Looking to pursue a career as a paramedic. Seeking advice/guidance

Jason svl

Forum Ride Along
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Hello EMTLIFE members!

My name is Jason and I am interested in pursuing a career as a paramedic! I will try to make this as smooth and simple as possible.

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada (No plans to relocate)
Education: Bachelor's of Science, Honor's science major
Age: 25

I've been doing some research on paramedic programs, colleges, required certifications, wages in various areas, pros and cons of being a paramedic, and the list goes on! However, I've had a hard time since I have no guidance. Given below is a list of questions I have. There are some others but these are the concerning ones:

Program requirements: First aid/CPR training certificate, "F" class driver's license, Physical evaluation test
1. How long will it take to obtain the first aid and CPR training certificate?
2. How long will it take to obtain the "F" class driver's license?
3. The physical evaluation test should be completed in no longer than 3 mins and 50 secs. Is this more difficult than it sounds?

Admission requirements: Bunch of 11th/12th grade high school courses
4. Since I already have a university degree, does this matter?

Colleges:
5. What are the best colleges in Ontario for the paramedic program?
6. Should I attend a college in the same city I would like to work in?

The Job Itself:
7. Is there or will there be a demand for this job? (Either currently or within the next 5 years)
8. How competitive is the job market?
9. Are there any certifications other than A-EMCA that I will require?
10. What are the pros and cons of being a paramedic?
11. What type of personality is suitable to be a paramedic? And what traits are 100% necessary?

In short, I want to know what I'm getting into from top to bottom, and it would be ideal to hear it from a paramedic. I would like to thank everyone in advance for their advice and guidance. I greatly appreciate that you have taken time out of your day to help a complete stranger.

- Jason
 

hometownmedic5

Forum Asst. Chief
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I don't know anything about the process and what not in canada, so I'm skipping your first six questions.

Demand: I don't foresee a time period where people wont get sick and injured and need to be taken to the hospital. At times/in places, the demand for services will outstrip availability(current paramedic shortage, at least in Massachusetts). At times, the opposite will be true. It is safe to say that there will always be EMS jobs. Perhaps not the best high paying, sexy calls type, but a paying gig on an ambulance will usually be there.

Competition: again, this is dependent on when, where etc. the high end hero jobs are usually pretty competitive(fire depts, hems and so on). Ambulance work in general is usually readily available.

9 sounds like a canada question. Deferred..

Pros: occasionally, not every call, or every day or even every month, but occasionally you get to actually save a life. Much more often, you get to make people feel better in some smaller way. The appreciation, spoken and otherwise, of actually improving someone life, however temporary, is why I do this job.

Cons: you'll work in crappy conditions, with some maddening people, watching patients and family abuse the system and cause their own problems. You'll miss holidays, special events, meals, sleep. You'll ache. Your sleep patterns might be a mess. You might put on a ton of weight and struggle to get rid of it. You might take up or worsen a bad habit(tobacco, alcohol, etc). You might suffer mental health consequences. You might last just long enough in the business to pigeon hole yourself before realizing you're over it. You will see thing you cant unsee, and how you deal with that will make or break your career.

There is no universal perfect medic. Ive worked with middle age men and women, 19 year old kids, and everybody in between. Believers and atheists. Drunks and teetotalers. People are individuals. They either fit or they don't.

Necessary traits: thick skin, excellent coping mechanisms, willing to learn, empathy, desire to do good and learn; and so many more.

Ultimatley, theres no forumla(that I'm aware of) to predict suitability for EMS.
 

Paramedic Resource

Forum Crew Member
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1. How long will it take to obtain the first aid and CPR training certificate?
1-2 days, depending on the course. Really easy stuff to research yourself
2. How long will it take to obtain the "F" class driver's license?
Sounds like a question for your local driver training/registry
3. The physical evaluation test should be completed in no longer than 3 mins and 50 secs. Is this more difficult than it sounds?
It's not difficult if you are physically capable of being a paramedic, set up a similar test for yourself and see how you do
4. Since I already have a university degree, does this matter?
Varies from education facility to education facility, phone and find out
5. What are the best colleges in Ontario for the paramedic program?
Contact a local EMS station to get the inside scoop on where is best to go
6. Should I attend a college in the same city I would like to work in?
A question for your particular financial situation
7. Is there or will there be a demand for this job?
Take a look at local job postings to get an idea, I've heard in Ontario there is a large supply of paramedics and comparatively low demand. Most Ontario paramedics have to relocate for a couple years after school to get experience and then re apply in the province.
8. How competitive is the job market?
In Ontario, very competitive. I've worked with many paramedics out here in Alberta that are from Ontario but couldn't find work
9. Are there any certifications other than A-EMCA that I will require?
Check local job postings
10. What are the pros and cons of being a paramedic?
Pros: very good life experience. If you are young and want to grow up fast, this job is a way to do it. You develop leadership, patience and a tolerance for adversity.
Cons: Small chance of career longevity, average career is 5-10 years. Risk of injury, exposure to infectious disease, risk of mental illness. Odd hours.
11. What type of personality is suitable to be a paramedic? And what traits are 100% necessary?
Being a self guided learner. Do not expect your hand to be held through school, either pony up the effort to succeed or fail with only yourself to blame. Everything else can be learned or developed as a result of this discipline.

If I could give you one piece of advice about becoming a paramedic though it's to have a viable escape plan for when it comes time to leave this line of work.

Best of luck
 

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