Number Crunching

For those of you who are wired slightly funny like me and want to pursue paramedicine despite possibly working at a station several hours drive away and just getting $2/hr when not on call, good for you 😀

**Note:  These are the costs I’ve approximated from my personal experience and the school fees are estimates from JIBC

Are you ready?  Here are the numbers:

To start off as an EMR

~$1400 Emergency Medical Responder Course

$500 EMA Licensing for EMR License

  • $400 (practical exam)
  • $50 (written exam)
  • $50 (jurisprudence exam)

Total Cost:  $1900 (EMR-Licensed)

BCAS Employment Costs:

$282 Class 4 Unrestricted Drivers License at the cheapest (with lesson)

  • $180 (2hr Lesson + ICBC exam)
  • $17 (learner’s)
  • $40 (road test)
  • $45 (new license and other charges)

After receiving your employment letter:

  • $60 Medical Examination (may vary with your physician) *reimbursed by BCAS
  • $50 Criminal Record Check-RCMP/Police
  • $20 CRRA Record Check (second criminal record check)

Total:  $352 (medical reimbursement included)

Primary Care Paramedic Program Costs:

$195 PCP Application:

  • $75 PCP Application
  • $70 CPAFLA Fitness Test
  • $50 Criminal Record Check-RCMP/Police

$4,555 Once Accepted into the program:

  • $500 Deposit (once you are offered a seat)
  • $170 Essentials of Paramedic Care Vol 1 & 2 Textbook
  • ~$350 Uniform (white shirt x2, paramedic academy t-shirt x2, 2 pairs patches, 1 pair boots)
  • $3,535 The rest of the PCP program fees

Total:  ~$4,800 (including application and total program fees/texts/uniforms etc) + Licensing fees:

$500 EMA licensing for PCP License (if not EMR-licensed)

  • $400 (practical exam)
  • $50 (written exam)
  • $50 (jurisprudence exam)


$450 EMA licensing for PCP License if you are upgrading from EMR license

  • $400 (practical exam)
  • $50 (written exam)

Overall Summary:

EMR License + BCAS Employment costs = $2,252

EMR License + BCAS Employment Costs + PCP License = $7, 502  (Route 1)

EMR Unlicensed + PCP License + BCAS Employment Cost = $7, 052  (Route 2)

I believe those are the two main routes people take:  1.  Either get EMR Licensed and start building your seniority, or  2.  Save $450 and finish the PCP program and then get licensed.  From what I’ve learned, it is better to spend the $450 extra and get your seniority first.  If you get your employment number at the start of say your PCP program, by the time your classmates finish their PCP program, get licensed AND go through the whole hiring process, you’d have a good year of seniority ahead of them.  Also, for those who are curious, and to give some perspective, one year in University costs about $4,100 based on 2009 fees at UBC.


23 thoughts on “Number Crunching

  1. Don’t worry, you’ll only have to work about 3500 hours before you start actually making money! 😉 By the way, I could be wrong on this, but I think BCAS will pay for your PCP licensing fee if you request it.

    1. Lol. Thanks K, that’s very reassuring 😉

      Actually my UC is still trying to figure that out, if that’s still in play or not. Have a coworker trying to get reimbursed…but they’re not letting him at the moment. I’ll have to follow up with that.

  2. Hey! I’m also pursuing a career as a Paramedic in BC… except i’m maybe 6 months behind you!! Reading through this blog has been so helpful for me since you have gone through EXACTLY what I am going through now!

    I’ve got my EMR cert. and am waiting for confirmation on my licensing exam dates… got my BCAS application sent in and working on my class 4.

    Where did you take your class 4 lesson? I got my 4 Learners today, but I don’t have, or know anybody with a large van that I could take the test with… any info would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Thanks again for the blog, really insightful… good luck with everything!

    1. Hi Taisho,

      Good to hear from you. I’m glad you found my blog helpful 🙂 The teacher I went with, I went with him because it was cheap and I didn’t have much money, he doesn’t do the best job of teaching though. I’ll email you the details.


      1. Serious thanks for answering all my questions Cox, very helpful!!

        I also remember hearing that BCAS will pay for your PCP licensing upgrade… not sure if it’s still happening or not

  3. Hi there, great blog. I’m due for PCP licensing in a couple of weeks! Talk about nerves… I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what, I’ll always feel short of knowledge for exams so I just make sure I hit the main areas-protocols/drug monos/diff dx for protocol related illnesses (impossible to know everything!) Anyway, when do you start PCP? Good luck with it! I’m based at 117. Cheers!

    1. Hi Hodie,

      I almost got recruited to 117 😉

      I hate exams…there’s something about having someone watch your every move and judging you. I much rather do a call on a real patient anytime. Good luck with it!

      My in class starts on the 17th. I’m trying to study for my CS200 but it’s not working out very well at the moment. I’m totally procrastinating.

    2. Hodie, from the sounds of your blog post, you should be done your ema licensing by now. My exams are coming up quite soon. Wondering if you have any advice/tips/hints as to what you faced in the practical examination and also the written exam?

      Any info would be greatly appreciated.

      1. Hi Danny,

        The practical exam is quite straight forward (for PCPs and EMRs), much like the exams you would have done at school (my background would be the JI). The examiners for the most part are quite chill and nice. However, be prepared to answer questions after the calls. Most questions are related to the call, for example if a person had a seizure they might ask what seizure meds could they have been taking? List 7 possible causes of a seizure? What are the phases of a seizure? etc. To prepare, just make sure you’re comfortable with all your medical protocols and your trauma (spinal rolls, packaging, getting off scene on time), there really aren’t any big surprises to it. Make sure you verbalize everything and stick to your PAM (patient assessment model).

        Oh, and just one thing, don’t get thrown off if the examiner asks you questions during your calls (most don’t, but the odd one or two will). Don’t get thrown off by their remarks, just do what you’re trained to do/is best for the patient).

        As for the written exam (not sure if you’re doing your EMR), if you’re doing it for your EMR license, practice the licensing quiz they have online at JI. It’s a very good review of what may be on the licensing exam. If you’re doing it for PCP well I have yet to write mine, so I unfortunately can’t help you with that one.

        Good luck!

  4. Hey,

    Thank you so much for writing this blog. I currently have my EMR cert and have my assessment day for PCP coming up. Reading this blog has definitely helped answer a lot of questions I’ve had about the training as well as the BCAS application so thank you!

  5. Hello, I finished my EMR course almost a year ago but I’ve been putting off the licensing exams because I wasn’t sure just how much time I would have to commit to all this. How many hours did you have to work as an EMR? I have a full day-job (M-F, 9-5) and I don’t know if I can do this if I end up having to staying so late that I’m too tired to wake up for work the next day. The costs are also quite… overwhelming. The Ride-Along program was scrapped right after I finished the EMR course so I couldn’t get a taste of what it’s like to be on the job. Can you provide some insight on this? Really appreciate any info.

    1. Hi Starchy,

      The minimal amount of shifts one has to submit as a part timer are 8 shifts a month. If you put all of the shifts back to back that equals to four days. Depending on the station you get on and how many people they have hired on (more people working at a station means you end up getting fewer shifts), you usually get half the amount of shifts you put in. I have a fairly highly staffed station. I get usually 4-5 shifts a month (2-3 days back to back) if I put in min. availability. Coming month I submitted 8 shifts back to back (4 days) and got scheduled 3 shifts (1.5 days). So it is possible for you to schedule around your full day job by submitting shifts for Sat (day/night), and sunday (day). Most likely you’ll get one or two weekends up at your station. I was in school full time Mon-Fri for the last four months and that worked out for me.

      As for being tired for your job the next day, that would depend on a lot of different factors. A lot of the times the rural stations aren’t very busy so you won’t be missing much sleep (there are rare exceptions). In fact, I consider it a bit of a vacation going up to my station. Commute is another factor, depending on where you end up, you may have to drive 4-6hrs or you may only take 1-2hrs to get to your station. As for work the next day, I personally didn’t have a problem going to work or waking up at 06:15 the next day after working up at the station the day before, but then and again I didn’t have a major commute time. Each station also has a different time in terms of when the shift starts. My station’s day shifts are 08:00-18:00 and night shifts 18:00-08:00, so getting off Sunday at 18:00 isn’t bad if I have to work Mon.

      About riding third, it’s unfortunate they scrapped that. The best way to get an idea of what the job is like is to ride third in the city once you get hired. The pace and the call volumes are different in the LMFV than in the station that you will be working at, but it’s a good taste and glimpse of what the job is like.

      Hope that helps.


      1. Thank you – that was actually tons of help. On another note – I hear that there’s a shortage of paramedics in the province… does this mean that most stations would be willing to hire? Or are there just way too many budget cutbacks?

      2. There has been a lot of movement lately with a lot of paramedics retiring, and more to come. I dont’ know the stats and each station varies, but yes, for the most part they are in need of paramedics. Feel free to call up BCAS HR and ask them about hire and things like that.

  6. hi
    I am schedueled to do my pcp application interview this week
    Is there any insight as to what to prepare or expect?
    Also, what is the likeihood of work after schooling in your requested area? how long does it typically take to cycle through


    1. Hi Dawn,

      First of all, good luck for the interview. As for preparing for it, look up what a STAR behavioural interview is on the website and prepare for it that way. Think of some of your past experiences ahead of time that displays what someone who’s looking to hire a paramedic/an instructor in the paramedic program would look for (interpersonal skills, leadership, etc).

      Likelihood of getting hired with BCAS isn’t hard. As for your requested area…that would depend on where you’re requesting to work.

      Hope that helps.

    2. Hi Dawn,

      First of all, good luck for the interview. As for preparing for it, look up what a STAR behavioural interview is on the website and prepare for it that way. Think of some of your past experiences ahead of time that displays what someone who’s looking to hire a paramedic/an instructor in the paramedic program would look for (interpersonal skills, leadership, etc).

      Likelihood of getting hired with BCAS isn’t hard. As for your requested area…that would depend on where you’re requesting to work.

      Hope that helps.

  7. Hey

    Thanks a bunch. i did look up the Star interview proceedure, I guess i was figuring it was more comlicated than it seems to be. i also lived a fairly relaxed rural life that never involved major drama, or at least i never perceived it to be, so the answers for me are hard to come by 😛
    Thanks for your reply. 🙂
    i am hoping to get work in the chilliwack abbotsford area after completion of the course. The possibility of me moving all around for shifts worries me as i will have roots set down there. i am unaware to how they do postings. i read that if you deline 3 job postings they take you off of the hire list?!

    Also, how does the interview day go? i requested prep info and received nothing back.
    there is a written or practical medical knowledge test?
    cognitive test
    and a panel interview?
    is this correct?

    any information is greatly appreciated! thank you kindly

    1. The STAR based interview is straight forward. Just follow the STAR format 😉 No tricks. Hmmm they’re not necessarily looking for drama but for life experience.

      Well if you’re lucky you can get into stations like Boston Bar, Lytton, Keremeos to start off in, which isn’t very far from chilliwack. You can commute up once or twice a month to that station until you get enough seniority to work in Chilliwack.

      I do remember hearing about the 3 declines…however, you obviously would be applying for stations you’re willing to commute to and work out of.

      The interview day goes with the written portion first. I believe it’s the cognitive exam (basically an IQ test) and then the written exam, and later an interview (your time of your interview will be assigned to you and the JI will contact you when your interview will be). The interview is a panel interview, generally you’ll be with two other people.

  8. Wow…. You are right in your numbers! I am an EMR, just starting my quest to work for 2 buckeroos… I am not discouraged at all! I really want to be a paramedic, so I am in it, no matter what the cost!

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