Jobs in the paramedic service

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Being a paramedic


All primary care paramedics are graduates of a two-year post-secondary paramedicine diploma program. They focus on pre-hospital emergency medical assessments and delivery of sophisticated in-field treatments for medical and traumatic emergencies.

Program studies include; pharmacology, human biology, psychopathology, crisis intervention and, medical-legal issues, patient care procedures, pathophysiology, patient care practical laboratory, computer skills, communications skills, professional and leadership skills and emergency vehicle operations.

Upon graduation, students must write a 6-hour provincial exam. Successful candidates are awarded the provincial A-EMCA (Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant) certification, which permits full or part-time employment anywhere in Ontario.

Training for advanced care paramedics

Advanced care paramedics possess an additional year of post-secondary medical education and deliver care otherwise provided by a provincially certified physician. They can stop seizures, reverse a diabetic coma, return the heart to its normal rhythm, open airways for asthmatics and assure that anaphylactic reactions do not result in death.

Continuing education

The Province of Ontario mandates that all paramedics undergo yearly continuing medical education. Primary care paramedics must undergo 40 hours per year and 80 hours per year for advanced care paramedics.

Special operations

The Ottawa Paramedic Service Special Operations Section administers special teams of paramedics including a Bike Unit, Tactical Unit and Marine Unit. They use specialized equipment and have focused medical training. Their ultimate goal is to reduce response times and deliver specialized advanced medical care.

Becoming a paramedic

Paramedic services within Ontario must hire paramedics who have graduated from a recognised Paramedic program and have been allocated the A-EMCA designation.

Find out more about the day-to-day work of a paramedic.

There are three levels of paramedics in Ontario:

  • Primary Care Paramedics are graduates of a two-year college program.
  • Advanced Care Paramedics receive an additional year of medical education.
  • Critical Care Paramedics undertake additional medical training over and above that of Advanced Care Paramedic.

Many colleges in Ontario offer the two-year Paramedic program where students learn all aspects of medicine delivered in the pre-hospital field. Courses are offered in-class and in-field practical sessions conducted in hospital and with a Paramedic crew. Many colleges have adopted a hybrid model to deliver the curriculum, making use of broad-based Internet instructional modules.

The overall program curriculum offers courses in biology, medical and traumatic emergencies, psychology and communication courses, pharmacology, physical education and vehicle operation.

Prospective students are required to demonstrate personal skills in leadership, dedication and possess infinite amounts of compassion.

Immunization certificates, up-to-date CPR and First Aid, a valid Ontario class F driver’s licence and a police background check may also be required. Physical testing of prospective students is now required for most college admissions to the Paramedic program.

Please refer to your college’s admission requirement list for a complete list of documents.

Many Ontario colleges offer the training required to become a paramedic:

The following sites are available in French only:

Primary Care Paramedic (PCP)

Paramedics must be graduates of a two-year full-time Canadian Medical Association certified paramedic program offered by a recognized post-secondary institution.

Students enrolled in a paramedic studies program learn all aspects of emergency medical assessments, pre-diagnosis and up-to-date medical treatment protocols. Programs of study include a broad range of courses in; biology, pharmacology, patient assessment, medical-legal issues, management of medical and trauma patients, and emergency-vehicle operation. Paramedic students must also complete 500 hours of in-hospital and in-ambulance training. This hands-on experience provides students with real-world opportunities that help the student to develop and hone various skills in a wide range of clinical settings under the direct supervision of paramedics, nurses and doctors.

Paramedics must then be certified to become PCPs.

Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP)

Generally, a minimum of 2 years of experience in the paramedic field is required to qualify for training at the ACP level. The ACP program is 1 year in length and is considered a post-diploma program (1200 hours).

In addition to the PCP skill set, ACP providers are qualified to perform and/or use: advanced airway management including oral and nasotracheal intubation, laryngoscopy and removal of foreign body obstruction using MacGill forceps, mechanical ventilation, 12 lead ECG interpretation, synchronized cardioversion, manual defibrillation and external cardiac pacing, treatment of cardiac emergencies according to Heart & Stroke Foundation Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) guidelines, needle thoracostomy, and administration of the following emergency medications: Adenosine, ASA, Atropine, Diazepam, Dopamine, Dextrose, Epinephrine, Furosemide, Glucagon, Lidocaine, Naloxone, Nitroglycerine, Oxygen, Salbutamol, Sodium Bicarbonate and other medications (drug list may vary from one service to another).

Some of the above are controlled acts performed either under direct order from a Base Hospital Physician or by Standing Orders (protocols).

Becoming an Ambulance Communications Officer

Ambulance Communications Officers, also known as Emergency Medical Dispatchers, provide a re-assuring voice for those in need of urgent medical assistance. They are a crucial link between Paramedic Services and our community for all medical emergencies. They provide lifesaving pre-arrival medical instructions and ensure the most appropriate resources attend calls, playing a crucial role in providing our communities with the best care possible.

The smooth and efficient operation of Ottawa’s Central Ambulance Communications Centre is highly dependent on the dedication, expertise and professionalism of Ambulance Communications Officers.

Candidate requirements

Ambulance Communications Officers begin their careers at the City of Ottawa as Communications Officer Trainees.

Candidates for this position need:

  • To be fluently bilingual in English and French
  • One-year post-secondary education
  • Experience in customer service 


To obtain certification as an Ambulance Communications Officer, trainees are enrolled into the Province of Ontario’s Entry to Practice training course where they must pass a provincial exam. Afterwards, trainees will complete an in-house training program at Ottawa’s Central Ambulance Communications Centre. All mandatory training is paid-for.


Each Communications Officer Trainee receives one-on-one mentoring with an experienced Ambulance Communications Officer during their on-the-job training.

After becoming an Ambulance Communications Officer, individuals may consider becoming mentors themselves or participating in other forms of peer support.

Does this sound like the role for you?

Visit the Ottawa Paramedic Recruitment page to learn more about joining our team as a Communications Officer Trainee.