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How to become a paramedic abroad

Becoming a paramedic abroad can be both challenging and rewarding


By EMS1 Staff

There are many reasons why an American-trained paramedic would consider employment in other areas of the world. Some may seek the opportunity to practice in an environment with different health challenges than the United States experiences. It can also be a way to see more of the world. The compensation and benefits can be quite tempting, too. For example, Dubai is known to offer experienced paramedics up to $110,000, annually. 

Step one: Prepare your information

There are several paths one could take to become a paramedic abroad. (Photo/Wikimedia)
There are several paths one could take to become a paramedic abroad. (Photo/Wikimedia)

Before starting the hunt for overseas employment, spend time organization paperwork relevant to travel or employment.  Things like a current passport, letters of employment, all certifications, updated health and vaccination records, school transcripts and an updated resume will all be vital during your search. 

Geography matters for paramedic job availability  

Generally speaking, areas with a great need for medical practitioners and those with high levels of conflict will have an easier path to employment than more stable countries, like Australia and Europe. The Middle East is one area in which paramedics may find easy employment, even in countries that are not currently experiencing conflict. 

These countries, and the oil industry that operates within the borders prefer to hire Westerners for several reasons. Some of the businesses operating there may be American-owned, in which case, hiring here and then transporting the workers can be easier than recruiting in the foreign country. 

Additionally, medical education and training standards in Western countries tend to be more rigorous, making the paramedics with this training especially sought after. The compensation in these countries may be especially high and is often exempt from U.S. taxes as well as the taxes of the country where the paramedic is located. There are a handful of organizations actively recruiting paramedics in this region, including Learn4Good and Global Medical Recruiting.

If you are considering employment in the Western region, you may need additional requirements or certifications prior to practicing as a paramedic.

Employer options for paramedics abroad can vary

Besides oil companies in the Middle East, consider these options for work abroad.  

One of the best places to look for foreign jobs as a paramedic may be with U.S. held government contracts, such as with Constellis. These companies typically operate in areas of high conflict, making the demand for individuals with medical training very high.  Usually, as the risk of an individual’s safety grows, so does the compensation, which can make employment here especially lucrative for those willing to take the risk.

You may also consider looking at the needs of certain philanthropic organizations that target the underserved populations, such as Remote Medical International or A Broader View Volunteers. These organizations are less likely to enter areas of conflict but typically look for areas with high levels of need. This can include areas like Cambodia, Ghana, or Malaysia, or counties that are remote and lack medical infrastructure and basic services, such as Antarctica and Nepal.

Another option for employment is aboard a cruise ship. Compensation is typically comparable to employment in other areas of the United States and the requirements are usually straightforward, with most requiring only valid and current certification and 2-3 years of experience. Medical employees can also leave the ship when it is docked for excursions but are still responsible for responding if there is an incident. This perk can make it worthwhile for those looking to see the world. 

Final considerations before becoming a paramedic abroad

Wherever you choose to pursue your career, it is crucial to remember to research the requirements for employment and ensure that you can meet those. Not all skills and certifications are equivalent, so it is important to be prepared if additional schooling or testing is required.

It is also a good idea to research the culture and norms of the area. This will help you to understand the individuals living there much better. Some cultures have unique medical standards that are not found in the U.S., and preparing yourself to deal with this will help you to provide superior treatment within the environment. 
 

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