A paramedic, otherwise known as an ambulance assistant is a medical professional that attends to emergency medical situations of persons who are injured or ill, their services are usually provided in a setting outside the hospital before the person reaches the hospital. They are also responsible for the safe transportation of these patients to a higher level of care.
To become a paramedic in Ontario, you will need to have a high school diploma, attend a certified Ontario college paramedic program and earn a paramedic diploma, meet the physical and medical requirements, and earn certifications as required by the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (A-EMCA).
The job of a paramedic is usually specific to the circumstance at hand. However, a paramedic is responsible for:
- Provide immediate medical help such as bleeding control or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
- Assess a patient’s condition quickly and efficiently decide the best course of treatment
- Transport the patient safely using an ambulance
- Assist sick or injured individuals with first aid or life support
- Transfer patients to the hospital emergency room or another healthcare facility
- Report how they met the patient at arrival to the science and also report what they did to the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare personnel in charge
- Document the medical treatment they gave to the patient
How to Become a Paramedic in Ontario?
The requirements needed to become a paramedic vary and they are regulated by the laid down rules and regulations of each state. It is however necessary to note that the basic requirements that remain constant include; getting a formal education, earning basic life support certification as well as your driver’s license, and also enrolling in a paramedic program.
There are however three levels of a paramedic in Ontario:
- Level 1 Primary care paramedic (PCP) – A college graduate of the paramedic program
- Level 2 Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP) – 1-year post-diploma program after being a PCP.
- Level 3 Critical Care Paramedic (CCP) – this is the broadest scope of paramedic practice and it is an additional 2 years after being an ACP.
You, therefore, need to be a primary care paramedic before you can further into other levels. If you are looking into being a primary care paramedic in Ontario, these are the steps you will need to follow:
Earn a High School Diploma
To start your career path as a paramedic in Ontario, you must first attend a high school to get basic formal education and then earn a high school diploma with a focus on English and Science courses.
After graduating from high school, you must enroll in a college paramedic program but prior to that, you will need to get some major certifications e.g.:
- Current standard first Aid certificate or its equivalent
- Current CPR (c) – Basic Rescuer level certificate or its equivalent
Also, before enrolling in college, you will be required to meet some medical requirements and also get a class ‘F’ driver’s license. The medical requirements include:
- You must have all current immunizations up to date
- You must be communicable disease-free
- You must also meet the vision, hearing, and physical fitness standards.
Enroll in a College Paramedic Program
After earning your Ontario Secondary School Diploma (or its equivalent) and also meeting up with the above certifications and requirements, you will need to enroll in a paramedic program at a certified Ontario college. The program offers courses in the paramedic field which educates the students with the abilities, skills, and knowledge they will need to succeed in this difficult but rewarding field. You will also learn how to deal with medical emergency situations and also how to deliver pre-hospital healthcare.
You will also be taught the interpersonal skills needed to be a good paramedic e.g. good communication skills, good listening skills, strong attention for detail, excellent problem-solving skills, etc.
Examples of colleges that take paramedic programs are; Algonquin college, Cambrian college, Fleming college, Georgian college, Humber college, Ontario college of health and technology, etc., and it usually takes about 2 years to complete the program.
Pass the Certification Exam
After successful completion of your college paramedic program, you will have to sit for and pass the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (AEMCA) Certification examination which is regulated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term care (MOHLTC).
The AEMCA examination which cost about $250 for registration is available in English and French and it tests knowledge and skills in the following categories:
- Anatomy & physiology
- And several subcategories including burns, defibrillation, trauma, triage, etc.
After completion of the examination, you will need to have a minimum of 70% to be eligible for employment as a Primary Care Paramedic in Ontario, then you can further progress to become an Advanced Care Paramedic and even a Critical Care Paramedic as you gain more experience in the workforce.
Requirements of a Paramedic in Ontario
- Must have an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or its equivalent
- Must have a current standard first Aid certificate or its equivalent
- Must have a current CPR (c) certificate – basic rescuer level certificate or its equivalent
- Must have a Class F driver’s license
- Must be communicable disease-free and meet all other medical requirements
- Must be physically fit and be able to lift
- Must be at least 18 years old before beginning the training program
- Must graduate from a college paramedic program
- Must pass the advanced emergency medical care assistant program
How much does a paramedic earn in Ontario?
Although salaries fluctuate, the average paramedic in Ontario earns about $41 per hour while some earn as high as $47 per hour, and some earn as low as $35 an hour. This variation is due to the level of education, years of experience, location, additional skills, and certificates earned.
Are paramedics in demand in Ontario?
Yes, paramedics are in demand in Ontario and the employment outlook is good as there is a projected increase of 11% from 2020 till 2030 which is faster than the national average for all jobs. The expected increase in employment demands is due to the increasing and aging population and the high rate of retirement which leads to high replacement demand.