why Higher Education could Make You a Better Air Ambulance Service Paramedic

An associate degree or a certificate with the relevant certification and training is usually enough for a person to qualify as an air ambulance paramedic. And people who do hold this position are highly-trained and professional. They have the expertise and the knowledge required to carry out their duties. But having a higher education is ideal to secure your job as a paramedic for an air ambulance service.

Benefits of Higher Education to Work for an Air Ambulance Service

There are many air ambulance paramedics out there who are perfectly capable of carrying out their duties despite only fulfilling the minimum education requirement. However, a higher education is ideal to better perform your duties because of the following reasons:

  • Better comprehension – In your training to become an air ambulance paramedic, you will be covering plenty of text books and course books to help you learn the basics. And when you have a higher degree, there’s a better chance of you understanding what these books are saying. Although most paramedic students will be able to read the books, students who have a low grade level reading skill might find it more challenging to comprehend the study course.
  • Better ability to make rational decision – Being a paramedic for an air ambulance service requires rational thinking, which will lead to rational decision making. For this, you need to train your brain to logically work through difficult situations and problems.

    Courses in math and accounting can help with this and if you have a higher education, it’s likely that you would have gotten through such courses. So you will be able to easily make accurate drug calculations, time and distance calculations, etc.

  • Better ability to handle complexities in paramedicine – A higher education also improves your chances of understanding changes and revolutions in paramedicine. It could help you gain a better understanding of complex pathophysiology, anatomy, and physiology.

How to Become an Airambulance Physician?

Airambulance industry is growing at a rapid pace today and is a great career option for those who are in the medical profession. Doctors who have great problem-solving skills and quick wits are considered ideal for the job. Of course, there is also a sense of adventure involved in rescuing people stranded in tough conditions. The basic aspects such as being licensed and authorized in the state where the doctor practices are a must. Apart from that, there are certain other aspects that are vital to be an airambulance physician.

Being Within Reach during Airambulance Emergency

The job of an airambulance physician knows no time. Although most doctors are accustomed to emergencies, being constantly on call is not everyone’s cup of tea. Most airambulance companies demand that the flight physician stays within a radius of 2 hours from the base.

The job also requires dedication as the physician may have to attend periodic educational sessions and also constantly demonstrate expertise and experience pertaining to modern prehospital care as well as hospital care. The airambulance doctor might also be asked to take responsibility of quality maintenance.

Necessary Qualifications to be an Airambulance Physician

The physician must attend aviation physiology course in accordance to the Department of Transportation standards. This also mandates attendance once every three years. Most companies demand that the following certifications must be valid at all times.

Then there are optional ones such as:

However, it should be noted that the requirements may wary from one airambulance service provider to another. Also, there are separate set of certifications for pediatric doctors and neonatal doctors who wish to be airambulance physicians. While some companies might ask for prior experience, it’s not hard to find an airambulance company that hires experienced and certified doctors who have no prior experience as airambulance doctors.

Career as Air Ambulance Transport Nurse

Nursing is a profession that demands passion and the compassion to care. While salaries are not always the best, the job satisfaction is always high as nurses are closely involved in making the lives of those they touch better. If you choose to be an air ambulance transport nurse, your professional life is, no doubt, going to be exciting. Administering medical care on airlifted patients warrants certain specific skill sets. Let’s first discuss the salaries of air ambulance transport nurses.

Salaries of Air Ambulance Transport Nurses

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses, on an average, earned $67,930 per annum. The top 10% of this group earned in excess of 94,720 while the bottom 10% earned less than $45,040. Looking specifically at the salaries earned by Air ambulance transport nurses, the salaries varied between $66,560 and $70,500 in 2011; this is in accordance with the data collected by University of Washington.

Outlook for Air Ambulance Transport Nursing as a Career

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects excellent demand for nurses in general. The employment growth is slated to hover around 26% until 2020. This growth is excellent and almost twice the projected pace of growth (14%) of all occupations in the United States.

Education of Air Ambulance Transport Nurses

As per Discover Nursing, air ambulance transport nurses need to be RN (registered nurses) first before venturing into air rescues. To become an RN one needs to opt among the following three choices:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Associate degree in nursing
  • Nursing diploma

The next step is to clear National Council Licensure Examination for RN. The employers may demand additional certifications based on the demand of the job. They might expect the air ambulance transport nurse to be:

  • Certified flight registered nurse
  • Emergency medical technician-paramedic
  • Emergency medical technician-basic

To be “certified” flight nurse, one needs to work as a flight nurse for at least two years according to Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing. Working in critical care and emergency units is considered an added advantage for better employment opportunities.

Flag of Texas

Compliance Norms for Texas Air Ambulance Service Providers

Just because an aircraft is willing to transport a patient, it does not count as an air ambulance service, in any state of the US. Here, we discuss a few rules that have been laid down by Emergency Health Care Act. We discuss only such parts of the act that pertain to air ambulance service providers in the state of Texas. The rules may vary slightly for other states, but you would get the overall picture here.

Air Ambulance Service – What Constitutes Specialized Emergency Service

The vehicle must be specifically designed to carry the injured or sick by air. Also, all equipments necessary for transportation of the patient must be provided by the air ambulance service.

Any air ambulance service that claims to offer specialized transportation services must be licensed by the Department of State Health Services. This includes the aircraft as well as the staff involved. Even the air ambulance service providers flying into Texas from other states must be licensed by the Department of State Health Services and must be in compliance with the safety norms prescribed by it. Out of state providers must be accredited by Committee on Air Ambulance Medical Services. They would be considered to be in compliance with the Department’s norms if accredited.

The Location of the Air Ambulance Service

All advertisements of the air ambulance service provider must contain its physical address in the state. If the service operates from multiple locations, it is free to advertise them. If an out of state air ambulance service advertises within Texas, it must have at least one base in the state.

There is, however, one exclusion to state licensing. Any air transportation provider can offer voluntary service out of compassion without the expectation of remuneration and bear all the costs of transport. However, the company must be in compliance as a regular air transportation service provider.

US air ambulance pilot

Guide to Become a US Air Ambulance Pilot

Every year over 400 thousand rescue operations take place employing air ambulance choppers and the numbers are only increasing. There also has been a surge of private players in the air ambulance industry, which has led to a whopping demand for air ambulance pilots. If you have a flare for flying and a heart to serve the needy, career as air ambulance pilot is right for you. Here, we discuss the path to become an air ambulance pilot.

Air ambulance companies demand that you have the requisite education

No company will employ you unless you have at least 2 years of college education, most prefer a 4-year degree. Veer towards subjects like aeronautical engineering and physics for your major.

US air ambulance companies will ask you for a second-class certificate

This is a medical certificate that clears you to train and fly as a commercial pilot. You can get this through an Aviation Medical Examiner. To find one, visit the FAA website.

Attend a flight school

Ensure that you attend one that has been certified by FAA. Alternatively, you can also train under an instructor who has been certified by FAA. People who have served in the military and have enough flight hours under their belt are exempted from this.

Instrument training to fly air ambulances

As a US air ambulance pilot, you might have to fly in tough weather conditions. This also involves flying using instruments when visibility is low. You will have to garner a total of 40 hours of instrument training.

Gain experience and flight hours

Most air ambulance companies will demand that you have a minimum of 1000 hours of flight experience. While training for these many hours can be expensive, an easier alternative is to join an aviation school as an instructor.

You are all set to apply to become an air ambulance pilot

You are now free to apply for an air ambulance job in the market. With so many US air ambulance companies already existing, you are sure to land a job pretty quickly.

What is the accreditation process for medical transport services?

Accreditation begins with an application form. The form indicates the service’s intentions to complete the process. The service then receives a Program Information Form (PIF). The PIF consists of a demographic section, a list of bases and a self-evaluation of the service, based on the CAMTS Standards. Response to the PIF self-study also requires attachments that include policies, education materials, quality management and safety processes. The PIF and attachments are submitted electronically within a year of applying for accreditation.

Once the PIF is complete and returned to the CAMTS office, it is reviewed by the CAMTS staff for completeness and sent to two Board members who will review contents for completeness and for additional questions that they document for the site surveyors. Site surveyors are then appointed, based on their experience and background related to the type of service (air/ground; fixed/rotor; critical care, ALS/BLS ground, etc.) they will visit.

The site visit is then scheduled at a time agreeable to both the service and site surveyors and at least 1 month prior to a Board of Directors meeting in order to be placed on the agenda for an accreditation decision. Once onsite the surveyors will conduct a series of interviews of personnel, look at training records, quality improvement programs, safety policies, etc. Their comments and observations are documented for the two Board members who present the program anonymously to the full Board. The programs are always presented by a six digit number – proper names and specific locations are not known by the full Board. If a Board member has a conflict of interest – he or she is excused while the program is presented and the Board deliberates.

Is there a governing body over the MedEvac Community?

There is no single “governing body” over medEvac services.  Each service is independent, or could be part of a group of similar programs.  There are however, several agencies that may have licensing or over sight for medEvac services.  For the aviation components, medEvac services must adhere to rules and regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They are also subject to periodic inspections by the FAA.

Minimal standards for reimbursement and/or licensing could also be established by third party payers (Medicare, Medicaid, managed care organizations) or by local legislation (state, county or city laws).  Most states have minimum licensing requirements for medEvac personnel and the service.

In addition, medEvac services may also follow national or regional standards.  For those services that are hospital based, if the hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHCO) or other such organizations, such as the American College of Surgeons for trauma verification, the medEvac service must also meet those minimum standards.

FAA Publishes New Air Ambulance Regulation

The agency said it reviewed about 4,000 accidents involving helicopters in the United States, of which 75 commercial helicopter accidents (88 deaths, 29 serious injuries, 42 minor injuries) and 127 helicopter air ambulance accidents (126 deaths, 50 serious injuries, 42 minor injuries) between 1994 and 2008 involved causal factors that are addressed in the proposal.

The Federal Aviation Administration published its 36-page proposed rule this past Tuesday intended to make helicopter air ambulance flights safer nationwide. The proposal will revise Part 91 visual flight rules weather minimums, require all commercial helicopters to be equipped with radio altimeters, require air ambulance flights with medical personnel aboard to be conducted under part 135 (including flight crew time limits and rest requirements), require Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning Systems (HTAWS), and require certificate holders with 10 or more helicopter air ambulances to establish operations control centers. Most of these changes fulfill NTSB recommendations made in recent years.

It says they would require training and testing on weather, navigation, flight-monitoring procedures, air traffic control procedures, aircraft systems, aircraft limitations and performance; and, more frequently, on topics specific to each certificate holder, such as aviation regulations and operations specifications, crew resource management, and the local flying area.

Along with requiring a load manifest for all part 135 operations, the proposal defines the role and training of operations control specialists for helicopter air ambulance operations. They will perform safety-sensitive functions “such as providing pre-flight weather assessment, assisting with fuel planning, alternate airport weather minima, and communicating with pilots regarding operational concerns during flight. These duties are similar to those of an aircraft dispatcher, and therefore,” the rule states, “operations control specialists would be subject to the restrictions on drug and alcohol use, and to a certificate holder’s drug and alcohol testing program as described in 14 CFR part 120.”

FAA estimated the proposal will cost the industry $225 million and yield benefits ranging from $83 million to $1.98 billion during a 10-year period.