Why are Air Ambulance jobs so competitive?
The reasons are simple and straightforward:
1. All flight crew positions require extensive training and qualifications.
2. Air medical crews are regarded as the very best in medical care in Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
3. The air ambulance community takes pride in setting and maintaining high standards of entry.
An important point is that many EMS applicants consider the exclusivity of the air medical community a large part of the appeal of the community.
Flight programs do an excellent job of setting and maintaining high personal and professional standards for their teams. Many applicants spend years working as ground paramedics before beginning their air medical careers. Many others spend years working in an emergency department or critical care environment.
The exclusivity and barriers to entry are what make air ambulance flight jobs rewarding for many. There's something special about doing work that not just anybody can do. In fact, many crews we speak with explain that "if just anybody could do the job or get hired, it wouldn't be worth as much to me."
The end result is a highly competitive and elite group of medical and aviation professionals. All flight positions (pilot, nurse, paramedic) require significant training and experience. This means earning an air ambulance flight crew job requires some work and commitment, but it is possible. The keys to success are perseverance, determination and a plan.
Follow this checklist to get started:
1. Identify flight programs of interest.
2. Learn the requirements of each target program.
3. Start a self-improvement program today.
4. Get qualified.
5. Schedule the "secret interview" a.k.a. fly along or job shadow day.
6. Write a killer flight resume and cover letter.
7. Schedule a practice/mock interview with a career coach or current flight crew.
8. Do a great job on your real flight interviews.
9. Pick the right air ambulance flight program for you (not all are created equal).
10. Follow-up each interview with a personal thank you letter.
Approach each checklist item from the perspective of completing mini-goals to reach your overall goal of an air ambulance flight crew position.
It is not necessary to do each and every checklist item in order. In fact, at times jumping from one item to another is more beneficial. If you get stuck on any one item in particular, take a break or work on a different checklist item for a little while.
Earning an air ambulance flight crew job is an investment in time and patience. But if you maintain focus and complete all the checklist items, you will be rewarded with literally one of the best jobs in the world.