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Applicants for this program are required to successfully complete the Emergency Medical Responder course as a mandatory admission requirement for this program.
Review admission requirements for more details.
The Primary Care Paramedic program provides education and training for pre-hospital care professionals, preparing graduates to work within a multidisciplinary healthcare team.
Taught by experienced practitioners, this program covers all aspects of pre-hospital emergency care. Areas of study include patient assessment, diagnostics, critical interventions and treatment, including Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS) and International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) assistance.
This competency-based program provides applied theory and hands-on learning through high-fidelity human patient simulation education in the Centre for Advanced Patient Care Simulation and during practicum rotations. Working under the direct supervision of a preceptor, practicums occur in hospitals or urgent care centres and ambulance settings.
You'll experience success in this program and profession by developing the following traits, skills and aptitudes:
- fine motor skills
- critical thinking and adaptability
- effective communication skills (speaking, reading, writing, and listening)
- ability to work independently
- actively participate in classroom, lab, and practicum activities as scheduled by the program
- ability to work well under stress, maintain professional behaviour and emotionally self-regulate
- ability to use technology
- attention to detail
- can wear Personal Protective Equipment for extended periods and tolerate latex and disinfection materials
- willing to work extended hours, including nights and/or weekends and shift work
- ability to tolerate the sight of human blood and tissue
- ability to assist in transporting, lifting, and positioning patients and/or equipment and meet the physical demands of the job (for example, spending most hours working on your feet, walking, bending, and other repetitive tasks)
- comfortable with performing patient care procedures which may be sensitive or performed in close proximity.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to refer to the ALIS website for career, learning, and employment information for Emergency Medical Personnel, the Paramedicine National Occupational Competency Profile and Alberta Health Service’s F.A.R.E. Paramedic requirements to ensure they understand the functional ability required to achieve all the competency-based objectives and bona fide occupational requirements for the program and profession.
Some examples include:
- Lifting a stretcher with a 95.5 kg (210 lbs) patient with a partner from a lower level to the load position and back down
- Lifting and carrying a long spine board with 95.5 kg (210 lbs) and ascending and descending 10 stairs with a partner
- Pushing a stair chair 10 m with 95.5 kg (210 lbs) and ascending and descending 20 stairs with a partner
- Lifting a bilateral side carry of 9 kg (20 lbs) of weight in each hand
- Front carrying 18 kg (40 lbs)
- Performing CPR for two minutes.
The opportunity to advance your education by transferring into this program or gain credit for previous postsecondary courses may be available.
Graduates of this program are qualified to apply for the Advanced Care Paramedic program and earn their diploma.
Learn more about program and institution transfer options.
You'll participate in a clinical practicum as well as an ambulance practicum. An on-site preceptor and a SAIT instructor provide expert guidance and evaluations throughout each practicum.
The School of Health and Public Safety has many practicum partners in Alberta and Canada. Practicum placements in Calgary are limited, and you may be required to travel or relocate outside the city. Due to limited practicum spots for the paramedicine programs provincially, some practica may not end until August.
Successful applicants will be assigned their practicum placement. While we'll strive to assign your practicum location based on your preference, it is not guaranteed. Special considerations will not be given. You will be responsible for fees associated with the practicum, such as entrance requirements, relocation and travel costs.
In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, you will be requested to provide proof of the following requirements:
- current Heart and Stroke Foundation BLS Provider course
- updated immunization records
- Police Information Check, including Vulnerable Sector Check
- N95 respiratory mask fitting
- health and wellness status
Please note: If you cannot obtain a tight facial seal due to the presence of facial hair and refuse to shave for religious reasons, you are considered unfit by AHS standards and will not be allowed on an ambulance practicum. As practicum is an essential component of the program, you cannot complete the Primary Care Paramedic program successfully.
The Primary Care Paramedic program delivered by SAIT is accredited by Accreditation Canada at the Primary Care Paramedic level and meets the Alberta College of Paramedics core competency requirements.
All graduates are eligible and required to register with the Alberta College of Paramedics to work in Alberta as a Primary Care Paramedic.
Upon completing this program, graduates will receive a SAIT Primary Care Paramedic certificate.
Careers and opportunities
Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.
Career counselling and support
Unsure which career path is for you? SAIT offers career planning services to help you decide your future.
You can also get started by taking our online career finder quiz, which can help you narrow down your search based on your current skills and interests.
Finally, you can also head to Alberta alis for various tools and resources, including additional quizzes and labour market information to help you narrow down a career path.Services and workshops
The Primary Care Paramedic certificate requires 34.5 credits (15 courses) to complete.
The program spans 40 weeks, with three semesters. Depending on practicum site availability, your ambulance practicum may continue beyond the third semester.
Physiology and Physical Assessment embraces an integrated approach to the study of body systems with a focus on both anatomy and physiology. Key components of this approach include gathering a patent’s history, developing interview strategies and learning how to conduct a comprehensive physical examination.
Basic Pharmacology focuses on the theory and practice of safe medication administration. Topics include Canadian drug legislation, scope of practice guidelines specific to Alberta and an emphasis on experiential learning in the lab environment.
Traumatic Emergencies will focus on the pathology, assessment and management of various types of traumatic emergencies and injuries. Topics include burns, trauma to the head, spine, chest, abdomen and extremities. Geriatric, pediatric, obstetrical trauma patients will also be studied. International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) Basic certification will be awarded upon completion of this course.
Community Integration is a unique experiential opportunity that puts theory into practice by implementing communication and history-gathering strategies as well as components of the physical exam. Emphasis is placed on interpersonal communication skills and the ability to demonstrate professionalism and leadership skills at all times.
Respiratory Emergencies will focus on the pathology, assessment and management of common respiratory illnesses and diseases. Basic respiratory pharmacology and therapies will also be studied.
PCP Lab 1 focuses on the integration of knowledge and skills learned during the first semester of the Primary Care Paramedic program. Interpersonal communication skills and the ability to demonstrate professionalism and leadership skills at all times will be practiced in simulated scenarios.
Professional Practice 1 examines legislation governing the practice of Primary Care Paramedics (PCPs) in Alberta. Topics include professionalism, workplace leadership and communications, documentation and verbal reporting specific to emergency medical services and an introduction to research methodologies. Current legal and ethical issues will also be examined.
Medical Emergencies focuses on the pathology, pathophysiology, assessment and management of medical emergencies related to toxicology, anaphylaxis and allergic reactions, gastrointestinal - genitourinary (GI-GU), environmental situations, infectious diseases and altered levels of consciousness. Performance assessments will be conducted to evaluate the integration of skills.
Special Populations focuses on the pathology, pathophysiology, assessment and management of medical emergencies related to obstetrics and gynaecology, neonates and paediatrics, geriatrics, mental health, psychological and behavioural issues, and physical challenges. Performance assessments will be conducted to evaluate the integration of skills.
Cardiac Emergencies focuses on the pathology, assessment and management of common cardiac emergencies. Basic cardiac therapies and diagnostics, including pharmacology and electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring are explored and implemented in the simulated and non-simulated patient environment.
Professional Practice 2 prepares students for the transition from the classroom to the practicum environment. Areas of professional responsibilities which will be focused on include: WHMIS, vehicle stabilization and patient extrication. The professional registration examination process will be reviewed.
PCP Lab 2 builds upon knowledge and skills covered in Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) Lab 1. Emphasis will be placed on pathophysiology covered, and skills attained during the second semester of the program. Interpersonal communication skills and the ability to demonstrate professionalism and leadership skills at all times will be practiced in simulated scenarios.
Fitness and Wellness promotes physical fitness, mental health, nutrition and safe workplace strategies. Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is also explored as a tool to help students develop a stress management plan to prepare themselves for the strenuous demands of the profession.
Clinical Practicum provides a hands-on opportunity to exercise comprehension of course materials and demonstrate skills acquisition while following procedural practice in a clinical setting. Expert guidance and evaluations are provided throughout the practicum by an on-site preceptor and a SAIT instructor.
Ambulance Practicum provides a hands-on opportunity for learners to apply theory and practical skills in a pre-hospital setting. Expert guidance will be provided throughout the practicum by an on-site preceptor and SAIT instructor.
Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.
Applicants educated in Canada
All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents.
At least 50% in each of the following courses:
- Math 20-1 or Math 20-2,
- English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2,
- Biology 30 or Science 30
- Proof of completion of an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certificate or a medical sciences-related diploma, degree, or equivalent.
The following qualifications are recognized as equivalent to the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) certificate or medical sciences-related diploma or degree:
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) with at least one year of experience
- Medical First Responder (MFR) or First Medical Responder (FMR) with International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) provider certification
- Registered Nurse (RN) with at least one year of experience
- Licensed Physician with at least one year of experience
Applicants must be at least 18 by the program's second semester.
SAIT accepts high school course equivalents for admission for applicants educated outside Alberta.
All applicants who were educated outside of Canada must demonstrate English Language proficiency and provide proof they meet the program admission requirements with an international document assessment. Find out what educational documents are accepted and assessment options.
SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.
Missing an admission requirement for this program? Upgrade your prior education to help you receive admission into one of SAIT's career programs.Upgrade
- Domestic students: Closed
Application deadline: Oct. 26, 2023
- Domestic students: Closed
Application deadline: June 28, 2024
2023/24 tuition and fees
The following costs are effective as of July 1, 2023. They are an estimate of tuition and fees based on the recommended course load per year.
|Year||Number of semesters||Tuition fees
||Total per year|
**.5 indicates a combination of full-time semester(s) and part-time semester(s) in the same academic year. In many cases, students are completing a practicum during their part-time semester. Part-time students are those taking less than nine (9) course credits in a semester.
Books and supplies are approximately $4,000 for the duration of the program.
This is a bring-your-own-device program with a standard computer hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.
Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore's website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date. Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck; no textbook purchase is required this term.
You are responsible for any additional expenses related to your practicum, including pre-practicum requirements outlined by the program and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary.
You will be evaluated on your competency performance level using a tracking system called CompTracker.
You will require a wifi-enabled Apple tablet that can run the most up-to-date operating system to support the CompTracker system. Any size tablet is acceptable.
Keyboards are advisable but not mandatory.
Smartphones are not acceptable devices for CompTracker.
There is a required user license fee of $75 billed on a per-semester basis.
Required personal protective equipment (PPE) and uniform
Uniforms and PPE need to be purchased before Orientation Day.
Refer to the form for details and ensure you order your uniform early.
CSA-approved safety glasses and black steel-toed duty boots may be purchased where available.
The SAIT paramedic programs do not require ballistic vests.
Currently, many practitioners can be issued a ballistic vest by their employer as PPE. This is an employee's decision if they want the ballistic vest or not.
As a best practice for scene safety, police deem the situation safe before EMS crews enter, and our students are not first in any situation where this type of PPE is required.
If you wish to purchase your own ballistic vest for use on practicum, you can do so through the AHS-approved vendor Urban Tactical, Winnipeg, which has the required minimum specifications for a ballistic vest.
If you decide to purchase and wear the vest, you must ensure that your SAIT crest and student identification are clearly visible on the vest without compromising the integrity of the vest.
If you have a ballistic vest from an employer, you are not allowed to wear that employer’s issue as part of the SAIT uniform.
If you choose to wear a ballistic vest during your program, you must purchase a personal ballistic vest.
Ballistic vests are personally fitted, have a limited lifespan, and are not resalable as they do not provide the appropriate protection second-hand. If you choose to wear a personal ballistic vest, you must wear it for every call during your practicum rotations.
- There is a fee for the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP) provincial exam and an annual registration fee. ACP annual registration fees are approximately $425 (the initial registration fee is approximately $475).
- There is a fee associated with obtaining a Police Information Check, including a Vulnerable Sector Check and is payable to the Police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
- You must have your immunizations reviewed by the SAIT Health Clinic. There is a $75 charge to review vaccine history. Any vaccines to be administered will result in additional charges.
- A fee of approximately $50-$100 is associated with an Electronic Student Permit Checking submission, which is required for clinical practicum placements, payable to Synergy Gateway through the Verified software platform.
- A Class 4 Driver's license may be required for employment. We recommend you review the Alberta government information for requirements and begin the process while in the program.
Paying for your education may feel overwhelming, but we have resources and programs that can help, including information about payment options, student loans, grants and scholarships.Learn more
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Follow our step-by-step guide to submitting a successful application.Learn how to apply
Communication during admission
Email is the primary source of communication during the admission process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications.
We recommend you add firstname.lastname@example.org domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
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