So your goal is to save lives by becoming a US air ambulance pilot. You might have read our previous guide on becoming an air ambulance pilot, which covered the basics of what you need to do. And you might have noticed that one of the first steps is to get the necessary education for a valid degree in order to become one. In this post, we’ll be covering a bit more detail about getting a degree to become an air ambulance pilot.
Process of Getting a Degree for US air Ambulance Pilots
If you want to become an air ambulance pilot, you don’t necessarily need a college degree. However, you’re going to need specialized training to become one. And you’ll need a valid license and a certain amount of flight hours, which may differ according to the company you’re applying to.
- Attend a flight school – In order to get your helicopter pilot’s license, you need to pass a written and an oral exam under the Federal Aviation Administration. And attending a flight school can prepare you for these tests. Ideally, you should be receiving hands-on training to prepare for the exam. But if your schedule doesn’t permit it, you can also sign up for an online course to prepare for the oral exam.
- Get the necessary licensing – If you’re planning to become a US air ambulance pilot, chances are you’ll be working for a private air ambulance company. So you will need to have a private pilot license in addition to passing the FAA exams. Plus, an air ambulance pilot needs to have a class III medical clearance.
- Receive flight training – Flight hours are also crucial for working as an air ambulance pilot. The time you spend with an instructor will also be counted as part of your flight hours. So it’s crucial that you sign up for a flight training to make sure you log the necessary hours.
You’ve been successfully certified to work as an air ambulance paramedic. And you have applied for positions at several companies. In fact, you’ve even been called for a few interviews and you want to make sure you get the job. In this post, you’re going to learn a few tips that will help you improve your chances of being hired as a medical flight paramedic. The tips could also work for anyone else who’s planning to apply for a job as an EMT or an air ambulance crew member.
Tips to Improve Your Chances of Getting Hired as a Medical Flight Paramedic
In many cases, the situation may be out of your control and you may come across an interviewer who refuses to hire you. But in most cases, you do have control over how the interviewer assesses your competence for the job. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Learn about the company – Study up on the air ambulance company that’s interviewing you. Learn about their history and management team as well as current news related to their company. The goal is to impress the interviewer with your preparedness and show them how interested you are to work with them.
- Be ready to answer most common questions – The questions interviewers ask differ from organization to organization. So you can never be prepared enough. But you should at least be prepared to answer the most common interview questions. Most interviewers will always ask questions like what your weaknesses and strengths are, why you want to work there, how you’ve handled a difficult situation, etc.
Answer these questions honestly and try to use real examples and experiences to answer them. For example, maybe you were able to get through a particularly difficult challenge during your medical flight paramedic training using your common sense. You can use this to answer the last question mentioned earlier.
In addition to this, there’s always the important rule of being presentable to make a good first impression. And always ask important questions such as the qualities of an ideal candidate for the job. This will help you gain important insights that you can use for your next interview even if you don’t get through this one.
You have a dream of working as a paramedic for air ambulances. Now you’ve completed your certification and have all the necessary qualifications to apply for your first job as one. This may be one of the biggest hurdles you face in your career. Although some basic interview tips apply here like any other job, there are a few additional things you need to do to impress your future employers.
Learn About the Agency
Having an in-depth knowledge about the air ambulance provider you’re interviewing for could be crucial for interview success. Do some background research before the interview and learn about some useful details like the company’s core values, how they raise funds, how many operations they averaged at recently, etc. So you’ll be prepared to answer some agency-related questions if they come up.
Otherwise, you can also use this information to impress the interviewer unexpectedly. For instance, they might ask you why you’re applying for a job with them and not with other air ambulances. You can tell them how your personal values coincide with the company’s core values, so it would be ideal for you to work where your values are respected.
Show your Preparedness to work as a Paramedic for Air Ambulances
Another crucial step for successful interviews is to help your prospective employer in envisioning you in the role. When you walk into the room, make sure you demonstrate the kind of command presence and attentiveness you would on an emergency call. Try your best to hide your nervousness and display confidence. Look your interviewers in the eye and make sure you start off and/or end with a firm handshake.
When answering questions, avoid using fillers and starting off with “umm” or “uhh”. Any sign displaying indecisiveness could hinder your efforts so try taking a few seconds to think about your response instead. These may all seem like small elements, but they can be crucial for helping you bag a job as an air ambulance paramedic.
With the responsibility of providing specialized emergency care to patients, air ambulances need to be staffed with the most competent and professional medical personnel. A typical air ambulance crew comprises of an air ambulance pilot, an in-flight doctor, an in-flight nurse, and a paramedic. The number of people assigned for each task may differ according to the air ambulance company and its needs.
Among the most crucial positions in an air ambulance crew is that of a critical care flight nurse, but not everyone is capable of becoming one. So read on to find out more about becoming a critical care flight nurse and see if you have what it takes to become one.
Basic Requirements to become a Critical Care Flight Nurse for Air Ambulances
Although different organizations and charities have varying requirements and standards for recruiting a critical care flight nurse, most air ambulances have the same basic requirements. You will need to check about the specific requirement set by the company you’re planning to apply at. However, take a look at the basic necessities first and see if you can proceed with your application:
- Licensed nurse with authorization to practice in that state you’re based in
- Experience in critical care or emergency medicine ER (minimum years of experience may differ according to organizations)
- High level of competency and proficiency with patient assessments
- High level of proficiency, expertise, and knowledge in transporting and caring for critically ill patients
- Ability to perform physical activities involved in performing aeromedical transport
- Good problem-solving skills with the ability to combine judgment and experience in coming up with a solution
Possession of current certifications for Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider and International Basic Trauma Life Support Provider. Some companies may also require that you possess a certification for Advanced Pediatric Life Support Provider
Not all jobs in the air ambulance industry require that you fly all the time. There are some which are performed from an office setting. Perhaps the most vital of these is the job of a medical air transport coordinator. If you are a person who loves to communicate and coordinate, then this might be the right job for you. A typical day of a medical air transport coordinator is very busy as he or she is expected to be in touch with crew, medical staff, and patients effectively when time is of essence.
What Exactly does a Medical Air Transport Coordinator Do?
As a medical air transport coordinator, you will have to coordinate care between discharging hospital, air ambulance, and the receiving facility. You might also have to make arrangements to bridge the distance between the landing area and the hospital which sometimes can be quite a bit. Apart from that you might have to act as an educator to the patient and the family on how to go about medical air transport.
Apart from these, you’ll be expected to handle coordination with insurance companies, getting prior authorizations from third parties involved, confirmation of medical necessity, solving any billing issues if they arise and so on. The list of responsibility is usually huge but the remuneration can be quite handsome once you gain enough experience in the field.
The Qualifications to Become a Medical Air Transport Coordinator
Academically a high school diploma or GED would suffice. Most medical air transport employers prefer knowledge of the service area, although being involved in air ambulance industry might not be mandatory. Experience in scheduling and customer relationship is vital. You might need EMT certification, although some companies are okay with you obtaining the certification within a stipulated time after joining. Most importantly your written and verbal skills must be excellent.
The career as a US air ambulance paramedic is both rewarding and exciting. The paramedics are expected to ride along with the patient in the aircraft providing emergency response as well as advanced life support to the patients en route the medical facility where the charge is then transferred. The job of a US air ambulance paramedic can be quite mentally stressful and physically demanding as are most jobs in this industry. Most air ambulance companies, apart from the required qualifications, also look for good physical fitness before hiring the services.
Qualification Requirements of US Air Ambulance Paramedics
To be considered by US air ambulance companies, a paramedic is usually expected to have at least 5 years of experience. The median salary offered is about $31,700 according to the statistics revealed by Bureau of Labor Statistics in the year 2014. All the states in the United States mandate that the paramedics are licensed for the job. An associate degree of certificate is enough for the job. The emergency medical technician paramedic certification issued by NREMT is a must.
Obtaining the Qualifications to become a US Air Ambulance Paramedic
You are first expected to get the CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and BLS (basic life support) certifications. If you’ve attended these classes in high school it is a huge plus. It usually takes just one session to get this certification.
Next is getting emergency medical training. The training involves both theoretical and practical classes in a vocational or technical education setting. Here, you would be trained to handle situations such as allergic reactions, substance abuse, etc.
You’re now ready to get the license through NREMT. You’ll have to take an examination which comprises of written as well as practical tests here.
It’s now time to gain experience to become a certified paramedic so that you can land a job with any of the US air ambulance companies. In order to get the certification, you will have to bag at least 1,200 hours of training. Once you gain that, you’ll have to undergo an extensive certification examination through NREMT. The certification qualifies you to take up the national certification to become a paramedic. Once you’re through this, you can gain the requisite experience and then apply for a job as a paramedic in any of the US air ambulance companies.
Depending on the seriousness of the illness and the care requirements, a patient may be transported through any form of medical air transport. It could be through an air ambulance, commercial stretcher or medical escort. The point to be noted, however, is that all these forms of medical air transport invariably need the services of a flight nurse. It is one of those air ambulance careers that is seeing a high degree of demand currently and is slated to grow steadily. There is also a sense of adventurism that comes with the job as you are expected to be in the midst of challenging situations.
The Mindset of a Medical Air Transport Nurse
The salaries of air ambulance nurses are pretty high; however, it is also a high-pressure job. Often, flight nurses, especially critical care flight nurses, are expected to take calls that can mean the difference between life and death. Not every medical air transport vehicle carries a doctor on every rescue. So, remaining unflustered in tough situations is a quality that takes the front seat if you want to become a flight nurse. The ability to take calls independently and improvise to make the best of the situation is another welcome trait. It is always an on-call duty. If being available round the clock is too much for you, then this career is not for you.
Qualifications of a Medical Air Transport Critical Care Nurse
The foremost requirement is the license to practice in the state where you’re based. Most medical air transport companies demand an experience of at least 5 years, if you’re targeting critical care. The nurse might be required to attend Aviation Physiology courses once a decade. The course must meet the Department of Transportation specifications. The following certifications are deemed necessary:
- International Basic Trauma Life Support Provider
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider
Most medical air transport companies prefer additional Advanced Pediatric Life Support Provider certification, although this is not compulsory.
Above all, a flight nurse needs to posses compassion and excellent interpersonal skills.