Primary Care Paramedics are among the most highly-skilled Emergency Medical Professionals. Real-life superheroes, they help people when they need the most and are on the frontline in most traumatic situations. Whilst many hope not to see them on their front door but to have them in times of distress is critical to patient survival.
There are a lot of misconceptions about paramedicine. Many aspirants ask us what it takes to become one? What does the job entail? Is it a good career for me?
Our Primary Care Paramedic program director, Christian Wishnousky, a seasoned advanced care paramedic and currently a superintendent in Peel Regional Paramedic Services sheds light on what you should know before you become a paramedic.
It’s Not Always Exciting: Paramedics work in high-stress situations and have to provide competent care. But unlike the reel world, the work is 95% boring calls and 5% chaos and stress. Patience is the key skill to succeed in the job.
Long Shifts: The shifts are 12 hours long, and that includes overnight weekends and holidays. A typical shift includes attending calls for assistance, maintaining ambulance and equipment, waiting with a patient at the hospital until the nursing staff can take over and study or meal between calls.
Approach Matters: You have to have a positive approach to life to survive the job. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are, your attitude impacts the behaviour and ultimately, the job. You will have to deal with drunks, overdoses and uncooperative patients, but a positive approach can narrow down the difficult communication and smoothen the care process.
Everything is an Emergency: Always remember that what is an “emergency” to you is not the same as what the public sees as an emergency.
Work Environment: We are in Canada, and we have to work outside no matter if it’s cold, wet, hot or slippery. However, it is also blue skies, warm and beautiful.
Not a Boring Job: You will not be repeating the same tasks in and out. Every day is different, one day you might be rushing through the shift handling trauma victims another day you are helping someone through anxiety. Whatever the case, you will never experience the same routine.
Being a paramedic is a career, not a job: When you train , you train for life. You will go through challenging situations, learn new things every day and increase your knowledge which in fact you can use in real-life situations.
Don’t Hesitate: As a newbie you may feel uncertain at times or cannot be trusted alone with the patients, it is completely normal. In fact, the best way to get over the fear is to smile, speak with confidence and if you’re not sure, ask another medic.
Big Bucks: The pay is excellent, and don’t forget that when you’re busy on the job. Your career is going to be what you make of it, and if you enjoy the work, it will keep you motivated.
Part of a Large Family: When you become a paramedic, you join a family. As a family, there are odd uncles and annoying siblings. We have arguments, and we also have lots of laughs. Try and remember, we are all in the same family, so have some understanding of each other.
Paramedic Academy, Mississauga has trained 100+ aspiring applicants who have been placed successfully in Peel Regional Paramedic Services, Toronto Paramedic Services and Hamilton Paramedic Services. Get started as a Primary Care Paramedic with us!
If you want a career which involves helping others, primary care paramedic would be your best choice. Primary care paramedics (PCPs) are trained healthcare professionals that provide pre-hospital care and transport patients to hospital for further medical care.
Working in a fast-paced environment, a primary care paramedic works in a team environment and has to go through to extensive training.
Primary care paramedic is the level 1 profile in emergency care services. With additional training and experience, one can advance a career within the field. Check out the future careers for Primary Care Paramedics.
What are the requirements to become a Primary Care Paramedic in Ontario?
Education – Diploma Program
To become a primary care paramedic, you need to obtain at least a diploma credential. PCP diploma program will help you gain the required theoretical and practical skills needed to succeed in the field.
In class, students learn the theory like anatomy, pharmacology and psychology. Through lab sessions, students learn how to assess injuries and administer pre-hospital care and transport patients safely.
Graduate of Primary Care Paramedic diploma program is eligible to write the provincial certification exam, the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (A-EMCA). Offered three times per year by the Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, successful completion of this exam is required to be eligible for employment as a PCP in Ontario.
Students are tested on Basic and Advanced Life Support Patient Care Standards and the Pre-hospital Care syllabus. The study guide and sample questions for A-EMCA.
Driving an Ambulance
Driving an ambulance is part of the primary care paramedics’ job. In Ontario, you need a Class F license to drive an ambulance. You will be taking both a knowledge test and a road test to get the license.
It is mandatory that you have a good driving record and should not have received four or more demerit points in the year before you start work.
Physical Fitness & Mental Strength
As a primary care paramedic, you will need to lift people, handle heavy stretchers and to kneel down a lot. You need to be physically fit and should have the strength to carry the objects weighing at least 100 pounds.
Paramedics go through stressful situations regularly, thus need to be mentally strong. Ability to stay calm and communicate effectively in tough situations will go a long way in this career.
Paramedic Academy, Mississauga offers 60-week fast track diploma program for aspiring primary care paramedics. Our extensive curriculum is designed to prepare students for the provincial certification – A-EMCA. Practical experience via hospital placements and ambulance ride-outs under the supervision of active paramedics give students an edge during the interview process.
Primary Care Paramedic is a frontline healthcare worker that offer support during emergency medical situations. Working alongside police officers and firefighters, primary care paramedic provides pre-hospital care.
Not everyone is suited to work in this challenging field and students considering a career as a primary care paramedic should possess certain specific qualities.
Here are 6 qualities that primary care paramedic needs to be successful:
Ability to work in a Team
Paramedics work in a team within themselves and often with multiple agencies on the scene. Paramedics need to have a coordinated effort to achieve the best outcome for the patient.
Great Problem-Solving Skills
There is rarely a textbook scenario, and paramedics will find themselves in most challenging situations. Ability to navigate through unpredictable scenarios and find creative solutions is a must. Assessing and diagnosing patients rationally and using best judgement to find effective solutions.
Ability to Stay Calm
Becoming a Primary Care Paramedic means you are signing up for a stressful job. The ability to handle stressful situations calmly, make critical decisions in the midst of chaos is part of the job. As a paramedic, one should be able to stay focused on the treatment and not give in to the pressure.
Physical Fitness and Strength
Paramedics go through a lot of sitting, kneeling, bending and fast face movement on the job. Paramedics may have to pull, lift or push patients of all sizes, this requires physical strength. As a primary care paramedic, one must be both physically and mentally fit to stay sharp on the job.
Good Communication Skills
Paramedics have to communicate with patients, family members and medical professionals in high-stress situations. Good interpersonal and instructional skills are an essential part of the job. Ability to calm the patients, make them feel comfortable and good listening skills are highly appreciated.
Emergencies can happen anytime, and primary care paramedic works in an unstructured work environment. One must be open to change and be adaptive to changing situations. From routine calls to life-threatening emergencies, paramedics should be ready to handle them at any given point of time.
Open to Learning
Paramedics train for life and will experience new things on the job. It is good to be book smart, but one should be open to learning new techniques which can help them become effective healthcare professional. Situational awareness and attention to details is a necessity.
Do you think you possess these qualities? Well, Primary Care Paramedic may be the right career choice for you.
Paramedic Academy of BizTech College offers a unique combination of classroom, lab training, and ambulance ride-outs will help you gain a solid foundation and versatile skill-set required on- the- job.
Small class size offers individual attention and interactive learning under the guidance of practising paramedics, registered nurses and health science educators. Know more about our Primary Care Paramedic fast track diploma program.
Becoming a paramedic is a dream come true for many and excellent career choice.
Paramedics are first responders to emergency situations, apart from providing initial medical care, they are responsible for transporting patients safely to a medical facility. They play a crucial part in the healthcare system of Canada.
Like with any career, becoming a paramedic has its pros and cons. Let’s have a read:
Pros of Being a Paramedic
One of the biggest pros of being a paramedic is that you will be helping people every day. Paramedics see people at their worst, in desperate times. Beyond the medical assistance, what tops the chart is the genuine compassion of paramedics. Kind words and reassurance to victims in tough times goes a long way. It is a personally rewarding experience.
Variety in Work
No two days will be the same for a paramedic. One day you will be assisting a person who fell down the stairs, and the next day you may have to handle a critical patient in a car accident. People who don’t want to fit in nine-to-five job routine, becoming a paramedic is the best option.
Jack of All Trades
Paramedics are trained in all aspect’s cardiology, respiratory management, trauma, burns, strokes, pediatric and cardiac emergencies. Additionally, they can administer IV and medicines, use a defibrillator and draw blood. Paramedics understand many medical routines and are ready for any sort of emergency. Not only it is excellent on-the-job but also helps in personal life.
Toronto Paramedic Services is the largest municipal Paramedic Service in Canada. In fact, demand for paramedics is growing, Job Bank Canada has given employment outlook 3 stars, highest for the outlook for the 2019-2021 period for overall Ontario.
Being a paramedic doesn’t mean you will be stuck in the same career forever. With experience and additional training, paramedics have various career advancement opportunities within the field and can choose for alternative employment as well. Checkout 10 amazing careers for Primary Care Paramedics.
Paramedics in Canada, especially Ontario, earn well. The average pay for Paramedics in Ontario is C$38 per hour and in Toronto is C$42 per hour. The wages are proportional to education and experience one has. Paramedics can also work part-time, which gives them to earn additional income.
Paramedics work as a part of a strong team, which gives them a sense of belongingness. The healthy work relationships and being part of a more significant community gives them support in both personal and professional lives.
Well Respected Profession
Gone the days when paramedics were considered just ambulance drivers. Paramedics are highly regarded in society, and career overall is seen positively. The amount of training and expertise paramedics have reflected through their work. People trust first responders when they need help the most.
Cons of Being a Paramedic
While becoming a paramedic has its rewards, it can take a toll on individuals. From a highly stressful situation to working long hours, one can be overwhelmed and feel burned out. Some of the most common cons of being a paramedic include:
First responders are in the middle of stressful situations. While everyone around is in shock and incapable of action, paramedics need to be focused, direct and at times forceful. High-stress fatigue can cause people to gradually become jaded with the profession.
Paramedics work in long shifts and have the least amount of sleep. Many times, they have to take upshift and do for more than 24 hours.
High Risk of Injury or Illnesses
Paramedics are at increased risk of coming in contact with bodily fluids and often come across patients with infectious diseases. Although all precautionary measures are taken, it is possible to be infected on the job. Also, paramedics are involved in heavy lifting, kneeling and bending, they are susceptible to injuries.
No Family Time
Paramedics work in shifts, which means they don’t have a regular schedule to spend enough time with family. Many of them miss important holidays Christmas, Thanksgiving and family occasions like birthdays and anniversaries. A paramedic must have an understanding with family members to do their job.
Lack of Passion
Seeing ailing, hurt and dying people on a daily basis can be difficult, leading to burnout among paramedics. Doing what you don’t love, can increase the stress on the job, which leads to one changing career paths.
Pros of being a paramedic definitely outweigh the cons. However, one planning to enter the field has to take into account all possibilities.
If you are passionate, committed and willing to take the step, Paramedic Academy of BizTech College will help you all the way. Approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, our Primary Care Paramedic diploma program is fast-tracked.
Apart from medical training, our students go through extensive lab training and ambulance ride-outs. Practicum and clinical placements provide real-time learning alongside active paramedics.
Ready to become a Paramedic in Ontario? We have three intakes in January, May and September. Get started!
Choosing to become a paramedic is a strong career choice. Paramedics are in demand, and the need for frontline healthcare workers will be on the rise in Ontario.
A paramedic helps people every single day, and it is, in fact, a rewarding career. Primary Care Paramedic can branch out as firefighter, police medic, military medic, offshore medic and crew management.
Some of the reasons for switching careers may include:
Regular Hours – Paramedics work long shifts; they may work 24 hours at a time. That schedule can work for some; however, some may crave for a traditional nine-to-five job.
A Bigger Paycheck – Paramedics earn a good salary, with salaries ranging from the C$30/hr to C$60/hr. But a change in personal life such as starting a family can motivate to seek higher compensation.
Stress – Paramedics work in a stressful environment. They may experience burnout for numerous reasons and reach a point that a drastic change is required.
Safety – All healthcare jobs come with some level of risk, especially for personnel working on the frontlines. However, the unpredictability and uncertain conditions can take a physical and emotional toll on seasoned paramedics.
Career Advancement Opportunities for Paramedics Within the Field
Advanced Care Paramedics – With additional training, Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) can gain advanced knowledge and skills to work as a leader in emergency situations. Advance Care Paramedic (ACP) can administer advanced medical treatment with ambulance services.
Part of the Special Operations Division, PCPs can have additional training to work in specialized environments with allied partners.
Paramedic Tactical Unit (PTU) – The primary mission of this unit is to provide emergency medical in the field to police or citizens. They work in high-risk situations such as active shooters incidents, hostage situations, high-risk search warrants and more. Primary Care Paramedics have to pass a stringent intake process.
Paramedic Marine Unit (PMU): They support citizens and police officers in the marine environment. The three mandates include dive operations, river patrol and water rescue operations.
Paramedic Response Unit (PRU): Within the regular operations branch, PRU provide rapid response to code 4 life-threatening emergency calls. They can also be deployed for providing lift assists or general assistance on high acuity calls.
Paramedic Support Unit (PSU): The PSU provides specialized medical coverage in Search and Rescue, Public Order and Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear and explosive. They go through rigorous physical and mental training.
Flight Paramedic: One of the most exciting profiles, they work in aeromedical emergencies, transports and evacuation. They are responsible for recovering or stabilizing the patient while in transport to a medical facility.
Community Paramedics: A certified paramedic specializes in assisting people in managing social and health problems. They visit patients at home and check vitals, review medications and assess the living conditions for any hazards.
Career Opportunities for Paramedics in Related Fields
Paramedics learn the skills for life. The training you have can help you change your career in a related field or work in the same domain but in a different setting. Some of the exciting careers include:
Emergency Room Technician (ER Tech): Similar to an emergency medical technician, they offer the first line of medical care after an illness or injury. They work in hospitals or clinic emergency rooms.
Physician’s Assistant (PA): Due to prior experience, paramedics make a prime candidate to apply for physician’s assistant courses. PAs work alongside doctors, surgeons and nurses as a part of the medical team.
Contract Medic: Plenty of private companies recruit their own medical response team. First responders are needed in many businesses such as event management companies, amusement parks, cruises, movie sets, concerts and festivals. Many of these jobs are contractual.
Offshore Medic: Oil rigs personnel work in a high-risk environment. They are usually hours away from land and run a considerable risk of injury. A medic onboard provides the emergency treatment. Offshore medics work on the rig in 12-hour shifts.
Industrial Medic: Many industrial companies such as car manufacturers, construction companies need first responders on site. They perform the same duties as an emergency medical responder.
Apart from the careers mentioned above, Paramedics can work in any healthcare-related field with additional training.
Paramedic Academy of BizTech College offers extensive training to become a Primary Care Paramedic and Emergency Medical Responder in Ontario.
Are you ready to start a rewarding career? Enrol Today!
Canada expects to see continued growth in employment for a paramedic in Ontario, especially for nontraditional roles in hospital emergency rooms, community care instead of ambulances.
The perception from the public has changed over time, from ambulance drivers to essential frontline healthcare workers, has led to a rapid increase in paramedic applicants.
Toronto EMS is the largest paramedic employer in Canada, and demand in Northern Ontario is also rising. Currently, a paramedic in Ontario works for any of the 51 municipal paramedic services regulated under the Ambulance Act (1990) and Regulations.
How to Become a Paramedic in Ontario?
Before we discuss education and training, there are some basic requirements to become a paramedic:
Must be a High School graduate – Biology and Science
Applicant must be at least 18 years of age
Be able to read, write and speak in English
Be physically fit and able to lift
Must be free from all communicable diseases
Must have current immunizations and should possess proof of immunity.
Must have at least G license before starting the training and should have Class F Ontario driver’s license before the completion of the training program.
Becoming a paramedic in Ontario involves four steps:
Education and Training
The paramedic training program is rigorous. Many community colleges offer the two-year program, and few career colleges also offer fast-track diploma programs. The curriculum consists of both theoretical and clinical training at hospitals, fire departments and ambulance base. Paramedic students learn anatomy, physiology, advanced life support, basic trauma support and pediatric life support. First Aid & CPR are prerequisites for paramedic programs, but many institutes include that in training.
Provincial Certification Exam
To become a paramedic, every student must successfully pass the provincial certification exam – Advanced Emergency Medical Care Attendant (A-EMCA)
Upon becoming provincially licensed AEMCA, one may apply to work in EMS. For Peel Regional Paramedic Services, all potential paramedic recruits take part in the Centralized Paramedic Competency Recruitment Testing.
Once employed, new recruits have to successfully complete a certification exam by a local base hospital physician. This is essential to perform delegate medical acts under the doctor’s authority.
Once you are successfully employed, you must recertify annually in defibrillation, drug administration and CPR. It is mandatory to maintain a valid Class F Ontario driver’s license, and be free from communicable diseases.
If you want to become a Paramedic in Ontario, Paramedic Academy – Mississauga is your best bet!
Paramedic Academy of BizTech College is committed to training aspiring paramedic professionals. Approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, our Primary Care Paramedic program is dynamic and career-focused.
Practical learning under the supervision of active paramedics and industry certified professionals, give students access to knowledge and expertise required on-the-job.