Questions

Lately, I have been receiving a lot of questions regarding licensing, schooling, obtaining class 4 license etc.  If you have a question about anything.  Feel free to leave me a message here (click reply below) and I will reply either on this thread or email you back.

Cheers!

— C

Below are some questions others have asked, which you  may find useful (last updated May 18, 2011):

Licensing

Q: I did have a few q’s about licensing though; I’ve sent it all my forms and payment and it’s been received, I’ve also sent in the booking forms. How long did it take you to get a reply? I knew it would be a long process from EMR cert. to getting hired by BCAS but man… it’s starting to get frustrating waiting! I want to get some actual hands on experience, I think you understand where I’m coming from here haha.

Many thanks for the help! Greatly appreciated.

A: About the licensing, it shouldn’t take too long to hear a reply via email.  Although I can’t remember now exactly how long it took for me to get a reply.  I just knew that the jurisprudence exam took quite a while, and I had to call in and bug them, saying I’m having my interview soon and I’m told there’s a position waiting for me and that I need to get that done.  After some bugging, they sent me the link the next day.  Don’t be afraid to give them a call to follow up with things.  Also don’t let the frustration get to you, because there are a ton more hoops to jump through…in fact, after you get hired, there are still more hoops.  Good luck!

Q:I was just wondering how you applied for licensing. I find it very confusing and the lack of information is not helping. I filled out the application and I guess I just send it in… somewhere? Any help would be pretty cool.

P.S. I like your blog tons of cool stories.

A:Yes the whole EMALB’s website isn’t the easiest to navigate through.

What you need to do is first pay the fees required for licensing ($500 total which includes written, practical and jurisprudence). You also need to take a photo of yourself (for the ID once you pass) the requirements is waist up according to the website. Then you send in your application form along with the money and photo to the EMA Licensing Board in Victoria:

EMA Licensing| Ministry of Health Services | Ph: 250 952-1199; Fx: 250 952-1222 | PO Box 9625 Stn Prov Govt. Victoria BC V8W 3C8|

Once you do that, then you will get a confirmation email sent to you from the licensing board providing instructions on how to book the written, practical, and jurisprudence exam. All of which are booked online.

Note that the jurisprudence exam takes time even after you’ve submitted the application form. It took me about 2 weeks before I got the link and password to write it. The written exam takes the longest to process (about 3 weeks).

You can also contact them via email:
EMALB@victoria1.gov.bc.ca

Let me know if you need anymore help.

Glad you like reading my blog 😀

Note (May 18, 2011):  Update on EMA licensing email, as of Aug 30/11 the email listed above will be modified.  The following emails would enable you to contact EMA licensing:

For Examinations and Initial Licensure:  getalicense@gov.bc.ca
For Maintenance of Licensure/Continuing Competence:  keepalicense@gov.bc.ca
For General Inquiries:  emalbgeneral@gov.bc.ca 

PCP Application

Q: For the JIBC PCP application… where did you take your physical CPAFLA testing? I am back and forth from the islands to the Lower Mainland quite often so info on the mainland would be useful!

A: There are many places where you can do your CPAFLA testing…I believe on the CSEP website you can find a link to all the people who are registered to do the testing for you.  The price range varies per company.  For example, Maple Ridge charges $75, UBC is cheap too charging $80, while Peak Center for Human Performance charges $120 + Tax.  So basically, you’ll have to do some price comparing yourself.  Anyways check this link out and find whoever is the closest to you: http://www.csephealthfitnessbc.ca/member_directory_revised4.php?name=&city=&paramedic=yes&certification=&specialty=
Ride-Alongs
Q: Can civilians do ride-alongs?

A: About the ride-alongs, it used to be fine for civilians to do ride-alongs as long as the paramedic involved is okay with you going for a ride.  However, about 5 months ago (summer 2010), this regulation was changed after an incident involving a person riding third.  So unless you’re a paramedic hired with BCAS, or a paramedic student, you are no longer allowed to ride third.  It is rather unfortunate, since riding third is a great way to see if paramedicine was really the right thing for you.  If you wish to gain first aid experience or working with patients, I’d recommend you to look into volunteering with St John Ambulance.  I have gained a lot of invaluable experience volunteering with them.

Class 4 Drivers License
Q: 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!!!

A: I wouldn’t recommend the place where I took my school, because he wasn’t a very good teacher although the pricing was cheap.  I felt pretty unprepared for the pre-trip portion of the exam.  The pre-trip is very important, and I think most people who are fairly good drivers end up failing in that section.  I will recommend getting a Class 4 Unrestricted license though, because BCAS prefers that.  You can take the test for the class 4 unrestricted with either a 15 seater or a 25 seater.  Here is a link to all the driving schools in BC that is ICBC approved: http://www.dtcbc.com/resource/all_sch.htm You can skim through the list via region and find the one closest to where you live, or do price comparisons.
Call Volumes
Q: What are the call volumes of each station per year?

A:
Below is a link to the maps I have made based on 2005/2006 statistics when I was first figuring out which station to start off in (scroll down).  On the map will be listed in the following order:  Place, Station number, and Call volume/yr:  https://paramedicblog.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/got-questions-need-answers/

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Comments
141 Responses to “Questions”
  1. John says:

    Are students at the JIBC forced to let other students practice the IV techniques on them? Or can you opt out if you’re uncomfortable with letting others practice on you.

    • Coxinha says:

      Nobody is ever forced to do anything in the class that they are not comfortable with, although they are encouraged to try stepping out of their comfort zone. There’s a person in our class who is petrified of needles, but in the end she was comfortable enough to participate.

  2. Mik says:

    I just came across your blog and would like to say thank you. I graduated and certified as a pcp last year in Ontario and not working in a service :(. I’m in the process of going to bc but it’s taking way too long.

    I digress. Thank you. Your blog is very helpful, inspiring and insightful.

    I do have a question. Pcps in Ontario (depending on service) do not do IV or give narcan (at all). Clearly I will have to be trained. Am I responsible for that training? Or will it be scheduled for me.

    Thanks and greatly appreciated.

    • Coxinha says:

      Hi Mik,

      Glad you like my blog 🙂 I hear Ontario paramedics get much higher pay than in BC although it is much harder to get into a service over there. If you don’t mind me asking, what protocols/drugs are PCPs in Ontario trained in?

      There are two types of PCPs that can work in BC: PCP-IV (IV endorsed) and PCP (no IV endorsement). Most of the training with school now involves IV, as long as you log in 25 IV starts during your schooling you are eligible for the IV endorsement which gives you I believe $2 more pay per hour. Mostly though, the IV is important in patient treatment and for assisting ALS…. Anyways to the meat of the question, I know a couple of people who are not IV endorsed and they had to register and pay for their own course to get the IV endorsement. I believe it would be the same for you, once you’ve obtained your license with BC and hired into the service you can apply for the IV course. As for giving narcan and drugs that you have not been trained in giving in Ontario, that I would bring up with the licensing board in regards for training: EMALB@victoria1.gov.bc.ca

      Here’s information on labour motility with the EMA licensing board: http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ema/oop.html

      Unfortunately I’m not too familiar with transferability across the provinces, hopefully that answered your questions.

      C

  3. Mik says:

    Oh thatsbvery helpful thanks.

    In Ontario We only have pcp acp and ccp medics. And theyre all municipally run not provincially like bc is. And yes it’s very hard to get a job. This year. They only hired 24 medics out of (literally) thousands of applicants for the Toronto service. As pcps we are only allowed ASA (chest pain) nitro (chest pain) salbutamol (obvious) Epi ( silent chest anaphylaxis croup) and glucagon.

    I guess ill have to ask the emalb. No worries thanks. I’m only in the process of studying for the jurisprudence exam to get my licence transfer. I was googling sample questions and that’s how I came across your blog. Your story of the water and bleach made me lol-Ed. Theres a lot of toothpaste on burns here. I’m not gonna lie. My mom dies that and it drives me INSANE haha.

    I’m so glad I came across your blog. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    • Coxinha says:

      Lol yeah, the bleach thing made me lol too except I had to control myself at the time 😉 Yes I’ve heard about the toothpaste thing! I wonder who started that.

      Good luck with your license transfer, let me know how it goes 🙂

  4. Mik says:

    Oh. Haha and I want to be in bc for the weather and the outdoors and the vibe. Toronto and Ontario are too … How you say. Uptight.? I’ve been here my entire life and would like a change of pace. So even if there is a pay cut. I really don’t care.

    • Coxinha says:

      That’s one reason why I wouldn’t leave BC. I love it here, especially if you like the outdoors…it’s a huge playground out here, with the mountains, the lakes, etc. Although the weather this year hasn’t been the best…still rather cold and rainy even though it’s suppose to start brightening up.

  5. Coxinha says:

    Some questions on another post which I thought belonged better here:

    starchy says:
    May 29, 2011 at 18:33
    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.

    Coxinha says:
    May 29, 2011 at 21:46
    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.
    C

    starchy says:
    May 30, 2011 at 22:48
    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?

    Coxinha says:
    May 31, 2011 at 01:15
    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.

    • Speedfreak says:

      How on earth are you working 4 days (72 hrs) straight? Or did I misinterpret this lol

      • PocketMedic says:

        You can technically work back to back shifts at a remote or rural station when you carry a pager. So you can work 4 days straight (72hrs). This only happens in stations where it is quieter and have fewer calls. You time out when you have worked a total of 16hrs within a 24hr window. Then you must have a 8hr window of no work, before you can do another call. Because working a pager means you technically aren`t working until you get a call, then unless you get multiple strings of calls taking you to the 16hr mark, it usually works out in a remote/rural location. The first station I started out in, I often did 72hr back to back shifts, within those four days, maybe I’d get 3 calls a day if I’m lucky, more often in the total of the four days I get 4 calls. I worked out of a rural station for a year and a half using that system and I have never timed out.

        Hopefully that somewhat makes sense. The pager system can seem complicated to someone new or haven’t been through the system. Above I just discussed hours worked, not how the pager pay system works.

  6. Sandy says:

    Help! I need to redo my EMR licensing exam and find it hard to connect with people to practice. I’d like to find a tutor that would give me a boot camp before the exam. I live on Vancouver Island but can travel to the Lower Mainland if necessary.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Sandy,

      I’ll see what I can do. I’m rather busy at the end of this month with shifts though. I’ll send you an email and see what we can work out.

      M

      • starchy says:

        I wouldn’t mind a tutor/boot camp either and like-wise, I think there are quite a few EMR-level people looking for the help. Like Sandy, I have to go in for remedial (did the exam today). 😦 I live in the GVRD – would love the opportunity to learn from an active paramedic.

      • PocketMedic says:

        Hi Starchy,

        I’d be more than happy to help out if I can, I’ve sent you an email in regards to it.

        Cheers,

        C

  7. Brandon says:

    Hi there!

    Firstly, thank you very much for this blog. It’s been extremely helpful to me as a person planning to become an EMR and later a PCP.

    I have a question (two, actually):
    When it comes time to re-certify as an EMR; what is the cost?
    When it comes time to re-license as an EMR; what is the cost?

    I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere. Just trying to get all the facts before I decide to jump into anything.

    Thanks!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Brandon,

      I’m not sure about re-certification…you’ll have to inquire at the school you wish to take your EMR course in (ie. JI). As far as I know, there are no re-certification courses for EMR, in other words most likely you’ll have to redo the course. I believe the EMR cert lasts for 2 years (I may be wrong, it’s been a while so I can’t quite remember…will have to look into that), while the EMR license lasts 5 years as long as you keep up with your patient contacts and CMEs.

      The cost for re-licensing is $50. If you want more information, you can go onto the EMA licensing board website. You will need to register for a username and a password before you can gain access: http://admin.moh.hnet.bc.ca/emaintra/license_renewal.html

      Hope that helps!

      C

      • starchy says:

        The EMR certification is only valid for 1 year now (for licensing purposes). John Jacobs said that they are creating a new fast-track course for those whose certificates have expired but already know most of the stuff. Unfortunately, it’s not available yet so anyone who needs to redo it has to pay for the full course.

  8. Cherry says:

    Hi,

    Just found your blog whilst looking for Canada ambulance blogs. I’m about to start my Paramedic training in the UK and I was just wondering if you know of anyone who has applied internationally and got a Paramedic job in Canada?

    Thanks

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Cherry,

      Hmmmm I do have a colleague who’s from the UK and now works at my station…I’m not sure about the details of the transition though. I think it’s best if you send an email to the appropriate licensing board in Canada (depending on which province you’re interested in going to) and inquire about the transitions because I understand that the training in the UK/levels may be different from the scope of practice here.

  9. Jenn says:

    Love the blog ! Informative and your witty banter is priceless!

    I just wrote my EMA written exam, do you happen to remember the passing percentage ?! pretty sure I dropped the ball forgetting LPM min and max for nasal cannula and % of o2 provided by different mask types :*(

    It seems like a long process getting hired with BCAS, when does you employee number come into play? When your license is complete and you’ve applied? Or not till you are hired and actively working ?

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Jenn,

      Glad you’ve been enjoying my posts 🙂

      The passing percentage is 75% last time I looked into it. It is quite a long process getting hired….almost feels like being a salmon fighting to get to the spawning grounds sort of a thing. You will get your employee number/date of hire on the day you start your orientation at your station (so not till you’re hired and have been assigned a station and meet your unit chief).

      Good luck with everything!

  10. Sarah says:

    Hello, I love your site! Love the photos. 🙂

    I was hoping you could help me out with a medical question. This may be a bit unusual, but hopefully you’ll bear with me.

    I am an amateur fiction writer and I am working on a new short story. This is the short and sweet run-down of it so far:

    A retired elderly vigilante must return to the “job” when a new threat enters his community (This story has cyber punk elements and takes place in 2050).

    My character (We’ll call him John as I do not have a named picked out yet) is roughly in his early to mid-eighties and has suffered a mild heart attack in the past (approximately 20 years ago). In his prime (30’s) he had conditioned his body to absolute human perfection. He now (in the present) wishes to “deal” with this new threat himself (Like in the movie Death Wish), but finds that his old and weakened state is a major disadvantage.

    Basically my question is:
    I am looking for a way medically (in the form of drugs/medication) to boost his performance so that he may carry his task as believably as possible. I should add that this boost is not meant to be long term.

    I realize that such a thing may not exist (I’d like to avoid the use of steroids as that is not exactly what I am going for) and I am prepared to completely fabricate this drug for use in this story (think of the drug “venom” from Batman).

    So what kind of conditions would John need to achieve his goal (something like adrenaline?)? Short term vs long term risks?

    I realize that fiction has a certain element of disbelief attached, but with things such as this I prefer to be as accurate as possible. Any help you can provide me will be most appreciated. If you do not know the answer, perhaps you could point in the right direction?

    -Sarah

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Indeed a very interesting question 🙂 I just came back from a long day, but I will send you an email tomorrow. Out of curiosity, is this story you’re writing for publication?

  11. Shay says:

    I just graduated from High School this year and am attending SFU, but have recently been researching doing the EMS program at JIBC. I was curious if you could let me know what the workload is like for PCP program, and what being a PCP is like/how much you get paid, is it an enjoyable job to have and what do work hours look like? I’m interested in health sciences, and thought paramedics would be a great opportunity to get started in.

    Thanks, Shay.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Shay,

      Sorry for the super late reply, somehow your message got overlooked until now. The workload for the PCP program is quite intense (I’m actually in the process of writing a post and a list of the hours I spent at school). Expect to be at school Mon-Fri from 08:00-17:00 then staying a couple of hours to practice calls or study. It’s not uncommon to head home afterwards to eat and then study till you sleep. Also expect to go to school at least once on the weekends to practice calls. The main difference between the PCP program and university is that university has an hour to three hour lectures, but also provides a lot of time for you to study on your own. Whereas in the PCP program you would spend the whole day in the class learning practical skills, and sometimes there will be a lecture or two, but for the most part, you’re learning all the knowledge materials on your own.

      As a PCP with IV endorsement you’re looking at starting wage of $21.19/hr. The shifts are as follows:
      Alpha = 12hr shift 06:30-18:30 or 18:30-06:30
      Bravo = 11/10hr shift varies with station same with start/end times
      Charlie = 11hr shift varies with station same with start/end times
      Juliet = 12hr shift, varies start/end times
      Foxtrot = $10/hr pay until you get a call, then it’s full wage for three hours regardless whether your call takes you less than 3hrs to complete or not
      Kilo = pager pay is $2/hr until you get a call, then it’s full wage for four hours regardless whether your call takes you less than 4hrs to complete or not

      Each station has different shift patterns, but generally the more rural/remote the station the more likely they run with the Foxtrot and Kilo shifts.

      For more details on pay and shift patterns refer here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Columbia_Ambulance_Service

      As for whether it is an enjoyable job…I may be biased, but many others in the service will agree in that it is an awesome job. It is a very rewarding job, and no one day is the same. There are very few jobs out there that allows you to have a direct and strong impact on your patient, and one that will allow you to play a role in a very intimate/vulnerable part of someone’s life. It is a job where you are able to meet people from all walks of life, a job where you are trusted by a strangers to go into their homes and take care of their beloved ones. Your office is your ambulance, and your workplace can be anywhere, from construction sites, the streets, parks, community centers, homes, hospitals, beach, you name it.

      The only thing to be aware of is that when you first start off as a paramedic in BC, it’s difficult to make enough money to make a living depending on where you are stationed. So expect to work another job on the side until you get enough seniority for a full time position.

      Let me know if that answered your questions, if not feel free to ask more 🙂

      Cheers

      • Vanja says:

        Hello my name is Vanja,

        Thank you for creating this blog. It’s the first website I’ve found that I feel confident gives me a good picture regarding paramedic topics in BC. 🙂
        I live in Vancouver, and like Shay, I am taking courses at a post-secondary (Langara) and very interested in health sciences (para-medicine, nursing, lab science, etc.).
        I am fine with working part-time as you said, but I would really like to stay in Vancouver. What do you think are my chances?

      • PocketMedic says:

        Hi Vanja,

        Hmmm…that’s a difficult question to answer since the answer is “it depends”. If you plan on working with the ambulance service at the EMR level, it is highly unlikely you will be hired within Region 2 (the region consists of Boston Bar and south to LMFV and up to Pemberton). However, that’s not to say you can’t do a commute for your minimum of 8 shifts (if that’s back to back that’s just 4 days a month) to a station on the southern islands like galiano or to Region 3/interior such as Keremeos or Lytton (~3hr drive) and still live in Vancouver. If you plan on working at the PCP level then there is a higher chance that you’ll get hired closer to home (as in 2-3hr drive from Vancouver). It’s definitely not impossible to stay in Vancouver, but commute will have to be expected. Once you get enough seniority then you can slowly move stations closer to home. If you’re looking to earning some money then I’d recommend starting in the interior as the call volumes there are better (but that’s obviously not what you’re looking for).

        With the above said, it all depends on which stations are currently hiring, how many people have applied to the station, how high you are on “the list” after your interviews with BCAS, etc etc. So it’s hard to say what your chances are, since it changes all the time. Although right now there are a lot of movement within the service so that’s a good thing as stations are hiring. So all in all, it’s not impossible to stay in Vancouver and still work part-time somewhere, just expect to jump in your vehicle and make a commute once or twice a month.

  12. Vanja says:

    Thank you for the reply.

    I wouldn’t mind living in the interior, as long as it would not be in some tiny village/town where I would receive very little training/exposure. If I end up realizing that para-medicine is for me, I would probably like to go straight in to ACP training, which would mean I would have to live in either Victoria, Vancouver, or Kamloops/Kelowna.

    Thanks again; I’ve decided I will first do my EMR and then enrol in the PCP program at JIBC in 2012. Hopefully I’ve made the right decision.

    ciao

  13. Chris says:

    Hello.

    Great Blog! What are the most common types of calls that you respond to?

    Please and thanks,
    Chris.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Chris,

      It’s hard to say what’s most common as it does vary day to day and region to region. I suppose most calls are geriatric related calls, like falls etc. Some days it’s chest pain or SOB, other days it’s just alcohol related. There are definitely more medical calls than trauma calls overall. Also a lot of the times the calls require us to be more of a counsellor than anything else.

      Hope that answers your question?

  14. Mark says:

    Hi.

    First of all, great blog 🙂

    Secondly I’d like to ask a question. I’m a student paramedic at uni in the UK at the moment graduating (hopefully) later this year. I’m really interested in becoming a paramedic in BC especially Vancouver. Looking at the BCAS site and forms it looks like the scope of practice for a UK paramedic is very very similar to ACP out there. I’m hoping to be able to convert but need to talk to the BCAS.

    If I am able to convert, what is the likelihood of a) getting a job as an ACP and b) working writhing Vancouver itself or will I have to do rural jobs first?

    Thanks
    Mark

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Mark,

      I highly suggest you talk to BC’s licensing board in regards to the transfer process. Although the scope is very similar I have heard some ACP paramedics transferring over from the UK to run into quite a few hurdles with the licensing board. http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ema/get-licence/outside-of-canada.html

      If you are at the ACP level, it shouldn’t be too difficult getting a full time job right away from what I’m hearing at the moment. At the ACP level, you will most likely be working in the city and not the rural areas as there are not very many ACP staffed stations in remote areas. If you have more questions contact BCAS HR, they will be able to give you better information than me. http://www.bcas.ca/EN/main/careers/900/employment-opportunities.html

      Hope that helps and good luck!

  15. Mik says:

    Hi again. So it’s been a long year and I’m essentially hired!. I was the pcp from Ontario (second or third post up top) i have a spot in Summerland waiting for me. Now I’ve done ALOT of research on the whole deal. Now the make or breaker in this ordeal is ‘will I be able to survive with the part time hours’. How do you do it? Any tips? Any thing to expect? Everyone I’ve talked to here have said “stay home. It’s not worth it”. Realistically I isn’t by ANY means. but I really want to be out there. Worst case scenario is I come home with an empty savings.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Congrats on being hired Mik 🙂 Hmmmm summerland has 1675 calls a year based on 2005/2006 stats and has an Echo, Fox and Kilo shift. The call volume is decent comparable to Squamish (which isn’t bad).

      On the Echo car you’ll be getting full time pay, the Fox will be a $10/hr pay on standby until you get a call out then you’ll get full pay and a Kilo is pager pay ($2/hr) until you get a call out. I’m not sure how your unit chief distributes the paramedics for which shift pattern (whether by seniority or not)…so that may be good to ask.

      It is difficult “surviving” off part time hours depending on how many shifts you get and which shift pattern you get. For example, if you work mostly kilo at a low call volume station (<1000 calls a yr) then it's very very difficult. It's not so bad if you get the Echo though. Also after you finish your six months of probation, you can submit your shifts to busier stations like Kelowna so you can get spareboards and full time pay. Depending on how many spareboards there are, you can make a decent amount, but the income will vary month to month depending on whether you get called to work or not (basically a spareboard is a paramedic on call).

      The real key to surviving is having a second stable part time job so you know you'll get a fixed amount of money and work as a paramedic on the side until you have enough seniority to move to a busier station.

      I've never worked out of summerland, so I won't be able to tell you what the salary is like and how survivable it is if you just worked out of that station. It may be good to ask the UC there what it's like, or if s/he has contact with a medic that works out of that station.

      So all in all, I don't have a fixed answer for you, but hopefully the information above will give you an idea.

  16. Malayka says:

    Hi there,
    I was wondering if you know of a site where I that offers sample questions for the jurisprudence exam. I’m currently trying to obtain my EMR license. Your blog is quite amazing by the way. Keep it up. 🙂

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hey, sorry, dont know where there are sample questions for the jurisprudence exam but it is open book.

      Hope that helps and glad you like my blog.

  17. JB says:

    Hey,

    Love your blog…the most informative website on how to become a paramedic in BC online. Thanks a lot. A couple quick questions:

    -What station were you hired at as an emr? And where did you check to find out which stations were hiring?

    – When you took your emr course it seemed like you already had a lot of first aid background on your side. Does the EMR course accommodate to both people with basic first aid knowledge (SFA CPR C) and people, like yourself, who had a lot of training prior to the course?

    Thanks,

    JB

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi JB

      I started in Boston Bar when I was first hired. Unfortunately, you can’t check which stations are hiring, you just submit to the stations you wish to be hired on and hope for the best.

      The EMR full time course open for people with little background knowledge, it is not tailored specifically for people with more or less knowledge. Many people go into the program with either no knowledge whatsoever, or a basic first aid ticket. It is a compact course, so with more background knowledge the course will be a lot easier for you.

      If you check on the school’s website, they should offer bridging courses for people with prior background knowledge like OFA3 and FR3. I personally took the full time course regardless of having OFA3 because I wanted to have a better base knowledge and I wanted to learn the materials better.

  18. Mike says:

    Hi there, I hope you’re able to answer this question for me! I’m currently in the process of applying for the PCP program, I was wondering if the medical knowledge test was a written/multiple choice test, or if they just ask you questions? As well as any tips in general for candidate assessment day? Thanks a lot! And I love your blog!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Mike,

      Unless they changed it since I wrote it, which I doubt, it should be MC. As for preparing, I’d suggest you practice the quizzes they offer you on their blackboard prior to interview day and do some general research on STAR behavioural based interview and prepare for it that way.

      Good luck!

  19. Matt says:

    Hi PocketMedic,
    This is a fantastic blog for answering a lot of my questions. Love it! Here’s my story…I got my PCP licence last year and I am currently on top of the ready to hire list. I’ve been offered a couple stations: seton portage and gold bridge. Sadly, I had to decline the offer as the commute was unreasonable and the call volume was not attractive at all. So my question is, if I were to take a region 3 station, are there going to be any problems going back to region 2 when the time comes? (I’ve heard that it is hard to take another region’s station). Thanks for the great stories btw!

    MW

  20. Malayka says:

    Hi there,
    My PCP assessment is in a couple of days and I’m just really stuck on the interview part. Well first of all I’m horrible at interviews. Do know of a really good site with a list of behavioural questions that’s perfect for the assessment? Also what do I do when I don’t really have much of life “experiences” that I could use for the behavioural questions? Cheers in advance for your reply!

  21. Bobs says:

    Hi, love reading your blog, really interesting!

    I have a question for you. I recently came off some anti-depressant medication (Venlafaxine) and even though I came off really slowly, decreasing dosage/frequency, I had really awful vertigo. Would you be able to explain to me what is happening physiologically, that causes this vertigo?

    Thanks heaps, I look forward to your reply.

    Bobs 🙂

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Bobs,

      Glad you like my blog 🙂

      Unfortunately I’m not familiar with the medication Venlafaxine, so I can’t really give you any answer on what’s going on physiologically aside from researching it on the internet, which I presume you have done 😉 Perhaps the best would be to speak with your physician.

      There are many causes to vertigo however, and it can be related to anything from head trauma, to ear infection, to migraines etc.

      Like what you’re assuming, it may be related to your meds or it can be something else. Best to see a doctor in regards to it as having extreme vertigo is not normal.

      I know I didn’t really answer your question, but that’s the best I can do.

      Cheers 🙂

  22. J says:

    Hello,

    I’ve read your whole blog…and if i recall correctly you were working with BCAS as an EMR while you were doing/just before your PCP studies. I am wanting to go the same route – get my EMR, apply to work and get my numbers in while I apply for PCP as well.

    My question to you is: I have a full time M-F job in Metro Vancouver, which is also where i live, but EMR work is on-call, PT. On the BCAS webpage it says the the only places in Lower Mainland that hires EMRs are Bella Bella, Bella Coola and Texada Island, plus others on Vancouver Island. How does that work?? If I live in Metro Van but am on pager…I can’t really live in Metro Van then if I am placed in those areas, is that right? Because when you’re on pager you’re basically waiting close to the area that you’re assigned to for a call.

    How did it work for you, if you don’t mind me asking?

    Ideally, I was hoping to be able to keep my FT job and be able to do EMR work on the weekends but if I will be on-call, which means I might not necessarily be working, I need to be closeby…but not at the station…so I need to move there on the weekends? Please help! My mind is not wrapping around this.

    Thank you.

    ps. I thoroughly enjoy your blog! It is so helpful, so entertaining and so inspiring.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi J,

      I apologize for getting back to you so late, I have been very busy and as you can probably tell, haven’t been writing much in my blog lately.

      Thank you for reading my blog, and the wonderful comments you have left.

      I am not sure where they are currently hiring EMRs anymore, but it is definitely in the further reaches of the community, although Lytton still sometimes hire EMRs. Basically, PCPs take priority over EMRs. Other places that will take EMR include the Golf Islands.

      How it works as a part timer is you get hired at a station. Each month you have to submit availability on which days you can work, and the minimum is 8 shifts per month in order to keep your seniority going. So if you put 8 shifts back to back that equals to 4 days straight. You can obviously submit more or less if you wish. Generally the date of submission for availability is on the 15th of each month, and near the end of the month a schedule will roll out and tells you which days you will be working based on the availability you’ve submitted. For example, if I submit that I’m available for Sept 1,2,3,4. The schedule will be sent to me near the end of August saying I’m to work Sept 1 and 3 for a Kilo day shift. So that means I will have to commute to my station and work/stay there (depending on how far the place is from my home) and work those shifts. At the time you are working, you will be carrying a pager on you, and if the pager goes off, then you leap off your feet and go to the call, and probably have a smile on your face because you’re getting full pay for a minimum 4hrs if it’s a kilo shift (pager pay).

      So it’s not impossible to keep your full time job, but you do have to consider transit time, especially if it requires a ferry. It may not work very well if you get off work Friday evening, then have to catch a ferry to work Saturday morning, depending what time you get off on friday.

      Hopefully that makes more sense?

  23. CL says:

    Hi there, i just found your website today and it has been very informative. I have a question that is very similar to one you answered for Vanja in a post above quite some time ago. I am entering the PCP program this January and live in Vancouver with my wife were I was born and raised and would like to work. Upon completion i am wondering what you think my chances of getting employment in the lower mainland/fraser valley/vancouver area are. My wife is in the middle of a university program/internship in vancouver so we wouldn’t be able to pack up and move to a rural town far away. Do they take that kind of thing into consideration during your BCAS interviews? Any info would be helpful as i am trying to get an idea if its possible to stay in the city and get part time shifts if i can supplement it with other work until i get more seniority as opposed to moving to a small town where i would get more shifts as a pcp. Thanks
    CL

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi CL,

      Unfortunately your chances of getting hired in the lower mainland/vancouver area is very slim. There is a chance for you to get into the fraser valley, that being said, is the edge of the fraser valley (Lytton, Boston Bar) which is approx 2.5-3hr drive. They are hiring more full timers in September, so there will be movement in terms of hiring, however, I am not sure what it will be like once you graduate. Other near the city options include Madeira Park, Gibson (a bit harder to get into with no seniority, but you never know), and the Golf Islands (Pender, Galiano etc). The thing about those stations is that there isn’t a very high call volume, so in terms of making a living, you will have to work a second job (at this point, it’s all about rallying up seniority). I am also not sure what spareboards will be like after September. Spareboards are extra shifts (on call) that your station hasn’t used up in which you can submit into the lower mainland for work. From what it looks like, it doesn’t seem as though spareboards are going to be abundant starting September due to the new full time hiring spree and hence unreliable for income.

      In terms of how often you work for BCAS once you get hired, depends a lot on your station (some stations use all of your submitted availability, some stations only use half). What you can do is submit minimal availability to the station each month which is 8 shifts. If you put 8 shifts back to back that equals to 4 days straight. That’s not a lot per month and so you can work your other job on the side and stay in vancouver. It all depends on how far you’re willing to drive/commute for these few shifts. But like i said before, it’s all about gaining seniority until you can work in a station closer to home. The places I listed above are the places most likely to hire you and are closest to Vancouver area.

      Hope that helps!

  24. wade says:

    Hey, love the blog. Very informative and as mentioned pretty well the best source of information via becoming a paramedic in BC.

    I’ve just graduated from JIBC as a PCP and am now in the process of scheduling my practical licensing exam.

    I’m wondering what to expect on the written exam I have in 10 days. I’ve been trying to locate the PCP-IV licensing booklet you were talking about but I’m not having much luck. Will it be focused primarily around medical and protocols? Or is it going to be cumulative like the final exam at the JI? Any tips you could give me on what to study would be awesome!

    wade

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hey Wade,

      First of all congratulations on heading to the next step to becoming a paramedic 🙂

      I have a feeling they may have taken the booklet down to update it, or have not replaced another booklet.

      As for your question. It’s a mixture of things. There will be some random questions and also questions regarding protocols and also scenarios. To be honest there isn’t too much tips I can give you for studying, I remember I had the same problem and didn’t know what to study at the time as well. In terms of details of pathophysiology, you won’t have to worry about that. I can say that you will do well as long as you are comfortable with what you have learned at the JI.

      Good luck!

  25. Daphne Ng says:

    Hi there!
    I chanced upon your blog while researching on guidelines to how I can be a paramedic in Canada (and seeking inspirations too (: ).
    I am from Singapore and I always wanted to be a paramedic ever since I been through an incident years ago that changed my life. Everyone has a story that pushes us to do things we never thought we would uh?
    I have a Diploma cert in Pharmacy and just graduated this year, so right now I am working in the medical line as a Pharmacy Technician. I find that my job is really meaningful because I educate and guide my patients on their medication regimen and I learn a lot of things while working with Doctors and Nurses everyday. However, this is not what I see myself in the future and as of now. I really want to accomplish and work as what I wanted for the longest time ever. In this case, it is to be a paramedic!
    I did my own research here in Singapore and again, there are so little information provided on how one can acquire a cert or a license to be one. And so I did my research on Canada. I just need a lil help or advice in how I can actually study and be trained in Canada as a paramedic.

    Thank You for taking time out of your really busy schedule and reading/replying.
    I appreciate it!

    Daphne

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Daphne,

      I have a friend who’s in Singapore right now actually 🙂

      First of all, I’d recommend you to read all the questions people have asked on this thread (mostly pertaining to BC), and to very carefully weight in the factors in terms of pay and employment before you move over here. Was there a specific province you’re wishing to move to? As each province’s Emergency Medical Service is a bit different.

      I would also look into seeing if your certification as a Pharm Tech is transferable to the provinces here in Canada, as depending on which province you move to, it will be an asset to have that ticket and be able to work as a Pharm Tech on the side.

      M

  26. Mike says:

    Hi again! I have another quick question, I remember reading somewhere that you didn’t need to order certain books for the PCP program. Is it the essentials workbooks that aren’t needed? Or are none of the optional texts needed? Thank you again!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Mike,

      The textbooks you need are the two big Essentials of Paramedic Care textbooks. The workbooks you can choose to buy or not, I only bought the workbook number two as I found it useful to use as a summary of the chapters when I didn’t have enough time to read through the whole chapter, and it’s a good review. It’s not neccessary to buy the essential workbooks to pass and do well in the course.

      I didn’t buy the PEPP book as I could read it in the library, or borrow it from someone who had previously taken the course.

      I wouldn’t buy the Pathophysiology book as it is very expensive and not needed in the course. You can always go to the library and use it as a reference if you really wish to look something up in the pathophysiology textbook. The pathophysiology book is interesting and a good to know book (perhaps you can keep it as a washroom novel 😉 ), but I’ve never had to use it in the course.

      M

  27. Sarah says:

    First of all I am an military medic looking to get out, I have my course from jibc, I we t through while they were on strike I did my ride along phase in Calgary Alberta. I was in able to get a license cause of the strike I been out of the course two yrs but practice my protocols often. Do have to take the course again, or can I submit my transcripts and challenge the test?

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I know a lot of people who were in your shoes. I have a feeling you may have to redo the course since it has been two years, although I am not entirely sure about it. It’d be best for you to contact the JI and ask them.

      Hope things work out!

    • Matt says:

      Hi Sarah,

      I’m a reserve med tech in Vancouver who went through the PCP program with the rest of the reg force guys in Chilliwack. From your history, I’m going to assume that you don’t have any licences from Alberta. Had you had a license from Alberta, then you could have gotten a licence in BC without further assessment, training or experience requirements. Refer to http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ema/get-licence/licensed-in-canada.html and http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ema/exam-scheduling/index.html

      Unfortunately, according to the Emergency Medical Assistant Licensing Board, “you have 12 months from the date your certificate or transcript was issued to successfully pass all your EMA Licensing Board examinations and requirements in order to get your licence.”

      However, I think it is best to contact EMALB to confirm all of these at http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/ema/about/contact/index.html

      • PocketMedic says:

        Thanks Matt for your insight. I agree with Matt that if you’re concerned about licensing then contacting the EMALB would be best, if it’s required for you to redo schooling, then I would contact the JI.

  28. Mike says:

    Hello again! I’m starting my PCP course in January (cs200 next month) and I was wondering how well I should know the EMR stuff before I start reading into the PCP stuff. I know ideally I should have a really good grasp on my EMR, but I got my EMR cert almost a year ago so I’m really rusty.

    I’ve been pre-reading the PCP texts but I’ve been second guessing myself lately as to whether or not I should actually refresh myself with all the EMR stuff BEFORE pre-reading the PCP texts. Hope you can give me a bit of insight, thanks again for all your help!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Mike,

      Ideally you should have a firm grasp of EMR knowledge as you have stated above. However, I will spend time focusing and studying up the PCP required knowledge. The PCP textbook will encompass what you should have learned in EMR. The key the month prior to the in-class portion is to really know your A&P. Then diligently work to stay ahead/on top of the upcoming different readings as the course progresses (expect to spend at least one day on the weekend studying). If you have time on the side, do review the patient assessment models that you have studied in EMR. The rest of the knowledge base on illnesses/disease/trauma, will be covered in the PCP textbook, but in more detail.

  29. wade says:

    I finished the PCP program in August at the JI and honestly looked in my EMR book once. There is so much information covered in the PCP program that it may reference EMR stuff but everything you need to know is in class or you should be familiar with already. If you don’t already have your text books go get them and start learning the CS200 material early. My biggest regret is not spending more time on the A&P aspect of the course as it really carries you through the medical block which is the hardest, especially if you aren’t from a biology background.

  30. sue says:

    hi guys, just need some advice.

    my partner was in the amb service for 5 years before loosing his driving license for 20 months and was promised his job bac once he got his license back, its coming near the end of his suspension now and ive heard they changed the policies regarding licenses and suspensions of it. so could anyone tell me if he has a hope of gaining his old job back before he speaks to his boss n gets his heart broken hearing he cant have the job back. not sure where this blog was started but were in the UK

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Sue,

      I’m from Canada, and I’m not sure what the UK standards and rules are. I’m guessing the best place to start is talking to your governing licensing body in the UK (not sure if it’s the NHS licensing board).

  31. Louise Balson says:

    Hey. Really interesting blog! I’m starting one up soon, and from reading yours I wished I’d done one earlier. I’ve been a paramedic in the UK for 8 years, with the last 2 years spent as a specialist rescue medic. I’m moving to BC in 2 weeks and have already had the okay to transfer my license (sadly only to Pcp-Iv level not ACP as I am in the UK). I have to schedule to do my written exam and wondered if you’d be able to give me some tips on what to study and what books to maybe buy? I’m guessing some of the questions may be related to BC ways of doing things so where could I find out about this sort of stuff? And help would be great. I tried to take bits from advice already on here but being a non-native I found it hard to understand what you meant or don’t have access to your suggestions.
    Thanks in advance, and good luck with this blog and your career. It’s a good one 🙂
    Louise

  32. John Lawson says:

    Hi there, Firstly thank you for all your hardwork, I’m sure this blog has helped alot of people..
    Now my questions.. My life goal has always been to get into the field of law enforcement however ever since I started volunteering with St John Ambulance about 2 years ago I’ve started to like the idea of becoming a paramedic more and more.. Now my main concern right now is with the wage that is paid to the paramedics.. Can you share some details on what the BC government has done so far to address the little pay BCAS offers? Also, what happened with the strike BCAS had in 2009? I couldn’t find an answer anywhere on the internet..
    Thank you for taking your time to answer this !

    • PocketMedic says:

      I apologize for the late reply. I will email you a breakdown which you may find useful.

      • John Lawson says:

        Thank you for your response!
        Now I’m taking an OFA3 course and planned to take the OFA3 – EMR bridge course once I’m finished and apply to BCAS.. Now a few more questions for you.. Assuming I get hired on with BCAS, what can I expect as far as starting wage goes ? and also, do you know which stations/areas EMR are able to work in ? (There used to be a map on BCAS website but I think it has been removed..)

  33. Sierra says:

    Hi, I’m looking into the paramedics field for after high school and I can`t find a solid answer for my question. If I go for my ACP from the JIBC will I be able to go work as a paramedic in any other province in Canada or will I have to go re-up for each province?

    • PocketMedic says:

      I am not sure about the ACP level. I know to transfer to Alberta all you have to write is a jurisprudence exam. Best call EMA licensing in BC and in the other province you’re looking into entering to find out.

  34. TJ says:

    Hey, I’m currently going to SFU, but I’ve found that the whole university thing isn’t for me right now. I’ve been looking in to going through with the EMR+PCP program at JIBC but I have a few reservations.

    1) From what I’ve read actually getting a stable position, where I can only work the one job and still be able to afford rent and food, is highly unlikely in the first few (I’ve read up to around 5?) years. If I do have to work two jobs, I’m concerned that would interfere with my shifts, not to forget how difficult it might be to find a job with hours that work in the more rural areas. I’ve also read there can be a lot of hurdles when it comes to certification, work, etc.

    2) Ontario programs are generally two years in length, but the JIBC one is 8 months (I think). If I wanted to transfer out of province, or perhaps move to a different country entirely, would the shorter program effect my employment opportunities? Or is it the same amount of hours, which I haven’t been able to tell from the JIBC site, and just more condensed.

    3) Are there any other type of continuing education programs I would be able to do, or would it offer some sort of credit for any other degrees? I would like a degree at some point, but I don’t want to saddle myself with debt for an Arts degree and low employment prospects. I know theres the ACP and CCP certifications for afterwards, I’m looking at other types of education. My original plan had been to do a physiotherapy program, which I’d still look at doing later on down the road (I’ve read theres a high turnover rate when it comes to jobs like yours)

    4) What would you consider the worst parts of your job (other then the more obvious, like seemingly horrible pay, and stress from driving and more traumatic calls). More of just the mundane concerns, paperwork, lack of equipment, what people normally don’t consider when looking in to becoming a paramedic.

    5) Is it possible to find work in other countries, like Australia or New Zealand, or do you know anyone that you graduated with or used to work with that has done so?

    I understand you don’t have all the information (especially when it comes to program information and education, pretty much anything but 1 and 4) but any insight and advice you could offer would be great! I’ve gained a lot more respect for paramedics after reading what they deal with, and how under appreciated they can be.

    Thanks!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hey TJ,

      I will try my best to answer your questions:

      1) From what I’ve read actually getting a stable position, where I can only work the one job and still be able to afford rent and food, is highly unlikely in the first few (I’ve read up to around 5?) years. If I do have to work two jobs, I’m concerned that would interfere with my shifts, not to forget how difficult it might be to find a job with hours that work in the more rural areas. I’ve also read there can be a lot of hurdles when it comes to certification, work, etc.

      This really depends on where you’re willing to go, if you’re willing to relocate. I’m not saying it will be easy, but it is possible to make a living only working as a paramedic part time in stations with high call volumes. Many part timers make more than full timers, for example in Sechelt, I know part timers to make anywhere from $60,000 – $90,000 a year (mind you, that’s working A LOT). As to how fast you can get into a station like Sechelt that also depends, I know people who were hired right after school, others after 6 months, so it is possible. Other stations such as Merritt also make good money as well as other interior stations. Best to ask HR about call volumes, and if they won’t or can’t give it to you, never hurts to call the Unit Chief at the stations to find out.

      As for a second job, it is up to you where you decide to work and what jobs you’re interested in. Many people work as a part time paramedic “for fun” while keeping their other stable job as their main salary until they get full time.

      2) Ontario programs are generally two years in length, but the JIBC one is 8 months (I think). If I wanted to transfer out of province, or perhaps move to a different country entirely, would the shorter program effect my employment opportunities? Or is it the same amount of hours, which I haven’t been able to tell from the JIBC site, and just more condensed.

      The JIBC course is basically a condensed course. If you wish to transfer to another province you may have to write another exam. Each province is slightly different, there used to be a website that tells you the transferability of each skill at the PCP level to each of the provinces but I don’t remember the website name anymore. Best place to ask is EMA licensing board as well as to call up whichever Province’s licensing board to find out. I know for BC to Alberta all you have to do is write a jurisprudence exam which is open book.

      3) Are there any other type of continuing education programs I would be able to do, or would it offer some sort of credit for any other degrees? I would like a degree at some point, but I don’t want to saddle myself with debt for an Arts degree and low employment prospects. I know theres the ACP and CCP certifications for afterwards, I’m looking at other types of education. My original plan had been to do a physiotherapy program, which I’d still look at doing later on down the road (I’ve read theres a high turnover rate when it comes to jobs like yours)

      You would have to check with each school to see if the courses taken at JIBC is transferable to say an anatomy or physiology course to the specific school. There are CMEs provided by BC Ambulance but most are specific to the job and doesn’t exactly link to a bachelor degree for example. If you’re looking into going into physio I’d suggest looking into a kines course at UBC, SFU, or Cap College for example. Then after that you will need to do a Masters Program for physio. There are many healthcare courses that you can take while working as a paramedic. I am currently looking into venipuncture course which allows you to draw blood in labs, and cardiology tech at BCIT, which allows you to work in various hospitals performing ECGs, stress tests etc and is also an asset if later in the future you want to apply for ACP. I would suggest you look into what degree you may want in the future, look into it, the school, then you can see what is transferable and what is not. I personally found (from having doing the kines program at UBC prior to going into paramedicine) that the anatomy and physiology courses offered in univeristy is a lot more in depth than that of the PCP program. I also think the smart way of doing it is to work as a PCP while finishing off a degree as that will help you bank up seniority with BCAS while you’re studying.

      4) What would you consider the worst parts of your job (other then the more obvious, like seemingly horrible pay, and stress from driving and more traumatic calls). More of just the mundane concerns, paperwork, lack of equipment, what people normally don’t consider when looking in to becoming a paramedic.

      Hmmmm I don’t know if I would consider some of the things I will mention as worst part of the job, but there are stresses to the job. One of the bigger ones this year has been the commute on the ferries and setting enough time for a relationship. After a year of traveling back and forth on the ferries, I have applied for a lateral and will be switching to a different station next month. I much prefer a nice drive and listen to some music than to have to worry about ferry schedules. I personally never had a problem dealing with paperwork. Of course pay could be better and more consistent. If I really had to pick one thing I hate most, then it is having to telling a family their loved one had passed away. That being said, I never once disliked being at work or working. It is one job which I thoroughly enjoy despite the long hours. Although the lack of sleep can be a strain on the body, you just have to learn when to take a break. Of course having the support of your family and loved one is also a very important in this career.

      5) Is it possible to find work in other countries, like Australia or New Zealand, or do you know anyone that you graduated with or used to work with that has done so?

      I am not sure what the equivalences are in those countries, it is best you do research into it first. I know a lot of people transfer over to BC from the UK, and it can be a difficult process. Each country runs things differently and the standard of care is also different.

  35. Gautami says:

    Hii im in high school and i really want to become paramedic when im older , do you have any advice?

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Gautami,

      Take science courses especially biology. Enroll in the Emergency Medical Responder course (EMR), you can also join/volunteer with St John Ambulance for experience in treating patients and continued review and practice of medical knowledge. When you’re done high school and you are EMR certified, apply for Primary Care Paramedic program. To apply for BCAS you need to be at least 18yrs old. I would also suggest you look into nursing program as well, it is a great idea to finish the PCP program and while waiting for your seniority to build, to also do nursing on the side.

  36. Margo says:

    Hi!
    I am looking into becoming a paramedic as a career. I found and read a lot of information but can’t find any information regarding hours. What kind of hours do you work? Obviously ambulance/paramedics are needed 24 hours a day 7 days a week but what kind of shifts do you work? Do senior paramedics get their choice of day and night shift our does it always rotate?
    What is an average starting wage?
    I live on an acreage 10 minutes from the closest town and 20 minutes to the closest city. Would I have a problem getting hired because of this?
    Any information would be helpful.
    Thank you!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Margo,

      A bit of a late reply as I was on vacation. To answer your question about hours for work it varies depending which shift pattern you work. Shifts vary from 8-14hrs, with most shifts being 12hrs. Full timers work blocks of four on, four off. Meaning 2 day shifts then 2 night shifts then having four days off. Part timer’s work varies as you submit your availability in and a schedule is made out of your station each month. Some part time stations do back to back shifts, ie, three shifts in a row = 34 hrs of work back to back. Also shift pattern varies per station. Some part time stations has 13hr night shifts and 11hr day shifts, others has 14hr night shifts and 10hr day shifts.

      Full timers don’t get a choice of which day or night shifts they get, as it rotates 4 on 4 off. Part timers can choose which days they want to work. Say you submit availability for day shifts only M-F. When you get your schedule back you may get scheduled for Mon, Tues, and Fri day shifts.

      Average starting wage for a PCP is around $21.61. Keep in mind often times as a part timer and just starting out in BC, you will be working pager shifts, which includes $2/hr or $10/hr until you get a call.

      Hiring is based on seniority and need for a given area. It is a general rule when you first start to work in a more rural or remote area then slowly as you gain seniority, move your way back towards your city of choice.

  37. Tannis says:

    Hi there,

    I have recently decided that becoming a paramedic is the career path I want to follow! It only took me 12 years of school and 2 years of university to figure this out but I am super excited that I have figured this out. I recently just recertified my first aid and CPR loved it and I wanted to learn more so that’s a good thing.

    However I’m not actually sure where to start. I still have 2 more years of university to figure out my first steps but any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated! I have recently moved from Alberta so I had done research and talked to people in there in the profession as to what I would have to do but not so sure about the requirements in BC.

    Love the Blog!

    Thanks for your help!!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hey Tannis,

      A bit of a tardy reply as I was on vacation. You took a shorter amount of time to figure it out than me 😉 Congrats on the new venture and goal.

      Do you have any intentions to moving back to Alberta? I’ll be honest in that paramedics in Alberta are paid much better than in BC especially when you first start off. So just a thought for you.

      What are you studying in university?

      While you’re finishing your degree, I would suggest you purchase yourself an EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) textbook and enroll in a class. I would also say read through the whole EMR textbook prior to class and be familiar with the material. The full time course you can do during summer as it is only 3 wks long, or you can do it during school part time (weekends only). I highly suggest the full time course.

      After that, apply to BC Ambulance service, you can work part time while you finish university and get your seniority started, as seniority is the only thing they care about when trying to get work in the city or certain towns. You can submit your minimum availability and you may only work two days in a month.

      While you’re getting that sorted, apply to PCP school once you’re done your degree, the program is about 8months full time.

      Do keep in mind you will probably need to keep a side job when you first start off being a paramedic, unless you’re willing to move to a town that has higher call volume.

      Cheers

  38. Anon says:

    Do you need to know how to drive stick shift (manual) to be a paramedic in BC?

  39. Anon says:

    But I thought you need to know how to drive manual to get a class 4 license?

  40. Clark says:

    Hello there I have just moved to BC from AB I completed my EMT program in AB but as I have not been licensed there yet I have to go through the licensing process in BC. I’ve been accepted at the PCP-IV level. From what I’m finding online however I think the protocols are somewhat different. Any advice on where I could get some info about BC protocols and guidelines would be very much appreciated.

    Great blog.

  41. Bronchi says:

    Hello! First of all gotta say that I love your blog! The articles and stories about your journey in paramedicine are inspiring and down-to-earth. Thank you for sharing.

    Second I should explain that my parents don’t allow me to post me real email online, so I use one that isn’t real. I’m really sorry about this but I don’t want to disobey the folks!

    I am a sixteen year old schoolgirl and I think I have finally found something that just clicks! I really love paramedicine and I read up on it whenever I can. My parents weren’t so enthused when I shared with them that I wanted to be a medic, but I think I’ve finally won their support. So, from a teenagers stand point, what do you think would be a good place to start towards a career in EMS?

    I am first aid certified and hoping to get CPR soon. Lots of thanks for any time you can spare.

    -Bronchi

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi,

      If you are still in high school, I’d aim to take biology and chemistry course in grade 11 & 12. Then as you already know, take a CPR course, and if you can, get yourself involved in St John Ambulance to get some experience and patient contact. If possible, join an adult brigade (you’ll have to be 17 years old though). Then take the EMR course. That’ll be a good way to start! Good luck.

  42. Bronchi says:

    I live in the US and I’m not entirely sure that the St. John option is available to me. I am starting college courses that count both for college and high school credit next school year so I will take as many relevant classes as possible. Thank you so much, and please keep writing this amazing blog!

  43. Anthony Moffatt says:

    Hi there. Amazing blog! I was wondering if you’d be kind enough to e-mail me about some research I’m doing. It would not take long, and I’d really appreciate it. Thank you!

  44. alannahorton says:

    Hi There!
    I’m currently a certified EMR doing my licensing next week and entering the PCP program at the JIBC in Victoria in the fall. I have found your blog super informative – thanks so much for writing it because it can be frustrating to find such little information on the web about paramedic life here in BC. I just had 2 questions that I’m wondering if you can answer for me.

    1. I am hoping to stay and work in Victoria once I have my PCP license. With an Honours Bachelor of Science, volunteer experience in 3 hospitals, and some seniority as an EMR building (about 1 year) do you think this is a possibility?

    2. What sorts of things are included on the BCAS medical pre-employment assessment? I have some hearing loss (in terms of high frequency sounds) in my right ear although not enough to prevent me from doing my job and hearing normally (I don’t need to wear a hearing aid or anything), I am concerned this may be an issue in getting hired.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Alanna,

      So are you currently already working as an EMR in BC?

      With BCAS it doesn’t matter your background degree, or your volunteering etc, it is all based from Seniority. So unfortunately you will have to wait and compete with others until your seniority is high enough to work in Victoria. I am unsure what Region 1 (Victoria) hiring currently is like, and what seniority gets you where as I am more up to date with the lower mainland, coastal region, and some knowledge about the interior. Perhaps the best person to contact is BCAS HR.

      I would not worry about your hearing impairment as it seems you are doing the job fine as an EMR. Basically the medical is to make sure you don’t have severe problems that may hinder work. Generally your family doctor will perform this test and it includes the general blood pressure, medical history, eye exam, hearing exam (if you can hear them rubbing their fingers next to your ears) etc.

  45. Timid says:

    Thanks for this blog. As a timidly interested person in paramedicine, it’s a huge help to see somebody going through the steps and willing to hep a fellow out.
    I have quite a few (a lot of) questions, so thank you for even entertaining my curiosity and even reading this essay of a post (assuming you do).

    1) How are the living standards of paramedics in BC?
    I understand that starting out, life as a BC paramedic is less than ideal. I’m aware there was a strike several years ago that unfortunately didn’t pan out. Are there active, ongoing efforts to better life as a paramedic in BC?
    Of course, as a paramedic, pay isn’t everything, and I understand that you yourself are somewhat new to this job, but in the longrun, is the pay good enough to support a family? Of course, starting out as a $2/hr employee on the pager, money won’t be particularly plentiful, but after the long road to seniority is over and you have a full-time job in, say, Vancouver, would the job be sufficient to support a standard-sized family?
    I hear paramedics outside of BC get paid substantially better, but I’m a fully born and bred British Columbian and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Provided it’s reasonably sustainable, I’d be willing to be paid less than others in the province if it meant staying here.

    2) I’m just finishing my first year at UBC. What would be the best course of action for somebody “timidly interested” in paramedicine?
    I’d be lying if I said paramedicine is an unflinching passion of mine and I have zero doubt in my mind I want to be a paramedic. Quite frankly, I have absolutely no experience with any kind of medicine at all minus a two-class CPR lesson in my high school gym class. I’m an arts student at UBC who absolutely hates being an arts student at UBC, and my current career idea of being a lawyer just feels like I’m chasing it for the wrong reasons. Meanwhile, my interest in being a paramedic amounts to a concept in my head of what paramedics do, thinking I’d enjoy it, and I suppose wanting some semblance of doing something I enjoy sometime soon instead of the drudgery I currently live through. Paramedicine sounds like a career where I could engage in the community, gain valuable skills, and most importantly, help others. Of course I’m not completely naive in that I understand a huge part of the job is monotonous or frustrating and dealing with the same people passed out on drugs every night and all that jazz, but I feel I could tolerate that.

    I suppose my question (as convoluted as it is – again, thanks for bearing with me) is that considering I have zero experience and only an introductory interest in the field, what would my best course of action be? I’d love to do a ridealong but unfortunately those don’t exist anymore. You volunteered for St John Ambulance and that seems to be the best option. Was your time at SJA rewarding? Did you learn a lot? What requirements do I need to join? Most importantly, does it give a decent intro to the field of first aid?

    Secondly (I think… not really…), assuming I plan to become a paramedic in the future, what do you recommend I do right now? Say I join the SJA. Should I take the EMR course this summer just for kicks? Maybe not – it’s money and I’m sure you know that as a university student, that’s a precious commodity. Say I take the EMR course – maybe next summer after a year with the SJA and I realize I love it. I would then be starting my third year at UBC as a certified EMR. Can I “work” for the BCAS while completing my undergraduate degree at UBC? If so, is it feasible to juggle a part-time job (I work at a sushi place), enough shifts with the BCAS to develop seniority/ stay employed, and a full-time courseload at UBC? Is there even a point in finishing my degree at UBC at that point?Where would PCP training come in during all of this?

    Say I realize my passion is paramedicine and it is my life calling and I must do it. Is it feasible to just drop everything and rush my career? That is to say, can I just drop out of UBC, get EMR certified (if I haven’t already), get a job at BCAS part-time, do the PCP course at the same time, and go blamo into being a paramedic?

    3) Again, thanks for bearing with me. I know you’ve had endless questions about the driving requirements. I don’t even have my N yet thanks to endless procrastination (heck, my L has expired and needs to be renewed), but let’s assume I’ll have my class 5 within the next three years. How long does it take to get your class 4? Hopefully not as long as the class 5 (which takes probably a MINIMUM of two years). This is with my basic assumption that you need a class 4 to be a paramedic. Do you need to get your class 4 before being hired? Can you work as an EMR/ PCP while working to get a class 4? I’m sure this has been answered already but I’m awful at tracking these things down.

    I guess what I’m looking for is a sample path for the next few years for a possible future paramedic, currently finishing up their first year as an arts undergraduate at UBC who has zero experience with paramedicine. I just know that I hate how my life feels right now, and thinking of paramedicine gets me more excited than just about anything in my life right now despite my lack of knowledge.
    Thank you enormously for your blog and wisdom, and for trudging through these questions. If you could email me back, that would be preferable, as I check my email religiously.

  46. Mike says:

    Hey! I am a 19 year old kid with a dream to one day work in EMS! should i try and get on with BCAS? i have heard so many bad things about working for BCAS..and it flat out concerns me. Everything from job security to pay. Will I make enough Money to live while working for BCAS? or should i explore other options elsewhere?

    Thanks so much!

    Mike.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Mike,

      I will tell you outright, it is not easy being a paramedic in BC. After having worked in it for a while, I can see why many tell others not to join the service. It is broken in many ways, and if you are not careful, you can easily get burnt out, especially morale wise. However that being said, if you are able to put the politics aside, it is indeed a very rewarding job. Money is always a concern, and it can be tough depending on where you start out and your willingness to move to a station where you get hired. One strong suggestion for you is to consider working as a paramedic as a “side job” or hobby, until you get full time. Meaning, get licensed, start working as a part time paramedic, you are young, so go to school and study something on the side while you work part time (degree, apprentice, whatever you like). It is always good to have a side and a stable job to fall back on and one you can rely on until you get full time as a paramedic, which currently takes approximately 5yrs.

      If you don’t mind moving to other places, Alberta is a good place to be a paramedic, you get hired as a full timer right away, and their starting wage is much higher than in BC. It is a matter of whether you want to stay in BC, or look elsewhere. Many paramedics here work a side job, or does part time jobs in the oil rigs, or forestry/industry areas.

      • Mike says:

        thanks so much for your reply! so, can i do my pcp course here in british columbia? and then apply for a paramedic job in Calgary even though i did the course in BC? it is my dream to one day work as a supervisor for an ambulance service! i can still do that there, correct?

        thanks again.

        Mike

      • Mike says:

        also, what is the pcp course like? is it as hard as i think? are the teachers easy going? also, what is the physical test like to be hired by bcas?

  47. Janel says:

    I was just wondering if you can get a Job with BCAS with a Class 4 learners? I’m just in the beginning stages of going for my EMR. I still need to get certificates, and right now only Hold a Class 7 licence, and should be taking te Class 5 test within a couple weeks.! 🙂

  48. Jays says:

    Where are you working out of right now PocketMedic? I’m sure you have answered this question before, but do you receive a pension with BCAS?

  49. Daniel says:

    Hi,
    Your blog is awesome, its been super helpful for starting the PCP program and throughout. Im currently half way through PCP, and I just received my student licence. I have completely filled out my application for BCAS and am just about to send it in. Ive heard its a very long process and I plan to give them what I have now (which is just the PCP student licence with restrictions), and hopefully by the time I finish precepting in March they will have got around to looking at it and I will have my full licence and be ready to work.

    Is it fine to fill out the application without having a full PCP licence? I figured it would be better to get the application rolling sooner then later.

    do you have any tips for me with the application process and getting my application though quickly with what i currently have? Anything at all would be helpful! (such as who I need to call frequently to move along my application, or anything else I can get done now rather then later, or picking my top stations in the application)
    Also, do you know if its better to put down a bunch of stations that you may be interested in getting hired at then just a few? (they have a new application now with every single station listed, and you just rank them according to what you want).

    any advice is greatly appreciated!
    Thats all my questions for now, thanks so much!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Yes the application process does take a while, unfortunately there isn’t too much you can do while you wait to get all your paperwork together. It is absolutely fine to apply while only having a student license. I suggest you have your drivers license ready and completed (if you haven’t already) and hand it in ASAP. You will have to do the interview process, then they will send you to get your fitness test etc, and that comes in that order. So there is only so much you can do to spur that process on. Do however, if you don’t hear back, call HR once in a while for an update.

      Other thing is make sure you have all your shots up to date (I think you needed this already for your PCP program).

      For now I will do research on which stations have how much call volume (sometimes HR can help you with this) and also which stations hire new PCPs. Consider how far you are willing to commute, if you are willing to move etc and make your decisions from there. It never hurts to apply to more stations than less. You can always turn down offers when they ask you and you decide it will not work for you (clarify with HR how many times you can turn down a station, I can’t remember now). Sometimes it is worth waiting a little bit to get a station that works for you than one that won’t. Remember your probation is 6 months, and until then you can’t lateral to another station. And even if you can, you may not get to where you want to go. So think things through beforehand, so you know immediately when they ask you if you want a specific station.

      Basically just ensure you have a checklist of the paperwork you need to hand in, hand them in ASAP, then follow up to ensure they received and processed it. If after a while you do not hear from them, give them a call and ask. Book appointments ASAP and that should get you through rather smoothly (quickly when I did it, which is 4yrs ago now, was 3 months – from paper work till I had my first orientation at a station).

  50. Lucia says:

    Hi there,

    Brilliant blog and sorce of information. I am full of questions but will focus only on few if I may. I’m a UK paramedic transferring to BC and was wondering if you know of any one who done this transfer and if anyone managed to get in as ACP.
    Secondly, if you are a PCP IV what kind of training can u do to be a ACP and, am guessing will be at personal cost, how much?
    I am at a very beginning of my transfer trying to get some prospectives.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Lucia,

      There has been other paramedics from the UK who has asked me the same questions. I only know of one paramedic from the UK and he told me his process was tedious. You have to go through the licensing board – EMALB – they would be the best place to start and the place to speak with. From the one medic I worked with once (he now works as ACP paramedic here) he got equivalency for PCP-IV then took a challenge course to the ACP. I can’t remember if they made him do the course again or not.

      Training from PCP-IV to ACP is a program through JIBC (Justice Institute of BC), you can go on their website and take a look.

      I hope this helps guide you as to where to start and who to ask questions. Good luck!

  51. mike says:

    Having so much trouble getting through jurisprudence exam 3 legislation. If anyone has any tips on how to pass. I’m all ears, I’ve tried it 3 times at 100 bucks a Crack.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Jurisprudence is open book (unless they have changed this since I’ve done it), make sure you have all the documents ready and have read it all through once prior to doing your exam. PS the search button is handy.

  52. martinhanzalek says:

    I really love your blog. I was actually just googling BC labor mobility licensing info and you were in the top three hits. I’m just in the process of finalizing a BC Paramedic registration (I’m a practicing paramedic here in St. John’s Newfoundland). Your blog answered all my questions.

    I’d love to follow you. I’m at http://www.martinhanzalek.ca on wordpress. My friend is presently doing the same thing. I’ll have to share this page with her.

  53. Dustin says:

    Hello,

    Absolutely love your blog! I have been education myself about the paramedic field and am more fascinated every day. I live in Vancouver and will be looking to complete the EMR training at JIBC in September and had a quick question that you can hopefully help me out with 🙂

    What is the major differences between completing OFA Level 3 and getting licensed as an EMR? My plan originally was to get licensed as an EMR and continue on into the PCP program until I noticed that an individual with OFA Level 3 can also apply into the PCP program at JIBC. I would like to give myself the best chance of being able to find work opportunities so would being licensed EMR be better then having OFA Level 3? Thank you before hand!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Dustin, I hope your studies went well. I do realize it is now October and I am just replying to your question back in May! I know it is too late now, but my suggestion is to do EMR. OFA3 is good, but it doesn’t cover pediatrics, EMR is a much more well rounded program and gives you a better grasp of running protocols which is much more similar to the PCP.

  54. Charles Humphrey says:

    Hey its great to see some info on being a BC medic here since as you said, there is very little going in terms of info. I’m a recent Ontario PCP grad making the move out to BC for family reasons. I understand some of the process insofar as I have to transfer my AEMCA over for a BC Licence, write the jurisprudence exam and then Bob’s your uncle. The finer points elude me though.

    Can I start putting in applications prior to obtaining my BC licence? I should have my AEMCA in hand by mid-July, will the service consider me a serious applicant once I have the AEMCA, knowing that the BC licence is only a matter of paperwork for me?

    With respect to scope of practice, how does the PCP-IV designation work? If I was IV trained at my college, and my college is CMA accredited, does that automatically make me IV certified in BC or there some further hurdle to using this skill? Finally, with respect to ACP, is it a year as a PCP or a year full time they want for the application? How competitive is ACP school entrance, what are the opportunities for ACPs in BC and does it get you to full time faster?

    Finally I’m wondering what the word is on scope of practice stuff like ECGs…I notice that BC is radically different in this regard from what I’ve been exposed to elsewhere. Is there talk of PCPs doing ECG interpretation at the moment or is that way off. A bit sad to know that the 3 months I spent learning to differentiate a Wenckebach from a Mobitz and how to diagnose hyper-k to get salbutamol onboard may be for nothing until I’m an ACP. In any case I’ve left you with enough questions. I know BC is maybe not the easiest place to start my career but life’s thrown us a few curveballs lately so BC or bust!

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Charles,

      I’m hoping you have had some of your answers answered by now as my reply is way way late. I have been MIA from my blog.

      I do not know the details regarding transfering from Ontario as I personally have not gone through the process although several people have asked on this blog. The best place for such questions will be the EMALB (our licensing board). As for putting in applications, generally BCAS is pretty chill about it, so contact their HR, tell them your situation, I would not be surprised if they start a file for you and just wait for you to send in your certifications as they come in.

      If you have IV certifications, I am sure they will allow you to carry that over. Once again that depends on the EMALB. They may make you do a skill station to show you do know your IVs or they may just endorse you on it.

      ACP is the new thing in BC, many people are going to ACP school so they can get full time position right away. Currently there are no restrictions on when you can apply to ACP (it is not necessary for you to say do 1yr on the street as a PCP first), you can apply straight out of PCP school provided you meet all the requirements. That being said, ACP positions are getting really tight, nowadays people have to wait a year after ACP school to get a job.

      In regards to ECGs, they have done a trial in certain stations in the lower mainland and have found ECGs to be very practical and useful at the BLS level. However, in the meantime BLS paramedics still are not allowed to run ECGs, although it looks promising in the future.

  55. Par says:

    Hello! I just spent an hour surfing through your blog. It is very interesting and informative and I thank you for journalling your experience from your training to the present. I have a quick question – if you don’t mind.

    I have no background in first-aid, medical training/volunteering etc. – I am actually close to completing my Arts undergrad degree and I’m considering a career in paramedicine after graduation. I assume that the next step is to register for the PCP program at JIBC (I live in the Lower Mainland). Would you describe the process of being accepted into the JIBC program as competitive? Do you know how many students they host or number of classes per year? I’m wondering if you would recommend that a person with my background complete some basic first-aid courses or anything like that prior to applying in order to make my application more competitive?

    Also, I noticed in your school hours breakdown that there is a “dissection” section. I am really curious about what – or who – you are dissecting. I know that a career in paramedicine is not for the squeamish….but I’m not super tolerant of everything when it comes to the human body hehe.

    Thank you for your time 🙂 I am definitely bookmarking your blog.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Par,

      I apologize for the late reply. I have been MIA from my blog for a while due to life taking over. I hope my reply for you isn’t too late.

      I would highly suggest getting some first aid experience prior to applying, this allows for you to see if you are interested in paramedicine and to at least give you some knowledge and foundation of what it is about. You can easily do a local standard first aid/cpr course, plus it is a good life skill to have!

      The process getting into JIBC can be competitive, it depends on how many people are applying at the time. They generally look for people with some prior experience and people with life experience as both are necessary for the program. I don’t know how many classes they have a year now (you can take a look at their website), but generally there were two full time classes a year and I believe they recently offer a part time course. Best person to ask will be their Student Services department.

      Dissection we did involved a pig’s heart as it is very similar to a human heart and we also got to examine and ventilate a pig’s lung. Really cool. This isn’t offered to every class, just whenever such organs are available. So we got lucky 😉

  56. Robert Wilcox says:

    Is there any help available for someone doing the pcp program?

  57. Emil says:

    Hi, PocketMedic. Recently came across your blog, and i have already learned so much about the rocky road to becoming a paramedic. I’m about to enter my 3rd year at SFU for criminology and looking to become a corrections officer but after some extensive volunteering i’m not quite sure its right for me. I recently registered for the next EMR full time course late November at JIBC. I’m 22 now and i’m just wondering if you think i still got time to pursue a job as a Paramedic. Thanks – Great blog.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Emil, you absolutely got more than enough time to be a paramedic! I started when I was 23. In fact, I think it’s good to be in your 20s to start being a medic as it gives you more life experience and you are able to better communicate and relate to your patients. Good luck!

  58. Mary says:

    Hi there! I came across your blog and I have been thinking to change of career and being a paramedic was I’m interested of. Its something that can’t get off my mind. I want to be a paramedic If you can tell me what are the courses that I need to take and recommended schools. Hopefully, you can answer my questions that’s been all my mind cause I don’t know anybody who are into paramedic. Thanks a lot.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Mary, I apologize for the late reply, I haven’t been keeping up with my blog as much as I used to due to life. Funny how that can get in the way 😉 I can only answer questions about being a paramedic in BC. As for courses you would want to start with the EMR (emergency medical responder) course first then eventually do the PCP (Primary Care Paramedic) course. You can google these courses for schools.

  59. Len says:

    I sure do appreciate when a generous person volunteers their time to share information and help others like you’re doing here. This is a great blog. Thanks.
    My question is, and I’m sure it depends on what type of shift you are given, but in remote areas as an EMR, what are you required to do while you’re NOT on a callout? Are you allowed to work on your own projects? I’m a writer and would like to pursue being an EMR if it provides quiet time for me to work on my own stuff. I have my OFA3 already and would try to do an EMR bridge course and then relocate to anywhere in bc.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Len,

      The nice thing about being part timer in a rural station is yes you can do whatever you want as long as you are within a reasonable response time for calls. So if you have a job which allows you to work, say off the internet, it would be perfect for you. You can absolutely work on your own projects.

  60. Victor says:

    why isn’t there ACP postings on the BCAS career website? Are all those positions internal only?

    • PocketMedic says:

      Yes it is generally on the internal website posting, although if you are an ACP I’m sure you can contact HR and ask about postings. To be honest there haven’t been too many ACP postings that I’ve seen recently.

  61. Victor says:

    Any ride along opportunities in metro Vancouver?

  62. D says:

    Hey. I’ve always dream to be a paramedic. But im still schooling. Planned to persue my dreams after graduating from diploma in Pharmaceutical. But i heard that ome of the criteria is having good eye sight? Meaning if i need to were glasses or cont lens i cant be paramedic ? And if it doesnt, can share how to be a paramedic from scratch ? Thank you

  63. Calvin says:

    Hello,
    I am interested in becoming a career paramedic, however, I have a few questions.
    Is it possible to part-time the preliminary EMR program while being a full time student in a college?
    Once I have completed my EMR, I is it fairly easy to get hired?
    (If I get hired) is it possible to parallel the PCP program and full time colleging while maintaining the required shifts (to pass the probation)?
    Last of all, I am still in my L for driver licensee, does it mean that I wont stand a chance in being employed? As the page states that i have to at least have a class 4 driving license.
    I’m sorry for asking so many questions, but I really want to complete my BA in History (which is my dream), while pursing a meaningful career.

    Thanks.

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Calvin, I suggest doing the Emr program during the summer when hopefully you won’t need to take a ulm load of university courses. The full time course is only 1 month. You can definitely work part time and go through university studies… However these days the stations emrs can get into is further from the lower mainland as there are more and more pcps. I would give bcas hr a call and ask which stations emr are getting into to fully get a grasp of your options in regards to commute. And yes you do need class 4 drivers license

  64. Philip Kaiser says:

    Hello -C,
    just found your great Blog while doing research for the so called International Experience.
    I’m from Germany and currently applying for a work permit to finally visit and work in Canada – Vancouver to be accurate – even if it is just for a short time.
    I’m working as a rescue assistant for 6 years which – professionally speaking – lies in between PCP and ACP regarding diagnosis and therapy of critical patients. As I’m aware of the unequal training of Paramedics (several years in college) and the rescue assistant (2 years of training devided equally in theory and practic studies) I’m not sure if there is any chance to do any work which is even near to this profession. My hope is that you could by any chance be able to help and give some advice if it is unrealistic to plan to work in this job.

    If you could spare some time I’m eager to contact you directly with any details you might need to help.

    Thanks in advance for your answer and for your time.

    Best regards

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Philip, very sorry I don’t write in this blog anymore and don’t really check comments as frequently as I used to. Reason your comment didn’t show up is it required my approval first. Hopefully you are enjoying your stay here. Let me know if you still have questions, I’ll try and keep an eye out for your emails.

  65. Anna says:

    HI I am intrested in becoming a paramedic as my career and I was wondering step by step how I would do that. i am in the US if that makes a difference.
    Thank you

    • PocketMedic says:

      Hi Anna,

      I live in Canada and the US is very different. It may also differ per state. So my suggestion is to contact your local EMT or paramedic academy to figure out the details. Finding the proper school would be the first step.

  66. Anna says:

    That is the diffence betweena university program and pcp program?
    thank you

  67. lenfromkits says:

    Hi. I’m a new paramedic working on a gulf island. I’m an EMR and registered for a PCP course in the new year.

    When I was starting out over a year ago and committing to following this path, I found your blog here to be the most useful source of info on the web. So thanks, but I was thinking maybe you might consider sharing the workload of managing it and answering questions. I’d hate to see your blog come to an end. And I might still need more advice myself since I’m about to do the PCP course.

  68. Emil says:

    Hi Pocket Medic,

    Not sure if you’re still answering questions. I have submitted everything to BCAS to work as an EMR, they have now asked me to move forward with the Ministry of Justice Criminal Record Check. That was about 3 weeks ago and i have submitted it~. Do you know how long it takes for an interview after this has been done? Thanks!

  69. lenfromkits says:

    Hi. I submitted my criminal record Check at the start of June. Got my interview on the third week of July, got my criminal record check results a week into September and got hired the last week of September.

    One in ten criminal checks go sideways and they need to finger print you if you have a similar name or birthdate to a known sex offender. In that case the processing takes twice as long, as in my case.

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