About the job

Nature of work:

Paramedics provide pre-hospital emergency medical care to patients and transport them to hospitals or other medical facilities for further medical attention.

They are employed by private ambulance services, hospitals, fire departments, government departments and agencies, manufacturing firms, mining companies and other private sector establishments. Paramedics who are supervisors are included in this group.

A Paramedic Level I may work as part of a ground ambulance crew, emergency department triage, or dispatch communications. A Paramedic Level III may work as part of a ground ambulance crew, dispatch communications, emergency department paramedic, or flight crew. A basic life support (BLS) crew consists of two Paramedic Level I's, while an advanced life support (ALS) crew must have at least one Paramedic Level III.

Job duties:
Workers in this group perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Assess extent of injuries or medical illnesses of trauma victims, patients with respiratory disease and stress, overdose and poisoning victims, industrial accident victims and other ill or injured individuals to determine emergency medical treatment.
  • Administer pre-hospital emergency care to patients such as oxygen therapy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), spinal immobilization, bandaging and splinting.
  • Establish and maintain intravenous treatment (IV), apply adjunctive equipment for ventilation and circulation complications, administer medications and provide other advanced emergency treatment to patients.
  • Transport patients by air, land or water to hospital or other medical facility for further medical care.
  • Collaborate with ambulance dispatch centres, hospital staff, police, firefighters and family members to ensure relevant information is collected and proper treatment is administered.
  • Document and record nature of injuries and illnesses and treatment provided.
  • Assist hospital personnel with provision of medical treatment, if necessary.
  • Maintain ambulances and emergency care equipment and supplies.
  • May train and supervise other workers in this group.
  • May assist with triage of emergency patients.
Sample job titles:
  • advanced emergency medical assistant
  • ambulance attendant
  • emergency medical assistant
  • emergency medical attendant (EMA)
  • emergency medical technician - paramedic/advanced care paramedic (EMT - P/ACP)
  • emergency medical technician - primary care paramedic (EMT - PCP)
  • emergency medical technician (EMT)
  • emergency medical technologist - paramedic (EMT-P)
  • medical technician
  • paramedic

Paramedics work in a physically demanding environment and must maintain a high level of strength and fitness. Paramedics are often involved in highly stressful situations that require the ability to make accurate, rapid decisions that can greatly affect the health of a patient. Effective communication skills are essential as the paramedic must routinely interact with patients, family members, health care providers, and other emergency services including fire and police agencies.

Job requirements:
  • Completion of a one- to three-year college, hospital-based or other recognized paramedical or emergency medical technology program is required.
  • To work as a Paramedic in Nova Scotia you must complete a recognized program in emergency medical technology along with supervised practical training.
  • Licensing by a regulatory body is required in Nova Scotia.
  • Those operating emergency vehicles require an appropriate class of licence.
Other considerations:

People in these jobs are usually required to work irregular hours, evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Paramedics most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions.

The median employment income for 68% of Paramedics who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $70,649. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Paramedics1,170Strong growth125Low
Minimum: $22.87
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $35.00
Minimum: $20,582
Median: $66,980
Maximum: $92,591
Occupations in Health36,515Strong growth4,385Low
Minimum: $16.38
Median: $25.50
Maximum: $41.00
Minimum: $10,740
Median: $43,853
Maximum: $88,944
ParamedicsCompared to: Occupations in Health
Percent employed full-time93%77%
Percent self-employed1%10%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentParamedicsCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Cape Breton17%x13%$32,974
Annapolis Valley16%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeParamedicsCompared to: All Health
% Employed% Employed
Median Age3744
GenderParamedicsCompared to: Occupations in Health
% Employed% Employed
EducationParamedicsCompared to: All Health
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolN/Ax1.1%$27,581
High school5.3%$34,7136.9%$24,119
Trades certificate8.5%$43,6745.0%$31,728
College certificate or diploma63.6%$49,60339.4%$36,693
University certificate or diploma6.5%$48,7554.8%$50,769
Bachelor's degree15.4%$46,15627.6%$57,186
University advanced certificate or diploma0.8%x2.3%$61,833
Master's degreeN/Ax5.1%$87,808
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometryN/Ax7.2%$83,000
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.


Employment Requirements & Contacts

Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
College of Paramedics of Nova Scotia
380 Bedford Highway, Suite 314
Halifax, NS B3M 2L4
(902) 476-8797
Useful contacts:
Nova Scotia Emergency Health Services
Joseph Howe Building, 10th Floor 1690 Hollis Street, PO Box 488
Halifax, NS B3J 2R8
Tel: (902) 424-4833
Fax: (902) 424-1781

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Emergency medical technology/technician (EMT paramedic)
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals, under the remote supervision of physicians, to recognize, assess, and manage medical emergencies in prehospital settings and to supervise ambulance personnel. These programs include courses in basic, intermediate, and advanced EMT procedures; emergency surgical procedures; medical triage; rescue operations; crisis scene management and personnel supervision; equipment operation and maintenance; patient stabilization, monitoring, and care; drug administration; identification and preliminary diagnosis of diseases and injuries; communication and computer operations; basic anatomy, physiology, pathology, and toxicology; and professional standards and regulations.
See all institutions providing this program+
Medavie HealthEd - Dartmouth
201 Brownlow Ave, Unit 33
Dartmouth, NS B3B 1W2
Additional resources:

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