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Flight Medic?


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Hi all. So I was recently approached by an air medical transport company about joining their crew. I have been working as a paramedic for the past 3.5 years and as an EMT for 6.5 years before that. I had always thought working as a flight medic would be very interesting and a great way to increase my knowledge but I had never actively pursued the idea. I work with flight crews frequently at my current medic job and they invited me to join their crew. Now here's where it gets slightly complicated.

I'm currently in school finishing my bachelor's degree (older nontraditional) and prerequisites for PA school and am taking between 10-12 credits a semester. I plan on applying to my top choice school next summer (2019) and a couple more schools after that (2020) as I complete some more prerequisites. I also teach medical courses and end up traveling around the US and internationally for that, as well as, I'm a biology teaching assistant and biology tutor at the university that I attend. Basically, my schedule is packed full (seriously...my calendar is terrifying.) Throughout this busy schedule I have maintained a 4.0 GPA (last 80ish credits I have taken) and I really hope to continue that as I know how important grades are to PA applications. 

The reason that I am considering the flight medic job is that I have the opportunity to get 50% off tuition at my top choice PA school if I got in. I also plan on completing a separate masters degree at this school if I don't get in right away. So I would potentially get 50% off both programs. I really hope to attend this PA school as I have been somewhat immersed in their program already and think their program fits extremely well with my educational goals (I take classes in the same building with their students and work with many of their instructors.) Is the benefit of 50% off tuition and some more medical experience worth it? Would adcoms be more interested in flight medic experience compared to medic experience? Would it be worth dropping my job as a tutor or teaching assistant? Or maybe limiting my hours teaching medical classes and not traveling as much? I currently have over 15,000 hours PCE and I'm worried that the flight job would take up a lot of time and maybe push my application timeline back another year. Would it truly improve my application? (I know that I would thoroughly enjoy the job but my end goal is PA not medic.) I know this is one of those kind of just make the decision and stick with it situations but I'm curious what other experiences people have had with juggling a lot of things and trying to put together a thorough and thoughtful application. Thanks!

 

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Do I think it will help your application much? Probably not. But, I also, don't think that the sacrifices you'll have to make to take the job are going to hurt your application either (unless your grades drop). I don't envy you having to make this choice.

I guess you'll have to weight how much you want the experience just to have it and how much it's worth to you to get that 50% tuition break. I think it's a great opportunity if you think you can maintain your good grades!

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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It’s almost certainly not going to help your application compared to regular medic experience. The experience has been VERY useful for me (critical care stuff like vents, pressers, etc that you wont get doing 911) but that’s not going to matter in the admissions process. 

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32 minutes ago, EMTP-Sarah said:

 

The reason that I am considering the flight medic job is that I have the opportunity to get 50% off tuition at my top choice PA school if I got in. I also plan on completing a separate masters degree at this school if I don't get in right away. So I would potentially get 50% off both programs. I really hope to attend this PA school as I have been somewhat immersed in their program already and think their program fits extremely well with my educational goals (I take classes in the same building with their students and work with many of their instructors.) Is the benefit of 50% off tuition and some more medical experience worth it? Would adcoms be more interested in flight medic experience compared to medic experience? Would it be worth dropping my job as a tutor or teaching assistant? Or maybe limiting my hours teaching medical classes and not traveling as much? I currently have over 15,000 hours PCE and I'm worried that the flight job would take up a lot of time and maybe push my application timeline back another year. Would it truly improve my application? (I know that I would thoroughly enjoy the job but my end goal is PA not medic.) I know this is one of those kind of just make the decision and stick with it situations but I'm curious what other experiences people have had with juggling a lot of things and trying to put together a thorough and thoughtful application. Thanks!

 

After boiling off all the what-ifs and exciting possibilities, this seems like a sidestep to your ultimate goal--becoming a PA.  That can be a good and bad thing depending on how motivated you are to get out there and start practicing. 

To answer one of your questions, I doubt it would do much to improve what already seems like a stellar application.

 

Edited by SephONE
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The average PA school cost is $90k, if you did flight medic for a year, you get 50% off of that. It's not about PCE for you anymore. Being a flight medic or medic doesn't matter PCE wise, since you have so many hours anyways. ADCOMS will see that you have 15k+ hours, which is way more than the average applicant has. For the opportunity to come out with less debt would be a huge deal breaker for me. You can probably cut tutoring and TA, since I think teaching medical classes holds more weight than those. Being a TA does get you better access to a professor who can write you a great LOR, but I'm sure you have lots of options for a LOR without the TA one.

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I think you have a lot of good reasons to do it.  Plus, it would be fun.  I am a NP now, but if I could go back in time I would have left the ICU after getting the minimum required time and become a flight nurse before school.  There are two competing companies in my area and they both have RN-RN and RN-medic teams, but more and more companies are doing away with RN-RN teams and making them RN-medic teams.  At the same time, though, more companies are adding NPs and PAs to their flight teams and forgoing algorithms for real time decision making.  I think it's a great learning opportunity.  

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Fifty percent off of tuition is huge.  I was fortunate in that the program for which I flew was affiliated with the school I attended.  Due to this relationship I got a not insignificant tuition reduction.  At the end of my PA program it resulted in a substantial cost savings.

Having been in a similar, although admittedly not as busy, situation as what you're describing I think the benefits to you with regards to such significant tuition savings is worth pursuing.

All the best in your decision.

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