What Do You Need to Become a Paramedic in Canada?
If you're looking to become a paramedic in Canada, there are several prerequisites that you must meet. A career as a paramedic requires dedication and hard work, but the average salary and benefits make it an appealing option to many who work in healthcare and other medical fields. Here are six things you need to become a paramedic in Canada.
1) Paramedic Diploma
Getting a paramedic diploma is your minimum requirement and one of the many steps you will need to take to become a paramedic. It's important to remember that these types of paramedic degrees are different from EMT-B certification. As such, you must make sure that you understand the difference before taking any classes or making any decisions about your future career path. In Canada, there are many paramedic programs available. The best way to find out which one is best for you is to research what each school and program offers and then contact them directly to explore the potential.
2) CPR Certification
CPR training is another important first step in becoming a paramedic. Many organizations require CPR certification as part of the hiring process. But even if it’s not required, being certified will give you an edge over other candidates who haven’t already completed this process.
CPR training can be found at many community colleges and technical schools, or even local businesses. The Red Cross also offers CPR training courses. They are inexpensive, last only two hours, and include a test. CPR training can also be obtained through various online programs.
3) Must Be Free of Communicable Diseases
Being a paramedic is one of the most satisfying jobs in the world, but it's not for everyone. To become a paramedic, you need to be comfortable with blood and other bodily fluids, able to multitask on your feet and have an outgoing personality. You will be dealing with life or death situations, and this requires a certain level of personal responsibility.
A paramedic should not be diagnosed with communicable diseases, as this has the potential to harm others due to the nature of the job. In Canada, this includes hepatitis B or C, HIV/AIDS, herpes simplex virus (HSV), tuberculosis (TB), or any infections that can be passed through the air such as influenza.
Applicants must not have had surgery where they may have come into contact with infectious materials in the last three months. Those who live with someone who has been diagnosed with a communicable disease will not be eligible to be a paramedic, either. If the applicant is in close contact with someone who has a communicable disease, they must not have lived in the same household for more than three months during the past year, slept within two meters of each other at night, or shared personal items like eating utensils.
4) EMT Certification
To become a paramedic in Canada, you will need to get certified as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). The process of becoming an EMT can vary slightly from province to province, but generally speaking, you will need to complete an accredited EMT program and pass a certification exam.
Once you are certified, you will be able to apply for paramedic positions. However, it is important to note that not all jurisdictions require paramedics to have previous experience as EMTs. For example, Ontario requires anyone who has completed the necessary training and passed the exams as a paramedic without prior experience. It may also be mandated that applicants take the Canadian National Occupational Competency Assessment Examination and provide two references. Keep in mind, that these requirements may change at any time so it's best to do your research before applying.
5) Learn How to Drive Ambulances
To become a paramedic in Canada, you will need more than a valid driver's license - you’ll also have to drive an ambulance. This will include passing the written provincial exam as well as the practical skills test. The cost of these tests varies depending on the province where you are looking to work. In some cases, you may be able to find grants to take these courses. For example, in Ontario, both the written provincial exam and practical skills test cost $75 each. In Alberta, the written provincial exam costs $60 though the practical skills test is free if you complete a course with Alberta Ambulance Services Association. If you do not take this course, then you will need to take the Provincial Exam and pay $150 for it.
6) Fluency in English
To become a paramedic in Canada, you must be able to read, write and speak English fluently. This is because paramedicine is a regulated profession in Canada, which means that all paramedics must meet certain standards to be licensed. Fluency in English is one of those standards because it's the main language used by paramedics.
More Than Schooling
These are the six things you need to become a paramedic in Canada. It is an important job and it requires a lot of dedication. There is so much responsibility that comes with the job. Becoming a paramedic takes work, but it can be really rewarding too.