How to Become a Paramedic in Ontario|6 Best Steps

Searching for how to become a paramedic in Ontario? Then this is the right article for you to digest.

When we talk about health care occupations that have great options, or when we talk about individuals who want to become a medical caregiver but are not interested in becoming either a doctor or a nurse, a career as a paramedic might be the best option to consider.

In this article, we will talk about medical caregivers and we will go ahead to list the necessary steps on how to become a paramedic in Ontario with ease.

What is a paramedic?

A paramedic is a licensed healthcare professional who provides emergency medical care for critically ill or injured patients.

As first responders, they are typically the health care professionals who arrive first when there is an accident or emergency. When they come, they stabilize the victims for safe transport to a nearby clinic or hospital.

Furthermore, paramedics often work in pairs, with one person driving the ambulance and another caring for the patient during the transport.

The team may comprise two paramedics, or a paramedic and an emergency medical technician (EMT).

Paramedics spend a lot of their time on the road responding to emergency calls or transporting patients.

Apart from Ambulances, other places they can work include Airplanes and Helicopters.

As you can see, there are many career options available to a paramedic besides working in a hospital setting.

They can work as firefighter-paramedics or work for rescue services, such as ocean rescue. Children’s camp programs and private ambulance services also need paramedics.

What Does a Paramedic Do?

Some of the daily responsibilities of a paramedic include:

Staffing and sometimes driving ambulances, as well as other emergency vehicles.

Assessing patients, making diagnoses, and providing emergency treatment.

They complete patient care records and reports for each emergency response.

They use specialist equipment during treatments, such as ventilators or defibrillators.

Administering intravenous infusions, as well as pain relief.

Informing medical staff at a hospital about a patient’s condition and the treatment they have provided.

Maintaining all available equipment and ensuring that they are in a very good working condition.

Keeping ambulances or other work environments clean and restocking instruments and supplies.

Job prospects Paramedic in Ontario

Job opportunities for paramedical occupations are good in Ontario over the next 3 years.

These job prospects are also applicable to people working as a paramedic.

According to, the employment outlook will be good in Ontario for the 2021 to 2023 period.

There will be employment growth and this will lead to a moderate number of new positions.

Population growth and a steadily aging population are expected to increase the need for emergency medical care services.

What Other Information Will I Find Helpful?

Certification by the Ontario Ministry of Health is required for paramedics.

There are three levels of paramedics in Ontario which we will talk about shortly.

Positions for paramedics often require irregular hours and may be physically demanding.

Approximately 11,900 people work in this occupation.

Paramedical occupations mainly work in sectors like:

  • Ambulatory health care services (NAICS 621): 54%

  • Local, municipal, regional, aboriginal and other public administration (NAICS 913-919): 30%

  • Hospitals (NAICS 622): 6%

The distribution of full-time and part-time workers in this occupation is in the following format:

  • Full-time workers: 90% compared to 79% for all occupations.

  • Part-time workers: 10% compared to 21% for all occupations.

76% of paramedical occupations work all year, while 24% work only part of the year, compared to 63% and 37% respectively among all occupations.

Those who worked only part of the year did so for an average of 32 weeks compared to 31 weeks for all occupations.

Furthermore, less than 5% of paramedical occupations are self-employed compared to an average of 12% for all occupations.

Essential Skills For Paramedics

Paramedics deal with emergency situations on a day-to-day basis. To successfully navigate the pressures and challenges that accompany this job, paramedics ideally need the following:

  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Physical strength
  • Ability to remain calm
  • Empathy
  • Strong communication skills

Excellent problem-solving skills

A paramedic’s job is unpredictable. When they arrive at an emergency, they have to evaluate the patient quickly and take action with the best treatment.

Physical strength

Paramedics need enough strength and dexterity to lift patients and do a lot of kneeling and bending.

Ability to remain calm

Paramedics need to be calm and collected in stressful situations. This is because a paramedic’s action can mean the difference between life and death.


Paramedics work with patients and families, as well as friends who are often in distress.

Paramedics need to provide these people with emotional support in challenging situations.

Strong communication skills

Paramedics need to communicate procedures to their patients and exchange vital information with their teams.

Paramedics need to communicate procedures to their patients and exchange vital information with their teams.

They also need the capacity to listen to their patients as that can help them make correct diagnoses and provide proper treatment.

What Types of Employers Are Out There?

  • Ambulance service providers
  • Municipal governments
  • Hospitals

Job Titles for Paramedics

  • paramedic emergency medical technician

  • emergency medical technician, paramedic

  • emergency medical technologist – paramedic (EMT-P)

  • supervisor, ambulance services

  • emergency medical technician (EMT)

  • paramedic

  • ambulance attendant

  • emergency medical attendant (EMA)

  • advanced care paramedic

  • critical care paramedic

  • primary care paramedic

The Different Levels of Paramedics and What They Do

Knowing how to become a paramedic in Ontario will require you to also know the different qualifications of the different levels of Paramedics.

  • Primary Care Paramedic (PCP)

  • Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP)

  • Critical Care Paramedic (CCP)

Primary Care Paramedic (PCP)

Ontario’s Primary Care Paramedic(PCP) is a 2-year program. This is the foundation of paramedic education. Graduates must successfully complete a written provincial exam.

Upon successful completion of the provincial exam, they are classified as Primary Care Paramedic.

A Primary Care Paramedic is not permitted to practice at the level of training. They have to first secure employment with an ambulance service and must have received approval or certification from their Medical Director.

Primary Care Paramedics respond to both emergency and non-emergency calls. They work in an ambulance with another Primary Care Paramedic or Advanced Care Paramedic partner.

Primary Care Paramedics can perform:

  • Patient assessments,
  • Basic airway management,
  • Administer oxygen by demand, by bag-valve-mask or basic mechanical ventilation,
  • Provide CPR, and trauma care (i.e. spinal and wound care, limb immobilization/traction, etc.

Primary Care Paramedics are also trained in the use of semi-automated external defibrillators.

In addition, Primary Care Paramedics may administer the following medications as per certification through their local Base Hospital:

  • ASA (for suspected myocardial infarction [heart attack])

  • sublingual Nitroglycerin spray for angina pectoris (chest pain)

  • metered-dose inhaler Salbutamol for bronchospasm (asthma)

  • glucagon (or oral glucose gel) for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

  • epinephrine for anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction)

Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP)

The Advanced Care Paramedic is one year in length. It is considered a post-diploma program that takes about 1200 hours to complete.

In addition to the PCP skill set, ACP providers are qualified to perform or use:

  • Needle thoracostomy

  • 12 lead ECG interpretation

  • Synchronized cardioversion

  • Basic field mechanical ventilation

  • Manual defibrillation and external cardiac pacing.

  • Advanced airway management including oral and nasotracheal intubation.

  • Laryngoscopy and removal of foreign body obstruction using MacGill forceps.

  • Treatment of cardiac emergencies according to Heart & Stroke Foundation Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) guidelines.

  • Administration of the following emergency medications: Adenosine, Amiodarone, ASA, Atropine, Diazepam, Dopamine, D50W, Epinephrine, Furosemide, Glucagon, Lidocaine, Morphine, Naloxone, Nitroglycerine, Oxygen, Salbutamol, Sodium Bicarbonate (the medications may vary from one service to another).

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

With the authorization of the Base Hospital Physician, a Primary Care Paramedic may perform any of the above-listed acts.

Critical Care Paramedic (CCP)

Critical Care Paramedics are ACP providers with additional training/education.

You will only find a few ambulance services employing Critical Care Paramedics because it is a highly specialized field.

Ontario Air Ambulances have had Critical Care Flight Paramedics since 1977.

To become a CCP, a paramedic must have the following minimal requirements:

  • Minimum one-year experience at the ACP level.

  • Basic Trauma Life Support (BTLS) certification.

  • Aeromedical Certificate (for the Critical Care Flight Paramedic level).

  • Recent certification Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).

Furthermore, the CCP program is approximately one year in length.

 In addition to the skills of an Advanced Care Paramedic, Critical Care Paramedics are trained to perform the following acts:

  • end-tidal CO2 

  • foley insertion

  • gastric intubation 

  • x-ray interpretation 

  • arterial line monitoring 

  • doppler neonatal monitoring

  • lab value and ABG interpretation 

  • administration of blood products 

  • rhythm and 12 lead ECG interpretation 

  • umbilical cord cannulation (northern bases) 

  • administration of medications (extensive list) 

  • Monitoring of central lines, including P.A. lines 

What level do most Ontario paramedics function at?

Most paramedics in Ontario are PCPs.

Are You a Paramedic From Another Province?

If you’re a prehospital care provider or paramedic that is from another province or country and I wish to work in Ontario, you can view the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Paramedic Equivalency Process.

The List of Steps on How to Become a Paramedic in Ontario

  • Step 1: Get your high school diploma or GED

  • Step 2: Complete a 2-year diploma program at an Ontario College.

  • Step 3: Complete an Internship

  • Step 4: Successfully pass the provincial certification exam to become an Advanced Emergency Medical Care Attendant (A-EMCA).

  • Step 5: Become employed by an ambulance service.

  • Step 6: Be delegated to perform delegated controlled medical acts by a Base Hospital physician.

Get your high school diploma or GED

The first step to take when we talk about how to become a paramedic in Ontario is to get your high school diploma or GED.

Completing relevant courses such as physiology and anatomy can provide you with useful and fundamental knowledge for your career as a paramedic.

You may find it useful to complete courses in biology, physiology, and anatomy, or any health-related electives.

Furthermore, ensure you are at least 18 years old before you can start your professional training.

Complete a 2-year diploma program at an Ontario College

In Ontario, any person who wants to become a paramedic must attend a recognized college or university paramedic program.

All accredited college and university Primary Care Paramedic programs are two years in length and sometimes 3 years to complete. You can find paramedic programs at Centennial College and Fanshawe College. Other colleges for paramedics.

Some colleges require you to earn a standard first-aid and CPR certification prior to applying.

Complete an Internship

Paramedic programs typically offer internship opportunities for students to earn credits toward their certificates. Alternatively, these internships provide them with the essential skills that are transferable to their professional career as paramedics.

Many paramedic programs arrange internships for paramedic students during their studies. This means that internships come while taking the paramedic program.

Successfully pass the provincial certification exam to become an Advanced Emergency Medical Care Attendant (A-EMCA)

Upon completion of the college Primary Care Paramedic program, graduates are eligible to write the Advanced Emergency Medical Care Assistant (A-EMCA) examination.

Candidates for the A-EMCA are offered 3 attempts to successfully pass (70% required) the exam before remedial training is required & may work for an ambulance service for up to 210 days while preparing.

If you are attending an approved institution that offers the paramedic program, your institution should be contacting the MOHLTC-EHS Branch office to obtain application packages for all of their students, prior to graduating.

For more information on the A-EMCA, please contact:

  • Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
  • Emergency Health Services Branch
  • Patient Care Standards, Education, and Certification
  • 5700 Yonge Street, 6th Floor
  • North York, ON M2M 4K5
  • Tel #: (416) 327-7813
  • Fax #: (416) 327-7911
  • Toll-Free: 1-800-461-6431

Completing this exam allows paramedics to work as first responders. Other paramedic students choose to complete this exam because it offers additional knowledge.

More Information:

If you have successfully completed a PCP, ACP, or Aerophysiology training program from an approved college or training institution in Ontario, you’re advised to check out the Prehospital Emergency Care Syllabus that provides a synopsis of the theory base and the performance skills from which entry-to-practice PCP candidates are evaluated on the provincial AEMCA examination.

You can only apply to the ACP, Aeromedical, and CCP examinations if you already hold an AEMCA certificate. Visit exam dates and application packages for examinations. The CCP examination is offered through Orange.

The Cost of Paramedic Programs in Ontario Colleges

Having seen how to become a paramedic in Ontario, what are the costs involved? The cost of the paramedic program at Fanshawe College is $9,630 for domestic students and $32,182 for international students.

Total program costs are approximate, subject to change, and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee, or program general expenses.

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