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How Do I Become an Air Force Medic?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 04 September 2014
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To become an Air Force medic, it is necessary to enlist in the Air Force and undergo medical training to qualify as a medic. Other positions in the Air Force are also available to care providers like doctors and nurses, and the requirements for becoming an Air Force doctor or nurse are somewhat different. People who join the Air Force to become medics can pursue a life-long career in the service or may opt to take their skills to the civilian world after they are discharged. Trained medics can find work with hospitals, ambulance services, and law enforcement response teams.

To enlist, people need to be in good physical and mental health. They will have to pass a physical exam and a background check will identify any events in someone's history that could be a barrier to service. Past felony convictions, for example, may bar people from service. An Air Force recruiter can evaluate a person interested in joining and provide advice on meeting recruitment requirements, such as recommendations for physical fitness routines to help people get in shape.

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Once recruited, a would-be Air Force medic will go through basic training. If the enlistee is identified as a good candidate for medical training, she will be sent to a training facility that provides paramedic-level training with other Air Force personnel. In addition to learning to provide medical care, enlistees will also learn about working safely under fire and in combat zones. At the conclusion of training, an the medic can be assigned to a unit and may be stationed on a base or sent into combat with other support personnel.

As an Air Force medic, people will have opportunities to travel to many regions of the world, providing health care services to members of the Air Force and their families, along with allied personal and civilians in some settings. Medics are provided with housing and food along with a stipend, and members of the Air Force have access to retirement plans, health care, and other benefits.

The Air Force pays for continuing education and encourages its personnel to pursue new educational opportunities. An Air Force medic has a high level of training that can be a valuable asset when applying for jobs after leaving the Air Force. Tactical support teams that provide assistance to law enforcement value people with prior military experience and skilled medics are always needed on ambulances, in hospitals, and in other clinical settings.

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bigjim
Post 5

The Air Force has a unique program for highly-qualified medics, the Pararescue Jumpers. These personnel are trained well beyond a civilian paramedic in medical and trauma care, and they are also fully-trained Special Forces troops.

They rescue downed pilots and other stranded high-value personnel all over the world. If a person has any interesting in this kind of adventure, then the Air Force is definitely the way to go, because they are the only ones who have it.

Veruca10
Post 4

@idemnifyme - I agree that there are other reasons to become a medic besides what it can do for you in the civilian job market. The Air Force takes very good care of their people, and if someone goes in at 18 they can have an exciting and fulfilling career as a medic, or even pick up schooling and go higher when they are in.

After 20 years, they can retire at 38 and have a pension and health insurance for life. Plenty of time to go back to school (and they'll help you pay some or all of it, too).

Not everyone wants to be an officer, which you would be as a doctor or nurse or PA. An enlisted medic can have a great career in the Air Force.

indemnifyme
Post 3

@Azuza - I hope your friend’s boyfriend finds success in medical school. Even though his experience didn't translate to class credits I'm sure it will still help him in medical school.

I think this position sounds like a really good opportunity for someone who is interested in the medical field and the military. The Air Force is also a good branch to work in- my brother in law is in the Air Force and he's had a really good experience so far.

Nepal2016
Post 2

@Azuza - There is a lot of wisdom in your post, and you have hit on something that really does not make a lot of sense.

Air Force medics, and military medics in general, can have a wide range of specialized training, equal to or often way beyond a civilian Paramedic, yet they have a hard time getting a civilian job that reflects that experience.

Like you, I know several people who have had this problem. A friend of my mother's was a combat medic in Vietnam. The man practically did trauma surgery in the field, yet when he came back he couldn't even work as a basic EMT for minimum wage without retaking the training and passing the test.

There are lots of programs to help people become doctors, nurses, PAs, and other advanced practitioners in the military. If you qualify, it may be the best way to go. You make more while you're in, too.

Azuza
Post 1

One thing to keep in mind when becoming an Air Force medic is that the training often does not transfer over into the civilian world. Even though the equivalent of a medic may be a paramedic, medic training in the military doesn't qualify a person to be a paramedic. They still have to take the courses.

A friend of mines boyfriend was a medic in the military for many years. He told me his training is pretty much the equivalent of a Physician Assistant. However, once he re-entered the civilian world the only job he could qualify for was an ER tech! He is looking into going to medical school to become a doctor but he basically had to start all over as far as his prerequisite classes.

I would strongly urge anyone considering a career as a medic to make sure you want to stay in the Air Force you whole career. If not I would consider becoming an Air Force Doctor or Nurse, both of which have equivalents on the civilian side.

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