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How to Become a Paramedic in BC

Two Primary Care Paramedics standing outside an ambulance.

As a primary care paramedic, every day on the job matters. People turn to you during their worst moments, and your actions and decisions can save lives. To become a paramedic in BC takes a high level of fortitude and a strong drive to help others, but for those who pursue paramedicine, few careers are more rewarding.

If you are thinking about becoming a paramedic in BC, we are here to help! Learn more about what paramedics do, what you need to become a paramedic, the Primary Care Paramedic program at Sprott Shaw College, and much more below.

Looking for specific information? Use the handy table of contents below to find the section you are looking for:

What Do Primary Care Paramedics Do?

What Do I Need To Become a Paramedic in BC?

Choosing a Primary Care Paramedic Program

How Much Do Primary Care Paramedics Make?

Looking to speak to an advisor about becoming a primary care paramedic? Our team is always available to answer your questions. Click the button below to get in touch!

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What Do Primary Care Paramedics Do?

Primary care paramedics give pre-hospital emergency care and transport patients to hospitals. As part of BC’s system of emergency medical assistants (also known as EMAs), primary care paramedics handle the majority of 9-1-1 calls in BC. Operating mostly out of ambulances, paramedics experience a diverse and dynamic work environment due to the nature of their work. 

While handling emergencies is a major part of the primary care paramedic role, non-emergency situations are also common. Those working in the paramedicine field can also expect to help with transferring patients to and from treatment centres and hospitals and even provide in-home care to patients at risk of hospitalization (a practice also known as community paramedicine).

If you are looking for a fast-paced and rewarding career in medicine, becoming a paramedic may be the right career path for you!

Primary Care Paramedics loading a patient into an ambulance on a stretcher.

What Do I Need To Become a Paramedic in BC?

There are two major components needed to become a paramedic—training and capability. The latter can’t be understated—working as a paramedic can be challenging, and you can regularly expect to make difficult decisions on the fly. Soft skills can also go a long way to making a strong paramedic; communication skills matter, as does the ability to think critically under pressure. Your physical ability is also important; paramedics are constantly on the move and are required to lift patients when loading them into ambulances. Being a primary care paramedic can be an emotionally and physically demanding role, and it is important to ensure that individuals are up to the task.

The other major component of becoming a paramedic is training. In order to practice as a primary care paramedic, a recognized paramedic program must first be completed and a licensing exam must be passed. Paramedic training that is recognized by the Emergency Medical Assistants (EMA) Licensing Board is needed in order to take this licensing exam. Depending on the training program you take, there may be restrictions on your license if your program does not meet Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 requirements.

If you feel you have the aptitude for becoming a primary care paramedic, your next step is choosing a paramedic training program to prepare you for your licensing exam and the rest of your career.

Choosing a Primary Care Paramedic Program

Choosing a paramedic program is the first step towards starting your career as a primary care paramedic. One important aspect worth considering is Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certification requirements. Most primary care paramedic programs require an EMR certification before training can be started. Sprott Shaw College’s Primary Care Paramedic program is unique in that our program is designed for those who are brand-new to paramedicine to start their career. As such, there is no EMR certification requirement to start our program—instead, students learn EMR skills throughout their training.

When deciding on a paramedic program to pursue, it is critical to ensure that your chosen program is recognized by the EMA Licensing Board and meets the requirements for both Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 licensing. Recognition by the EMA Licensing Board is crucial as without it, graduates will be unable to take their licensing exam. Ensuring your program meets Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 licensing requirements is also important as programs that do not meet both requirements will result in restrictions on your license after taking your exam. Sprott Shaw’s Primary Care Paramedic program is recognized by the EMA Licensing Board and meets both Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 requirements.

A Primary Care Paramedic standing in front of an ambulance.

Preceptorships and practicums are major components of becoming a paramedic, and it is a good idea to see what sort of placements are provided by your chosen program. Our paramedic students will have placements with BC Emergency Health Services and local Health Authoritites. Unique to Sprott Shaw, preceptorships and practicums are woven throughout the curriculum so that students gain their practical experience during the program.

As the newest paramedic program in the province, Sprott Shaw College’s Primary Care Paramedic program is currently the most up-to-date training program available in BC. Our program is designed with a modern curriculum that emphasizes psychological care as much as critical care and features a multi-disciplinary approach that incorporates cultural sensitivities, soft skills such as patient communication, and more. If you are interested in learning more about Sprott Shaw’s Primary Care Paramedic program, simply click the button at the bottom of the page to get in touch with our advisors! 

How Much Do Primary Care Paramedics Make?

According to WorkBC, those working in the paramedicine field make an average annual salary of $64,800. Wages range from a low of $20/hr to a high of $40/hr depending on experience. How much paramedics make can depend heavily on hours. This position is often part-time or on-call, and paramedics can expect wages to fluctuate as such.

Paramedics also have the ability to raise their wages through additional training. With advanced training, Primary Care Paramedics can become Critical Care Paramedics and potentially raise their earning potential.

Ready to Become a Paramedic?

Ready to start your career as a paramedic? Learn more about the field and Sprott Shaw’s Primary Care Paramedic program by getting in touch with one of our advisors. Click the button below to reach out! 

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