This unit group includes workers who administer pre-hospital emergency medical care to patients with injuries or medical illnesses and transport them to hospitals or other medical facilities for further medical care. Paramedics who are supervisors are included in this unit group.
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People in this occupation:
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 1,270
Workers in this group:
Emergency medical assistants usually have a higher or more specialized level of training than first aid attendants.
Most emergency medical assistants in B.C. work for the BC Ambulance Service. Full-time paramedics work assigned shifts. Part-time paramedics work on call, depending on need, scheduling and availability. The BC Ambulance Service hires EMRs only on a part-time, on-call basis. Since services are provided 24 hours per day, weekend, evening and holiday work is required. Workers may also have to work some overtime.
Some emergency medical assistants work in hospitals and in industrial settings such as oilfields. These workers work assigned shifts and may have to work weekends and holidays.
Paramedics work both indoors and outdoors in a physically demanding job. Workers spend a great deal of time standing, kneeling, bending and lifting patients in stretchers.
For many first aid attendants, providing first aid is not their primary responsibility, but is combined with the other duties and responsibilities of their jobs. Therefore, this occupation is not always a full-time job. Those first aid attendants who work full-time in high-risk workplaces and those who drive industrial ambulances may also have to work weekends and holidays. Some full-time first aid attendants may work seasonally in industries that operate outdoors.
Workers in this occupational group may be exposed to contagious or potentially dangerous diseases, so precautionary measures are taken to reduce these risks.
While work can be physically demanding, as well as emotionally stressful, many find these occupations to be both challenging and rewarding.
Source: 2016 Census
Employment requirements for workers in this occupational group vary based on the occupation and the employer.
There are four different levels within the EMA occupation nationally, relating to the level of training a worker has completed:
In B.C., there are five practitioner levels within the EMA occupation:
Critical care paramedics and infant transport team paramedics are specialized teams within the BC Ambulance Service.
Emergency medical responder (EMR) requires a 105-hour entry-level training program in emergency patient care and transportation. Primary care paramedic (PCP) requires a six-month (including practicum) certificate program. Advanced care paramedics (ACP) must complete an 18-month diploma program. Critical care paramedic (CCP) and infant transport team (ITT) are the highest levels of paramedic certification within B.C. The CCP program training in B.C. is currently only accessible to advanced care paramedics. The requirement for infant transport team training is PCP certification plus clinical experience.
All levels of EMAs are governed by the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board. In order to be licensed in the province, graduates with certificates from a recognized training agency must complete the appropriate licensing requirements, which include a practical evaluation and, where applicable, a written exam.
Paramedics (PCPs and ACPs) and emergency medical responders (EMRs):
Applicants for EMA positions of all levels:
First aid attendants working in industrial or other settings:
Occupational first aid courses that are recognized by WorkSafeBC range in length from one day to 70 hours. They include a Transportation Endorsement for Level 1 and 2 Occupational First Aid attendants. Graduates must pass written, oral and practical examinations. WorkSafeBC recognizes an EMR licence as meeting Occupational First Aid Level 3 requirements in the workplace.
For information on EMR and paramedic training, please see the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board website at www.health.gov.bc.ca/ema.
For information on first aid attendant training, see the WorkSafeBC website at https://www.worksafebc.com/en/health-safety/education-training-certification/first-aid-attendant.
Those who are certified for an occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
For details on how to apply for certification in B.C., contact WorkSafe BC and/or the Ministry of Health: Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board of BC.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
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Most of the opportunities will come from the need to replace retiring workers.
The creation of new jobs for paramedics reflects the fact that B.C.'s population is both growing and aging, which is leading to greater demand for emergency medical services. Paramedics are now being used increasingly outside the traditional pre-hospital setting. Some provide care in hospitals and in industry settings.
There may be increased demand for advanced care level paramedics in hospital emergency room settings and for rural health-care teams because of their greater scope of practice.
The majority of first aid attendants provide first aid services as one aspect of their job. Industry sources indicate there are many qualified first aid attendants in the labour market and that getting a full-time position as a first aid attendant is difficult. Those interested in working as first aid attendants must have other skills they can apply in an office or on a job site in addition to first aid skills.
New graduates typically get positions as primary care paramedics in both industry and with the BC Ambulance Service. However, new roles are emerging for primary care paramedic graduates in B.C. as emergency room attendants in hospitals.
In Canada, the highest level of certification paramedics can pursue through advanced training is the critical care paramedic (CCP). Some paramedics may also choose careers in other emergency services or health-care fields by completing additional training.
With further training and considerable work experience, workers in this occupational group may be able to work as supervisors, operations managers or senior administrators. Other related careers include dispatcher, instructor and salesperson of emergency medical equipment.
First aid attendants with Occupational First Aid Level 3 qualification may take an Occupational First Aid to Emergency Medical Responder (OFA-EMR) bridging course to qualify to apply for EMR licensing in B.C. First aid attendants may also choose a career in occupational health and safety.