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Emergency Medical Personnel

Emergency medical personnel provide pre-hospital emergency medical care to the sick and injured.

Also Known As:Ambulance Attendant, Health Care Technologist, Medical Technologist, Paramedic, Paramedic Practitioner
NOC Number(s):3234
Minimum Education:1 year post-secondary education/training
Employment Outlook:Job openings: turnover plus new jobs due to above average growth in occupation in Alberta 2013-2017
Interests:I M O

Related Videos:

Ambulance Technician, Emergency Medical Technician - Paramedic


Duties | Working Conditions | Personal Characteristics | Education | Related Legislation | Employment | Salary | Other Information | Related Occupations | Related School Subjects | Related Field of Study

Duties

In Alberta, there are three tiers of emergency medical personnel:

  • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)
  • Emergency Medical Technician - Ambulance (EMT-A)
  • Emergency Medical Technologist - Paramedic (EMT-P).

Personnel in all three tiers:

  • assess the extent of injuries or illness to determine medical treatment
  • comfort and reassure patients
  • obtain the patient's medical history, if possible
  • perform and interpret diagnostic procedures such as taking vital signs and testing glucose levels
  • administer pre-hospital emergency care including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), oxygen, bandaging, splinting, and assisting in childbirth and the treatment of trauma patients
  • use a semi-automatic or automatic external defibrillator or bag valve mask resuscitator
  • use basic airway management techniques
  • use spinal immobilization devices and traction splints
  • transport patients to hospital or other medical facilities for further care
  • document and record the nature of injuries and treatment provided
  • assist hospital personnel as required
  • maintain ambulances, equipment and supplies.

In addition, EMT-As may:

  • initiate and maintain intravenous infusions without medications or blood products
  • perform cardiac monitoring
  • perform airway management using non-visualized airways
  • administer specified medications
  • supervise and train staff members and students
  • assist paramedics (where there are combined services).

EMT-Ps may perform the duties of EMT-As and administer advanced pre-hospital emergency care:

  • maintain airways with intubation and surgical airways
  • provide manual cardiac defibrillation and external pacing 
  • initiate, monitor and maintain blood and blood product transfusions
  • provide advanced wound management
  • operate sophisticated equipment in advanced life-support ambulances, medevac aircraft or other advanced life-support environments
  • administer medications for the treatment of medical conditions and management of acute pain
  • initiate and maintain intraosseous infusions
  • urinary catheterization
  • monitor chest tubes.

Working Conditions

This work is physically demanding. Emergency medical personnel are required to lift loads weighing well over 20 kilograms (for example, patients on stretchers). They must observe safety precautions to avoid injury when working with equipment and exposure to potentially hazardous biological agents.

Emergency medical personnel work both indoors and outdoors, often in stressful circumstances. They may work full time, part time or as volunteers. Those employed full time or part time work shifts that including evenings, weekends and holidays. They may work 8, 10, 12,14 or 24 hour shifts.


Personal Characteristics

Emergency medical personnel need the following characteristics:

  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • strong leadership abilities
  • sound decision making skills
  • a strong desire to help those in need
  • the ability to remain firm, reassuring and efficient in moments of crisis
  • the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Paramedics also need manual dexterity to administer advanced pre-hospital emergency care.

All emergency medical personnel should enjoy compiling information to assess injuries and illness, having clear rules and organized methods for administering pre-hospital care, and operating medical equipment.


Educational Requirements

EMR training programs are designed for people who want to enter the pre-hospital care industry or who already provide emergency services (for example, fire fighters and police officers). 

EMR, EMT-A and EMT-P training programs are offered by public colleges, private schools and other organizations. A current list of approved programs is posted on the Alberta College of Paramedics website. In general, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have obtained a Standard First Aid certificate and CPR certification at the Basic Rescuer Level (C) within the previous year.

In addition, applicants for EMT-A training must:

  • be registered EMRs
  • have a high school transcript
  • have a valid Class 4 or 5 drivers license.

Applicants for EMT-P training must be registered EMT-As and have a high school diploma with English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2, Biology 30 or Science 30, and Pure or Applied Math 20 (or equivalent).


Related Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Disciplines Act and Emergency Medical Technicians Regulation, only registered members of the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP) may call themselves Emergency Medical Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians or Emergency Medical Technologist - Paramedics. Registered members provide health services listed in the Regulation. For more information on certification see the Emergency Medical Personnel profile in CERTinfo.

Section revised January 2014

Employment and Advancement

EMRs work for provincial, private and industrial ambulance services. Some firefighters are qualified EMRs (for more information, see the Firefighter occupational profile). Advancement to the second and third tiers of Alberta's system of emergency medical services requires additional training.

EMT-As work for ambulance services and related industrial and emergency services.

EMT-Ps are employed in emergency service departments, ambulance services and other health care related environments. Industries such as the oil and gas industry may employ EMT-Ps to provide emergency medical aid on large job sites. With additional education, EMT-Ps may move into related health care occupations.

All three tiers of emergency medical personnel are included in the National Occupational Classification 3234: Ambulance Attendants and Other Paramedical Occupations. In Alberta, most people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,600 Albertans are employed in the Ambulance Attendants and Other Paramedical Occupations occupational group which is expected to have an annual above average growth of 3.0 per cent from 2013 to 2017 in Alberta. It is forecasted that about 168 new positions will be created each year in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. (Note: Since emergency medical personnel  form only a part of the larger occupational group on which this forecast is based, only a portion of the new positions created will be for emergency medical personnel.)

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Section revised November 2013

Salary

Salaries for emergency medical personnel vary greatly depending on location (for example, rural or urban setting) and type of employer (for example, private company, regional health authority, fire department).

According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Ambulance Attendants and Other Paramedical Occupations occupational group earned on average from $26.40 to $33.40 an hour. The mean wage for this group was $28.94 an hour.

For more detailed information, see WAGEinfo.

For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website.

Section revised February 2012

Other Sources of Information

Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP) website: www.collegeofparamedics.org

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca


Related Occupational Profiles
Audiometric Technician
Firefighter
Police Officer
Pulmonary Function Technician
Sheriff

Related High School Subjects
English Language Arts; Health, Recreation and Human Services (Health Care Services; and Human and Social Services); and Science (Biology; and Chemistry)

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
Health Care and Medical Sciences

Produced April 2011
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For more information on career planning, occupations and educational programs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website at alis.alberta.ca, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

The information contained in this profile was current as of the dates shown. Salaries, employment outlook and educational programs may change. Please check the information before making any career decisions.


Government of Alberta, Human Services