Being an air ambulance paramedic could be a rewarding career, but it does take a lot of training and skill to be good at this job. Paramedics must first go through EMT training before they can study for the higher-level paramedic classification. As an air ambulance paramedic, you would be helping people who are in a difficult situation, and who need immediate care. The air evacuation part is where it gets a little more complicated, and there is some added training there, to become an air ambulance paramedic. Sometimes people get sick on vacation, or while traveling, and this is often what calls for the services of an air ambulance.
Paramedics are an essential part of these air ambulance transports. They ride in medical helicopters or ICU configured jets and give emergency medical treatment during the transportation to a hospital or medical facility. Paramedics need to be able to work well under pressure and able to work well in small spaces, such as a helicopter or plane.
Become an EMT
The first step is to become a licensed EMT. These classes are often available at community colleges or vocational school. There is training in basic life support systems, moving patients, assessment, and ambulance operations. There are also courses in managing trauma and life-threatening injuries.
After getting EMT certification, the person would need to get certified in the state they want to work in. There is also a National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians which EMTs can get certification from after written and practical tests. Some states require a state test as well.
After you get your EMT certification, you may then enter a paramedic training program. Many programs require a certain number of years’ experience as an EMT before they will admit you to the training. There is a seven-month training process that involves 1,200 hours of training. After the training you must pass a test to get certification.
Classes include things like anatomy, physiology, patient assessment, treatment options, as well as some training involving medications. Just like in EMT training, there is a written test and a practical hands-on test, that you must pass to get certification.
Air ambulance training
After becoming a paramedic, you are ready to get a credential to work with an air medical crew. This is normally a 32-hour class that takes four days. There is education about different types of aircraft, landing zone procedures and flight safety. There is also training about how to treat patients while flying, or at altitude. Working inside an airplane would be similar in some ways, but still different than working in an ambulance that is rolling down a highway.
Many air ambulance companies also require training in various pediatric areas, like life support and trauma issues. Basic life support, as well as neonatal resuscitation, may also be required. Cardiac life support is also an essential skill that paramedics need. Ability to adapt to a situation would also be important as you would likely never know what kind of emergency you would be coming to next.