Tactical emergency medical 2

How to Become a Full-Time EMT on the SWAT Team

Joining the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) SWAT team as a full-time Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is a challenging and rewarding career path. SWAT medics play a vital role in providing emergency medical care to law enforcement personnel and civilians injured during SWAT operations. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the steps and requirements to become a full-time EMT on the LAPD SWAT team. Whether you are already in the field of law enforcement or starting from scratch, this article will provide you with the necessary information to pursue your goal.


Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Role of a SWAT Medic
  2. Prerequisites for Becoming a SWAT Medic
  3. Starting Point: Becoming a Police Officer or Firefighter
  4. Gaining Experience as an EMT
  5. Exploring the NTOA TEMS Course
  6. The TP-C Certification for Tactical Paramedics
  7. Specialized Training for SWAT Medics
  8. Firearms Skills and Training
  9. The Application and Selection Process
  10. Becoming a Full-Time EMT on the LAPD SWAT Team
  11. Salary and Compensation
  12. Conclusion

1. Understanding the Role of a SWAT Medic

SWAT medics, also known as tactical medics or tactical emergency medical supports (TEMS), are highly skilled professionals who provide emergency medical care in high-risk situations. Their role involves a unique combination of medical expertise and tactical skills. As a SWAT medic, you will be responsible for treating injuries sustained by law enforcement personnel and civilians during SWAT operations. This demanding position requires a high level of discipline, training, and experience.


2. Prerequisites for Becoming a SWAT Medic

Becoming a SWAT medic is not a straightforward process. There are limited openings, and many SWAT teams do not have a dedicated medic. Therefore, it may take time and persistence to secure a position as a SWAT medic. Most SWAT teams recruit medics from within the ranks of experienced law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, nurses, or doctors. It is essential to have a solid foundation in either law enforcement or emergency medical services before pursuing a career as a SWAT medic.


3. Starting Point: Becoming a Police Officer or Firefighter

To embark on the path of becoming a full-time EMT on the LAPD SWAT team, the first step is to become a police officer or firefighter. These professions provide the necessary foundation and experience required for a career in SWAT. The specific requirements and training vary depending on your location, so it is crucial to research the prerequisites for becoming a police officer or firefighter in your area.

The police academy typically takes several months to complete, and the fire academy requires approximately six months of training. If you are not interested in becoming a police officer, you can start by becoming an EMT and then apply to become a police officer once you have gained sufficient experience. Working as a police officer or firefighter will give you valuable insights into the field and help you build the necessary skills and experience required for a SWAT medic role.


4. Gaining Experience as an EMT

While the LAPD SWAT team prefers hiring experienced law enforcement officers, gaining experience as an EMT can still be a viable path to becoming a SWAT medic. EMT training typically takes around six months to complete, and it provides you with essential medical skills and knowledge. Working as an EMT will allow you to gain practical experience in emergency medical care, which is a crucial aspect of the SWAT medic role.

If a SWAT team does not already have a dedicated medic, they may consider hiring one if there is a need. In this case, working as a police officer for a while before applying to join the SWAT team can increase your chances of securing a position. Once you become a member of the SWAT team, you can discuss the possibility of opening a medical position with your supervisor.


5. Exploring the NTOA TEMS Course

The National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA) provides guidelines and training suggestions for SWAT medics. While there are no universal rules or certifications for SWAT medics, many police departments follow the NTOA guidelines. Completing the NTOA’s Tactical Emergency Medical Support (TEMS) course can significantly enhance your qualifications as a SWAT medic.

Depending on your state or police department’s adherence to these guidelines, you may need to travel to an NTOA training facility to complete a week or two of training with an NTOA-approved instructor. The NTOA TEMS course covers topics such as trauma care, tactical medicine, and emergency response in high-risk situations. Completing this course demonstrates your commitment to excellence in the field of tactical emergency medicine.


6. The TP-C Certification for Tactical Paramedics

In addition to the NTOA TEMS course, you may be required to obtain the Tactical Paramedic Certification (TP-C) to further enhance your qualifications as a SWAT medic. The TP-C certification is distributed by the International Board of Specialty Certification (IBSC) and involves a two-hour written exam consisting of 125 questions.

While the TP-C certification is not mandatory in all cases, having this certification can demonstrate your expertise and dedication to the field of tactical medicine. It is important to check with your local SWAT team or police department to determine if the TP-C certification is a requirement for becoming a SWAT medic.


7. Specialized Training for SWAT Medics

SWAT medics undergo specialized training to prepare them for the unique challenges they may face in the field. Depending on the jurisdiction and specific SWAT team procedures, training programs can vary. These programs typically involve highly immersive training over the course of one to two weeks.

During specialized training, SWAT medics learn various skills and techniques related to both emergency medicine and tactical operations. This training ensures that medics can effectively provide medical care while being actively involved in SWAT operations. It is crucial to stay updated with the latest training programs and advancements in tactical medicine to excel in the field of SWAT medic.


8. Firearms Skills and Training

As a member of the LAPD SWAT team, a SWAT medic is expected to possess firearms skills and training similar to other team members. Since SWAT operations involve high-risk situations where firearms may be necessary, it is essential to demonstrate proficiency in handling firearms. Most departments have strict requirements for firearm skills, and you may need to undergo rigorous training to meet those requirements.

To pass departmental shooting exams, you will need to practice extensively and develop a high level of marksmanship. Additionally, you will participate in drills with the SWAT team to ensure you are fully prepared for critical situations. Having a strong foundation in firearms skills is imperative for a SWAT medic to effectively contribute to the team’s overall mission.


9. The Application and Selection Process

The application and selection process for becoming a full-time EMT on the LAPD SWAT team can vary depending on the department’s specific requirements and procedures. While some departments accept open applications, many SWAT teams recruit medics internally or through referrals from reputable local healthcare professionals.

To increase your chances of being considered for a SWAT medic position, it is important to gain relevant experience, complete the necessary training programs, and establish a strong reputation within the law enforcement or medical community. Networking with professionals in the field and staying updated with departmental announcements can provide valuable opportunities for pursuing a career as a SWAT medic.


10. Becoming a Full-Time EMT on the LAPD SWAT Team

Becoming a full-time EMT on the LAPD SWAT team is a highly competitive process. Once you have met the prerequisites, gained the necessary experience, and completed the required training programs, you can apply for a position as a SWAT medic. It is important to showcase your skills, qualifications, and dedication to the field of tactical emergency medicine during the application process.

The selection process may involve an interview, a written exam, and a physical fitness assessment. Demonstrating your ability to perform under pressure and your commitment to the team’s mission will greatly enhance your chances of being selected as a SWAT medic. Keep in mind that positions as a SWAT medic are limited, and it may take time and perseverance to secure a full-time role on the LAPD SWAT team.


11. Salary and Compensation

SWAT medics are highly skilled professionals who are compensated accordingly for their expertise and contributions to the team. The salary of a full-time EMT on the LAPD SWAT team can vary depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, and location. On average, SWAT medics can earn a salary of up to $225,000 per year, considering the dual role they fulfill as both a law enforcement officer and a medical professional.

It is important to note that the average salary for a SWAT team member is around $58,000 per year, while the average salary for an EMT is approximately $36,000 per year. The higher salary for SWAT medics reflects the additional skills and responsibilities required in their role. The financial rewards of being a SWAT medic are a reflection of the dedication and expertise required to excel in this demanding career.


Becoming a full-time EMT on the LAPD SWAT team is a challenging and rewarding career path that requires a combination of medical expertise, tactical skills, and dedication to public service. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can embark on a journey towards becoming a SWAT medic. Remember, the path to becoming a full-time EMT on the LAPD SWAT team may be arduous and competitive, but with the right qualifications, experience, and perseverance, you can achieve your goal of joining this elite team of professionals. Good luck on your journey to becoming a SWAT medic!


Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as official guidance from the LAPD or any law enforcement agency. For accurate and up-to-date information, please refer to the official websites of the LAPD and relevant authorities.

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