There are some things to consider before you decide to go back to college to become a paramedic. While being a paramedic can be a very rewarding career, it’s not for everyone. Take the time to carefully consider your options before you return to college.
Here are five things you should consider before pursuing paramedic training.
1. Your Motivation for Pursuing Training
Why do you want to become a paramedic? Examine your motivations before you start applying to colleges. If you’re considering the career for the right reasons, you’ll be more successful. Wanting to help people is a good reason, as is wanting a stable career that pays well.
If you’re not considering the career for the right reasons, you might end up being unsatisfied. For example, some people may want to become paramedics because the career looks exciting on television or movies. Others may want to drive an ambulance or wear a paramedic uniform. If these reasons sound familiar, you may not be happy with the realities of a career as a paramedic.
2. The Nature of the Work
It’s important to consider what paramedics do in a typical day at work. Paramedics work 12-hour shifts and may have to work both day and night shifts. During a shift, there can be as few as five calls. That means you could have a lot of downtime on some days. During downtime, paramedics clean the ambulance, work on a computer, or restock supplies. On other days, you could get back-to-back calls and be very busy.
The incidents you encounter in your calls can vary. Paramedics can encounter anything from car accidents to heart attacks to gunshot wounds. As a paramedic, every day will be different. If you love new challenges, you may enjoy this aspect of the job.
3. The Employment Outlook
The employment outlook is another important thing to consider. After you’re finished paramedic training, you want to be able to get a good job. The good news is that the employment outlook for paramedics is promising throughout Canada.
In Ontario, employment growth for paramedics is expected to be strong. Paramedics in Ontario have recently had low levels of employment, so paramedics are secure in their jobs. If you’ve been laid off in the past, the employment outlook for paramedics makes the career very appealing.
4. Expected Earnings
Expected earnings are always a consideration for career changers. You need to make sure your new career will allow you to provide for your family. You’ll be pleased to learn that paramedics are well paid in Ontario.
According to Job Bank data, Ontario Paramedics make a median hourly wage of $36.50. On the low end, paramedics make $25.60 per hour. The highest-earning Ontario paramedics bring home $42 per hour. If those wages meet your family’s needs, paramedic training may be the right choice.
5. Your Future Career Path
Career advancement is another important thing to consider before you go back to college. If you’re an ambitious person, you’ll want to know you can advance in your career and take on new responsibilities. As a primary care paramedic, you’ll be able to do this, if you choose to.
After working for two years as a primary care paramedic, you can study to be an advanced care paramedic. This lets you administer more medications and perform more controlled medical acts. Later in your career, you can pursue more studies to become a critical care paramedic. These paramedics have a greatly expanded scope of practice and may work on helicopters. You could even go on to become a paramedic supervisor.