Tactical Paramedic Certification (TP-C) Exam FAQs

Q: Who is eligible to take the TP-C Exam?
A: In order to be eligible for testing, an individual will already have to be certified as a minimum of a NREMT-P or state equivalent. The focus population for this exam includes military special operations paramedics and experienced law enforcement paramedics with extensive tactical experience.
Q: What will the exam cover?
A: The exam is based on the 17 critical domains agreed upon during the 2011 CDC-TIDE sponsored workshop of the National TEMS Initiative and Council (NTIC). The IBSC monitors the CoTCCC guidelines, the C-TECC guidelines, the USSOCOM Tactical Trauma Protocols, and various other standard-of-care guidelines for prehospital critical care provision to ensure all examination materials correctly reflect "best practices". A downloadable version of the exam content outline is available on our website.
Q: Who is involved in the exam development?
A: Originally proposed by the Board of Directors of the BCCTPC, a non-profit organization, the exam development
process involves a number of individuals who have extensive tactical medicine experience including providing care under fire, both from the military special operations and the law enforcement communities. These subject matter experts, include a senior Special Forces 18D, SEAL corpsman, FBI HRT paramedic, the USSOCOM senior medical enlisted advisor, Ranger Regiment Senior Medic, and several LE TEMS providers each with over 30 years of tactical experience with large departments such as San Diego SWAT.
Q: What organizations are supporting the development of a tactical paramedic exam?
A. In addition to the U.S. Special Operations Command, the IBSC is working in a strategic partnership with the
National TEMS Initiative and Council (NTIC) to ensure the TP-C examination mirrors the competency domains established through the NTIC.  
Q: What is the impetus for development of a tactical paramedic exam?
A: The original request for a standardized national tactical paramedic exam originated with the USSOCOM SG. Representatives of several federal law enforcement agencies previously approached USSOCOM to determine the feasibility of their law enforcement TEMS providers sitting for the SOF Advanced Tactical Paramedic certification exam. Since certain military regulatory requirements made this approach impractical, the development of a new credentialing exam, for which both military and law enforcement tactical paramedics were eligible, began.
Q: Why is a Job Analysis necessary and will the results of the Job Analysis Study be published?
A: The Job Analysis Study is conducted to validate exam content by identifying the tasks performed and measuring their importance to a specific job function. The exam blueprint is available on the IBSC website. The study can only benefit the TEMS community as a whole, since it will allow a better understanding of not only what skills are critical to the TEMS provider, but how often those skills are utilized.
Q: When and how will I be able to take the exam?
A: The exam registration is available at www.IBSCertifications.org. Exam administration is available through paper/pencil testing at host test sites, national conferences, and computer-based testing will be available at designated testing centers.
Q: How will this certification process affect current standards?
A: A nationally recognized credentialing examination will help to establish a single standard for all tactical paramedics in the U.S. Military and law enforcement communities.

Q: What preparation materials do you recommend?
A: The exam is based on the 17 critical domains of the National TEMS Initiative and Council (NTIC). The following textbooks are recommended:

  • Paramedic Practice Today-Above and Beyond, (Vol 2) by Barbara Aehlert. Published by Jones & Bartlett Learning (2011).
  • PHTLS, Military Edition (7th Edition) by NAEMT and American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma. Published by Elsevier Health Sciences (2010).
  • Law Enforcement Responder; Principles of Emergency Medicine, Rescue and Force Protection, by Randy G. Stair, Dwight A. Polk, Geoff Shapiro and Nelson Tang Published by Jones & Bartlett Learning (2012).
  • Tactical Emergency Medicine, by Richard B. Schwartz, John G McManus McManus, and Raymond E. Swienton. Published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (2007).
  • Tactical Medicine Essentials by American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), E. John Wipfler III, John E. Campbell and Lawrence E. Heiskell. Published by Jones & Bartlett Learning (2010).

Q: How often is the exam updated?
A: The exam is constantly updated.
Q: Is there a specific course I should take before challenging the exam?
A: The validated TP-C exam process tests knowledge, not the teaching of a single program or course.
Q: Why is accreditation important?
A: Accreditation is one of the key benchmarks for measuring quality. Valid accreditation is key to assuring the general public that the tactical paramedic is competent and current.
Q: Is there a skills performance portion to the exam?
A: The exam is 135 multiple-choice questions. Cognitive complexity designations are assigned to each task according to their perceptions of the cognitive demands of each task. Three categories are used: recall, application, and analysis. Items selected for the test are linked to these tasks on content and cognitive demand; accordingly, the test will closely align with the job-related competencies of tactical paramedics. Thus, the scores resulting from the examination will have substantial evidence of validity.
Testing/ Recertification
Q: How do I register to take the TP-C Exam?
A: Online registration is available for paper/pencil and computer-based exams.
Q: Do I need to register again in order to retest?
A: Yes, however, the standard registration fee applies.  
Q: Where can I take the computer-based exam?
A: Testing centers are located in every state and certain countries. For a list of the testing centers in your state, click on the Computer-Based Exam Locations link on this website.
Q: If I pass the exam, how long will the certification be valid?
A: The TP-C is a four-year certification. Certification renewal options include testing or renewal through continuing education.
Q: If I fail the exam, how many times can I retest?
A: Exam registration is available 30 days your last test date. If you unsucessful after three attempts, you must complete an approved tactical review course prior to attempting the exam again.
Q: How many times can a person renew their certification via CEs?
A: There is no limit to the number of times, as long as the certification is not expired.
Exam Hosting (for paper/pencil exam only)
Q: What do I need to do in order to host a TP-C Exam?
A: Download the Letter of Agreement and Site Request forms, complete and forward to the IBSC office along with your financial guarantee.