To become a flight medic, it is necessary to attend a paramedic training program, build up five years or more of clinical experience, and pursue additional certification to qualify to provide patient care on aircraft. Positions in both the military and the civilian world are available. Some people use such jobs to develop experience before pursuing nursing or medical school, and may later qualify as flight nurses or doctors who can provide more advanced care to their patients. Employment prospects can depend on the region and an applicant's level of skill and experience. Such medical personnel are often in high demand.
For civilians, the first step for someone who wants to become a flight medic is a paramedic training program. The program provides education and certification in life support techniques, usually at multiple levels. A high level paramedic certification is advisable for this career. Paramedics in training can get opportunities for clinical experience and additional certifications that may be helpful when they apply for positions in a hospital or on an ambulance service.
Companies looking for flight crew typically want people with at least five years of experience in a critical care environment like an emergency room or intensive care unit. If an ambulance service is busy, experience on ambulances can also be beneficial. While people acquire experience to become a flight medic, they may want to look into additional training programs to allow them to offer more life support services. These certifications will also be useful on job applications.
As openings for flight paramedics arise, working paramedics can apply into them. A company may hire an experienced paramedic to become a flight medic after careful review of certifications and references. In some regions, people may need to carry certifications allowing them to provide medical care on fixed wing aircraft or helicopters. Some companies may provide this training, or the certifications may not be required, depending on regional law. It can help to ask a working flight medic about the requirements in a given region.
Someone who wants to become a flight medic in the military will need to enlist and undergo training. The military provides education for medics in an advanced training program after basic, and can prepare them for service on military aircraft. It is also possible to take civilian experience into the military and vice versa, as the skills needed for military and civilian flight medics are very similar.