In March I have been fortunate to attend two of the top EMS and Fire conferences. In early March I was at EMS Today and last week I was at FDIC. I am fortunate that conference attendance and participation is part of my job. I am frequently asked by EMS students and early career EMS professionals if attending conferences is worthwhile and for tips on raising the funds for the travel expenses and conference registration.
Before jetting across the country look for a local, regional, or state EMS conference. In Wisconsin we have at least three conferences for EMS students and professionals. Many of these conferences are able to book nationally known speakers and offer similar content and exhibits, but on a smaller scale, to what you might find at a national conference.
Local conferences are also usually available at low cost or even no cost. In addition scholarship opportunities are likely to favor local candidates. If you are a student ask about a student registration rate.
Volunteer for a Registration
Many conferences depend on volunteers to assist with set-up, registration, clean-up, or to act as a room host. Volunteers usually receive a discounted or free registration. Ask for a volunteer assignment that allows you to still attend presentations. For example, room hosts welcome attendees, scan badges, and then watch the session.
Apply for Scholarships
Many conferences have scholarships for attendees that waives all or a portion of the registration. The scholarship may include coverage of travel and lodging expenses. Look for scholarship details as soon as conference information is available, carefully review the application criteria, and submit materials completely and on-time.
Exhibit Hall Only
Review the registration details to see if there is an exhibit hall only attendance option. The exhibit hall gives you access to all of the product vendors and many continuing education programs are offered in the exhibit hall by highly regarded speakers. At EMS Today the booths for Physio-Control and BoundTree both featured a regularly scheduled slate of speakers.
Part 2: Conference Expenses: It’s a Math Problem Scheduled April 5
Part 3: Conferences Expenses: Become a Presenter Scheduled April 11