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EMS Cross-Training


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What additional certifications are needed to fly EMS, if I already have military / police certification, Apache / 747 / other? And, within the EMS field, what is the most critical demand area currently - life flight, organ, or other - and the best forum for identifying these open postings? (Apart from flight certification, what is the lowest level of medical training I can have, to qualify for EMS variations?)

Thank you -

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  • 2 months later...

Assuming your questions are for USA operations, no additional certifications are required nor available. An ATP is always a plus, but not a requirement. All things being equal, a pilot with an ATP will be hired before one with only a commercial certificate, but all things are not always equal. Having the ATP can result in higher pay if hired, but it depends on the company.

 

There are few, if any, specialized programs that do only organ donor flights or anything else. It's just not economically feasible. Most programs take any flight they can, just to stay afloat. Some companies actively discourage pilots from having any medical training at all, and I don't know of any that require medical training. You're a pilot, and you have no time to worry about treating patients. If you start getting involved in patient care, you're not paying attention to flying, and an accident is much more likely. The pilot flies, and the med crew takes care of the patient.

 

The only thing EMS companies look for is the same thing everyone else looks for - flight experience. They want an instrument ticket, lots of night time, and lots of total time. Previous EMS experience is a plus, but not a requirement, just like an ATP. At least a couple of thousand hours of helicopter flight time is a requirement in most cases, and the more the better. Night and IMC time also help a lot. Having lots of jobs in the past few years is a minus, because companies don't want to hire a pilot, train him, and then have him quit to go to another company. A stable work history is important, and job-hopping will hurt you.

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What additional certifications are needed to fly EMS, if I already have military / police certification, Apache / 747 / other? And, within the EMS field, what is the most critical demand area currently - life flight, organ, or other - and the best forum for identifying these open postings? (Apart from flight certification, what is the lowest level of medical training I can have, to qualify for EMS variations?)

Thank you -

 

I've only heard of one program that wanted any medical training in a prospective hire, so none required. Most companies compartmentalize disciplines and responsibilities with very little transfer of duties between them, "three to go" being the exception. The medics I know (that's intended to include flight nurses too) are very, very experienced and skilled professionals. If you have to ask, you're not in their league, don't be a poser. That's me, so I keep my yap SHUT and head out of their business.

 

As previously posted, there's very little specialization on the lines you mentioned in helo EMS, especially for a pilot. It's just a flying job without much flying, but a lot of planning and ability to adapt a plan on the go. It's also very much a personality job- you have to be quietly in command without any doubt being present that you're PIC.

 

If you want the job, generalize, but get IFR and some experience in it, and night experience. Some college and other 'broadening' of background is also a plus.

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