Have you always dreamed of helping other people? A career as a primary care paramedic (PCP) is a great way to make this dream come true. This career provides many options for making a difference in other peoples’ lives.
As a first responder, you’ll provide comfort and pre-hospital treatment to injured people. You’ll rush patients to the hospital in an ambulance and help save lives. Here’s how you can get into this career and start changing people’s lives.
Graduate from a Primary Care Paramedic Diploma Program
If you want to become a PCP, the first step is to enroll in a primary care paramedic diploma program at an Ontario college. These diploma programs teach students the skills they need to become PCPs in the province.
The content of these diploma programs can vary from college to college. However, there are some fairly standard subject areas. In your diploma program, you can expect to learn a mix of theoretical and hands-on skills.
Theoretical skills can include human anatomy and physiology, community health issues, or workplace safety. Psychology, professionalism and ethics, and pathophysiology can also be included. These theoretical skills will give you the background you need to apply hands-on skills.
Hands-on skills include the tasks you’ll perform on a day-to-day basis as a PCP. You’ll learn how to perform first aid. Performing emergency medical patient care and emergency trauma patient care are also important hands-on skills. You’ll also learn how to dispense medications and operate an ambulance.
Prove Your Skills with a Certification Examination
Once you graduate from a diploma program, you’re one step closer to changing lives as a PCP. Since peoples’ lives will be in your hands as a PCP, you’ll need to prove you’re qualified before you can start work.
In Ontario, aspiring PCPs need to take the Ontario Provincial Advanced Emergency Medical Care Attendant (A-EMCA) exam. You get three attempts to pass the exam.
Get Work as a Primary Care Paramedic
After getting certified, you can start looking for your first job as a PCP. As a PCP, there are many different places you could find work. You probably already know that city or regional ambulance services employ PCPs. However, there are many other places you can look for your first job. Hospitals, fire departments, and private ambulance services may need PCPs. Companies like manufacturing firms or mining companies may need on-site PCPs, too.
Each company provides its own recruitment process. If you want to work for an ambulance service, you can expect to perform an extensive interview process. This interview process can include trauma care scenarios, lifting evaluations, or driving skills evaluations. After graduating from college and getting certified, the interview process for PCP jobs shouldn’t be too challenging.
Career Advancement for Primary Care Paramedics
When you’re making a career change, your future career path is a major consideration. If you’re very ambitious, you’ll want to know if there are opportunities to advance in your new career. The good news is there are many opportunities for advancement for ambitious PCPs.
After working as a PCP for a few years, you may be ready to move up and take on new responsibilities. PCPs can pursue further education to become Advanced Care Paramedics (ACPs). ACPs are able to give more medications and perform more treatments.
After becoming an ACP, you can move up even further in your paramedic career. You could become a Critical Care Paramedic (CCP). Most CCPs work for air ambulance services. On an air ambulance, you get to provide pre-hospital treatment to patients who wouldn’t be able to get that treatment otherwise.