Air Evac Paramedic Salary and Career Facts

Air evacuation paramedics use helicopters to transport patients to hospitals when urgent care is needed and ground transportation is impractical or unavailable. Learn more about training requirements, licensure and potential salary. Schools offering Biomedical Engineering Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Training Do I Need To Become a Flight Paramedic?

If you're interested in becoming an air evacuation paramedic, you'll first need to complete basic and advanced certifications as an emergency medical technician (EMT)and attain state licensure. This training includes advanced cardiac life support, basic life support, pediatric advanced life support and pre-hospital trauma life support. You'll also need to become familiar with state laws and regulations regarding paramedics and other emergency personnel.

To train as a paramedic, you'll need at least a high school diploma or equivalent. You'll find associate degree and certification programs available at community colleges, vocational schools, training hospitals and public safety academies. Degree programs may require hundreds of hours of training and coursework on topics such as advanced airway management, medication administration, anatomy and physiology. To advance to an air evac paramedic team, you'll need to have at least three years of paramedic experience that is part of an advanced life support team.

Do I Need To Be Licensed?

Once you've completed a training program, you'll need to seek licensing by your state and take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) exam. Thirty states currently certify EMTs and paramedics, 18 states license them and only two states, Maryland and Texas, distinguish between certification and licensing for paramedics, according to the NREMT. For many states, paramedics are the most highly qualified and licensed providers of emergency medicine.

What Is the NREMT Exam?

The NREMT administers a 2-part national exam to test your paramedic skills and your knowledge of emergency medicine.The cognitive test is a computer-based exam that covers topics such as airway, ventilation, oxygenation, trauma, cardiology, medical and EMS operations, adult patient care and pediatric patient care.

In the psychomotor test, you'll need to demonstrate competency in 12 separate skills in a scenario-type format. These skills include patient trauma assessment, ventilation management, cardiac management skills, intravenous medication and pediatric skills. The NREMT requires that you recertify as often as once every year to maintain your status.

How Do I Become An Air Evacuation Paramedic?

After you have at least three years of paramedic experience, you may search for an air evacuation paramedic position. Some jobs require you have previous flight experience, meet weight requirements, be able to lift heavy loads and have excellent eyesight. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth for paramedics in general is expected to increase by nine percent between 2008 and 2018 (www.bls.gov).

What Can I Expect to Earn?

According to the BLS, the mean annual wage for EMTs and paramedics was $33,300, with hourly wages for most EMTs and paramedics ranging from $9.48-$24.70 per hour. Your earnings will depend on your employer, your training and experience.

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