How to Become a Tactical Paramedic

The role of a tactical paramedic is diverse, ever-changing to the environment and can be both a rewarding and challenging field for professionals to pursue. This type of paramedic works in areas that can often be dangerous and in locations that normal emergency care professionals should not venture. Though the role can vary in terms of its job description as time goes on, in general this type of professional may find such job duties as:

  • Providing emergency medical care to canine units
  • Treatment of injuries using advanced life support procedures
  • Transporting to and from “call-out” locations
  • Implementing and teaching suturing techniques, First Aid, CPR and AED
  • Depending on the employment the professional may also assist in breeching the target’s location and use “less lethal” weapons while providing emergency medical care in dangerous environments
  • Administer medications and perform minor surgical procedures

The most common positions for a Tactical professional may be found in assisting law enforcement, military and SWAT teams. Unlike many other emergency medical careers, a tactical paramedic must learn to administer care often in hostile environments and while under fire.

Tactical Paramedic Training

Before a professional can enter into the field, there are specific requirements and specialized training needed in order to properly perform daily functions. In this high risk environment, it is essential that medical professionals receive the best education possible and are armed with knowledge that will not only save lives but provide protection while working in the field.

The field historically has evolved from simple emergency care and basic treatment of wounds with limited supplies to portable intensive care units that can offer acute emergency care to wounded individuals.

Those wishing to enter this field may find that the education and training are career specific, meaning that the level of knowledge and experience you will need will depend on the position you are applying to.

This means that a professional needs to have a plan of action before beginning the training process. Depending on the field in which an individual chooses, the path of preparation will differ:

Tactical Medics in the Military Field

Training as a paramedic through the military is highly recommended for this particular sub-specialty of tactical paramedics. Those wishing to remain as a military medic will receive all the classroom and hands-on training through the military itself. As a paramedic in these conditions, it is required that the professional not only have the medical capabilities to deal with serious wounds in a portable ICU but military abilities as well to work under fire.

Tactical Paramedics in SWAT teams

The primary job of this type of paramedic is to provide medical care to SWAT members. Some form of military or law enforcement experience is required for this position. Medical training can come from the agency itself or from a traditional higher education but the arms training is necessary.

Working in Law Enforcement

Similar to positions within the military and SWAT, a tactical paramedic in most cases must also be a sworn officer. This requires the individual to purse the education and eventually certifications of a paramedic as well as criminal justice and the police academy. Many professionals within this field also state that each station will provide additional training combined with previous in class and field experience and many test each candidate again for expertise.

Though the military and law enforcement training is ideal and makes a candidate much more desirable to the hiring officer, it is not uncommon for the military and law enforcement to consider professionals that aren’t sworn in nor have military background. For those candidates choosing to take the private route, it is important to first receive paramedic training through a secondary education, becoming a certified paramedic and then focus the first five years on being a top paramedic.

Training for Civilians in Tactical Medical Fields

Individuals may find through many helpful forums such as SOCNET.com that professionals already at work in the field offer links, information and sound advice on a career path leading to this profession. There are several certifications that a new paramedic should have in order to be given consideration in any tactical position including:

Beginning individuals need to start with the standard paramedic certifications which can be done through many secondary education institutions across the United States. Begin with a search on the Internet (or use websites like Campus Explorer) to locate schools near the professional’s area.

Once the courses have been completed, the professional will need to take the NREMT examination. Becoming a paramedic is the first step in the process for those not entering the military. Paramedics must also be CPR certified.

If possible, additional subcategory certifications and training will be helpful such as receiving a flight paramedic certification. It is also advised that the professional investigate volunteer positions within local firefighting or law enforcement agencies for additional experience. The average minimum requirement for hands-on training is five years as a paramedic in a high intensity position so any additional experience will be helpful.

If the professional does not wish to pursue active training in the military, law enforcement work will also assist when applying for tactical medical positions. A tactical paramedic in the care of dangerous work under fire is required to carry at least a non-critical weapon so a CWL or other firearm experience is a must.

The BCCTPC or Board for Critical Care Transport Paramedic Certification announced in 2012 the development of the Tactical Paramedic Exam (TP-C), with the primary goal of establishing a set standard of knowledge for those entering the field. Students should use the already established TP-C Exam Outline as a study and training guide in preparation for this upcoming test.

The most important step that any professional can take is to become the best in the field they are working. Entry-level paramedic positions are the first step on the path to a tactical position and job performance is taken highly into consideration during the hiring process, so focus on the task at hand. It is also recommended that the paramedic continue their education with additional certifications in sub-fields and continuing education to assure they are up-to-date on the latest medical procedures and technology.

Once the professional is ready to begin applying for tactical positions, there are many comprehensive websites to begin searching for employment that include:

  • SmartRecruiters.com lists positions in military careers both in the United States and overseas
  • Policeone.com offers not only links to potential websites listing law enforcement specific positions but resources for training, careers and information regarding the positions

You will then of course receive tactical paramedic gear, and even a patch that can be affixed to your clothing that delineates that you have indeed done the hard work, training, and educated to be a proud tactical paramedic.

Remember that Paramedic Training Spot is your #1 option for finding the best and most relevant information pertaining to how you can become a paramedic.

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