Flight Paramedic OR Critical Care Paramedic?

FlightBridgeED - FP-C, CCP-C, CFRN, CFRN, CTRN, TCRN, Flight Nurse, Flight Paramedic


The Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam is designed to test the knowledge of experienced, master-level paramedics who are working as part of a medical flight crew. The Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) exam is a bit broader in scope. It is designed to test the knowledge of adept paramedics working in critical care environments, from transport to in-hospital.

Which exam should I take?

Over the years we have heard many paramedics who are preparing to take their 

Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam

 say that their strategy is to schedule the first attempt of their Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam and if they don’t pass it they will just take the 

Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) exam

. Unfortunately, this isn’t a great plan. Our education team agrees that the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) exam is a more difficult exam than the Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam.

While we have no official answer to why there is a difference in difficulty between the two exams, 

the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) exam is designed for a wide range of providers (from transport paramedics to paramedics working in a hospital critical care setting).

 It is assumed that because the scope of knowledge covered by the exam is broader the provider taking the exam needs an equally broad understanding of critical care medicine.


If you are working in or preparing to work in the air medical field we highly recommend studying for and taking the Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam. If you are working in a critical care environment outside the air medical industry then the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) certification exam is for you. The flight-related material covered by the Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam is vitally important to your safety and success in the air. Differences aside, both exams provide acceptable advanced certification credentials required for paramedics working for organizations that are CAMTS accredited.

Is the Critical Care Paramedic Certification (CCP-C) credential equivalent to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) course?

The simple answer here is no. The CCEMT-P credential issued by UMBC is not accepted as a valid alternative critical care, or flight paramedic certification by any CAMTS accredited organization. Although it is not possible to evaluate the needs of all services and fields within the scope of this article, if you are looking to work as a professional in any critical care environment, stick with the International Board of Specialty Certification (IBSC) issued credentials such as the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) and Flight Paramedic (FP-C) certifications.

How to prepare for the Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam or the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) exam?

1 – The International Board of Specialty Certification (IBSC) and our education team highly recommend taking an advanced certification exam review course prior to attempting your exams, such as the FlightBridgeED FP-C, CCP-C, and CFRN® Exam Review Course. An approved review course will cover all aspects of the exams they seek to prepare the student to take.

2 – I have often heard the statement “you can’t get better than the real thing” related to education and training. Actual experience is sometimes the best teacher, but that’s not always practical.

When you are preparing to take an exam, the best way to prepare would be to take the exam ahead of time multiple times until you get good at taking it. Taking your exam multiple times would be impractical and extremely expensive. The best way to prepare is to take practice exams. Practice exams should simulate exam conditions and provide questions that are similar to what will be encountered during the real thing. Practice exams build your confidence and help identify areas of weakness. All FlightBridgeED advanced certification exam review courses come with access to our practice exam simulation to help you sharpen your test-taking skills.

3 – Leaders are readers! When you look at the suggested study material for these exams, there is an entire collection of textbooks listed, and you are expected to have mastery of the content in all of them. I don’t know your experience with textbooks, but most of them aren’t the most thrilling read out there. When we designed our collection of study tools, our education out to take all the information in these textbooks and condense it to save you lots of time and frustration. From mechanical ventilation management to advanced topics in critical care, our curated set of books and study guides are indispensable assets in exam preparation.

4 (BONUS) – If you are taking the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) exam, it is especially important that you ensure your understanding of pathophysiology. For some, a review course package may be all that is needed depending on your experience and depth of knowledge. If you find yourself struggling to understand a particular subject, we highly recommend finding resources to turn your weaknesses into strengths. FlightBridgeED proudly offers 100% online courses, including the cadaver course, masterclasses covering mechanical ventilation, cardiology, laboratory values, and more. Even if you aren’t preparing for an exam, these courses make difficult concepts easy to understand and can make a huge difference in your practice and patient outcomes.


While there are similarities in these exams, the Critical Care Paramedic (CCP-C) exam is most definitely not the Flight Paramedic (FP-C) exam minus 15 questions about flight physiology. It is certainly possible to generally prepare for both, but success hinges on the finer points of your specific study plan. FlightBridgeED has extensive familiarity and experience with both of these exams. We have built our business around your success in the air medical and critical care fields.