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Emergency Medical Technologist-Paramedic (EMT-P)

Alberta Health Services: providing quality, patient-focused care in your community.

Would this career be a good fit for me?

If you have the following traits, this may be a career choice for you:

  • Desire to help people who are injured or ill
  • Ability to reassure patients and remain composed and focused during stressful times
  • Strong leadership, decision-making and communication skills
  • Thrive in a fast-paced and unpredictable environment
  • Work well with others in a team atmosphere
  • Want a physically active job

What does this job look like at Alberta Health Services?

Paramedics are often the first responders at scenes where people are in need of emergency medical care. They administer pre-hospital medical care, which may include stabilizing an injured or ill person who needs to be transported via ambulance to health care facilities for further treatment. Paramedics are responsible for assessing a patient’s condition to determine the extent of his or her injury or illness and immediate care needs. They carry out their roles within a defined scope of practice that includes the provision of advanced life support procedures such as intubation and suturing.

Paramedics check and monitor vital signs, measure blood glucose levels and use other diagnostic procedures. They perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), provide oxygen, administer medications including intravenous (IV) treatments, perform bandaging and splinting, assist in childbirth and provide initial treatment to trauma patients. In addition, paramedics may provide leadership and work guidance to other emergency medical services personnel and health care workers.

What is the work life like?

Paramedics often work in highly stressful emergency situations. Their work is performed before a patient reaches a hospital and within health care facilities. At some sites, much of their time may be spent in ambulances, transporting injured or ill people to hospitals, urgent care centres or other health facilities. In other locations, paramedics provide care to patients in an emergency room setting. Paramedics play an important role as members of the interprofessional health care team. In the course of their work, they collaborate with other emergency medical personnel, physicians, nurses and other health professionals.

Paramedics may work full-time or part-time hours or on a call-in (casual) basis. They can apply for positions that are permanent, temporary or casual depending on department and facility needs. Shift schedules may include a combination of day, evening, night, weekend and holiday shifts, as well as on-call duty.

Paramedics spend a lot of time standing, reaching, walking, crouching and bending during their shifts. They are required to lift and transport patients and equipment. At times, they may be in awkward positions while providing assessment and care to ill and injured people. Paramedics may be exposed to chemicals, bodily fluids, needle sticks and other potential safety risks while on the job. To avoid infection, injury and ensure the safety of patients and co-workers, paramedics practise safe work procedures.

What are the educational requirements?

Paramedics need to be licensed by the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP). To meet the licensing requirements, individuals need to have completed a recognized post-secondary emergency medical technology program or equivalent. This instruction is the last of three educational steps that typically take about three to four years to complete in total. After finishing their education, individuals must pass a Provincial Registration Exam to register to practice in Alberta.

What are the salary and benefits?

Paramedics at Alberta Health Services are also referred to as EMT – Paramedics (short for emergency medical technologist – paramedics). They are represented by a union called the Health Sciences Association of Alberta, commonly called HSAA. Alberta Health Services and HSAA have an employment contract called a collective agreement that applies to most Alberta Health Services paramedics.

The pay scale for paramedics ranges from $33.33 to $43.87 per hour for more experienced paramedics. In addition, hourly premiums may apply for evening, weekend and holiday work.

Paramedics also get paid vacation time and a comprehensive Employee and Family Assistance Program paid for by Alberta Health Services. Depending on the number of hours and type of position, other benefits can include paid sick time, supplementary health and dental coverage, vision care, insurances (life, accidental death and dismemberment and short-term and long-term disability) and a flexible spending account.

For more information about this profession, please visit Alberta Learning Information Services (ALIS).