Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

EMS has a long standing history when it comes to serving the community. This industry is still quite young in relative terms – formalized EMS services in Canada, and across North America, have only really been in existence since the mid-1970s, but most notably, locally, responsibility for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) was transitioned from municipalities and organizations to Alberta Health Services (AHS) in April 2009. EMS is an integral part of health AND an important component of the public safety net. Working closely with other first responder partners such as law enforcement, fire and STARS Air Ambulance, Albertans can be assured that if they need emergency medical attention – EMS will be there. EMS dispatch receives over 500,000 ground ambulance calls each year. About 33 per cent of these are for inter-facility transfers (patient transfer from one health care facility to another), and 66 per cent are for 9-1-1 calls.

How many locations do you have in Calgary and nationally/internationally? What locations are hiring locally in Calgary and area?

We are a provincial organization, however, within Alberta, we have five operational zones: north, Edmonton, central, Calgary and south. Within these five zones, we have a wide variety of community stations, from which ambulances are deployed to emergencies.

How many people does your organization employ? How many locally?

There are over 4,000 EMS practitioners in the Alberta Health Services EMS system, province-wide. Approximately 40% female, 60% male is the current workforce.

What type of positions do you offer?

Full time, part time and casual.

What are the benefits of working for your company? Staff discounts, incentive programs, scholarships etc.

EMS is a dynamic field in healthcare. Not only is our working environment constantly changing, our protocols for patient treatment are also constantly evolving and expanding. This gives paramedics greater ability and license to treat patients more aggressively in the pre-hospital environment. This industry is still quite young in relative terms – formalized EMS services in Canada, and across North America, have only been in existence since about the mid-1970s. Compare this to very distant histories of other healthcare providers, namely physicians and nurses, but EMS in Alberta has kept pace with the healthcare
industry and has constantly aligned itself with the most up-to-date and current cutting-edge treatment methods. EMS has also embraced the latest technology in order to best provide service- from the use of GPS on our ambulances, to utilizing electronic record keeping (tablet ePCR) and other computer and technology related advances such the use of the latest cardiac monitoring equipment (LP15s) for 12-lead transmission, and Computer Aided Dispatch, “CAD”.

Describe opportunities for advancement.

The jobs available for EMR, EMT/PCP, or paramedic/ACP graduates are varied. *Please note: under the Health Professions Act (HPA), the title for EMT-A (Emergency Medical Technician –Ambulance) has changed to Primary Care Paramedic (PCP). The title for Emergency Medical Technologist / EMT-P, commonly known as “paramedic”, has changed to Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP). The title for EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) will remain the same.

There are different locations staff can apply to work for at EMS all over the province. They include urban and rural postings as well as different roles within EMS to choose from: inter-facility transfer, Community Paramedic, Clinical Educator, Emergency Communications Officer (dispatch), Vehicle Equipment Services Supply Tech, public education, media relations. There are also a number of paramedic Specialty Teams you may apply for: Tactical EMS (TEMS), air medical, Incident Response Paramedic (IRP), Public Safety Unit (PSU), Rapid Access Paramedic (bicycle), critical incident stress management and Honour Guard.

List any corporate responsibility initiatives that your organization is currently involved in.

EMS works closely with, and supports two EMS-specific Foundations in Alberta, and is committed to the health & well-being of all Albertans, via emergency care and injury prevention.

How would someone find out about opportunities at your company? How can a candidate apply?

Job board: http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/careers/Page12720.aspx (we recommend creating a profile).

Alberta College of Paramedics (our governing body): www.collegeofparamedics.org
A career in EMS is extraordinarily rewarding. Your care can make a significant difference in the outcome of a patient. EMS involves rotating shift work to cover 24/7/365. EMS staff can expect strenuous conditions at times: carrying patients, lifting equipment, working outside in extreme weather, etc. EMS must also contend with unusual patient presentations (injuries and illnesses) and be able to provide care to patients from new-borns to the very elderly. Email: ems.peo@ahs.ca for more info.

Describe your hiring and interview process?

The EMS District Supervisor which posted the position is the lead for the hiring and interview process. Once the candidate is hired, they are included into a larger recruit class, which goes through a vigorous two to three week orientation to EMS.

The SAIT and NAIT calendars indicate that 100% of its paramedic program graduates have found work in their chosen field within six months of graduating. Although there are more EMRs finding employment in the province than in previous years, generally gainful employment in EMS begins at the EMT/PCP level. Although employment is commonly found at the EMT/PCP level, there are also greater numbers of EMTs/PCPs seeking those positions. Due to the constant demand for paramedics, EMTs/PCPs who are in paramedic school may be hired to begin work as an EMTs/PCPs prior to completing paramedic school with the expectation they will complete their training to become full paramedics/ACPs. *Prospective employees must be registered and in good standing with the Alberta College of Paramedics.

What do you look for in an employee?
  • Highly adaptable to rapidly changing situations and environments;
  • Able to assess and reassess priorities quickly and constantly;
  • Resilient to stress and frequent interruptions;
  • Solve problems effectively, both independently and in collaboration with others;
  • Demonstrate a high level of integrity, along with organizational and safety awareness;
  • Able to establish and maintain productive relationships with others, both internally and externally;
  • Possess a keen sense of attention to detail as well as highly developed communication skills including (verbal, written etc.)
What type of education/training/equipment do you require?

There are many institutions providing training for all levels - EMR, EMT/PCP, and paramedic/ACP. Consult the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP) website for a list of accredited institutions, www.collegeofparamedics.org

Regardless of where you complete your education, you must pass the ACP provincial exams at each level prior to working in the province. You cannot work without a valid ACP licence.

The following are SAIT's minimum entry requirements for EMR, EMT/PCP, and paramedic/ACP courses. *Entry requirements, educational prerequisites, and application processes will vary from school to school.

EMR (Emergency Medical Responder):

  • Prerequisite: Current "Level C" CPR with AED and Standard First Aid certification taken within the 12 months prior to the course start date. Students must have access to a computer and the Internet for the duration of the course.
EMT (Emergency Medical Technology)/PCP (Primary Care Paramedic):

Alberta High School Diploma or equivalent with at least 50% in each of the following courses or their equivalents:

  • English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2, Math 20-1 or Math 20-2 (OR Pure Math or Applied Math 20), and Biology 30 or Science 30;
  • Students must be 18 years old by January 1 (second semester of the EMT/PCP program);
  • Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) graduate or completion of an EMR program by late April prior to fall commencement;
  • All applicants to SAIT Polytechnic must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.
Paramedic (EMT-P)/ACP (Advanced Care Paramedic):

Alberta High School Diploma or equivalent with at least 50% in each of the following courses or their equivalents:

  • Math 20-1 or Math 20-2 (OR Pure or Applied Math 20) AND,
  • English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2, AND,
  • Biology 30, or Science 30, or SAIT's ANPH 209
    Note: ANPH 209 can be found in SAIT's Continuing Education calendar.
  • All applicants must be registered with the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP) as an EMT/PCP by August 1 prior to the program's commencement.
  • All applicants to SAIT must demonstrate English Language Proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada. For more information, please see English Proficiency.
Note that the minimum educational requirements listed are exactly that. They do not guarantee acceptance into the program. EMT/PCP and paramedic courses are generally over-subscribed. This means there are always substantially more applicants to the program than there are spots available. Therefore just meeting the very minimum requirements is likely not sufficient to gain acceptance to the program.

What is the minimum age required to work for your company? Are there different age requirements for different positions?

18 and the educational requirements, above. For internal postings, requirements may be vary.

Provide a wage range for entry level positions.

Starting EMR: ~$19.00/hour up to ~$22.00/hour.

Starting EMT/PCP ~$26.00/hour up to ~$33.00/hour.

Starting paramedics/ACP ~32.00/hour up to ~$44.00/hour.

This does not include overtime, or statutory holiday pay, and shift differentials (nights/weekends).

What are the hours of the business and general shift times? Are there a minimum number of hours someone needs to work per week? Is there flexibility regarding school schedules?

Primarily, shift patterns work on a 'four on, four off' (two day shifts, two nights, four days off) rotation, via a Platoon-based system.

Is a uniform provided or do employees have to pay for it?

When hired, employees are provided uniforms, and a plethora of accessories, including personal safety items.