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JIBC's Primary Care Paramedic students wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) when practising skills on each other during training simulations.

Working as a paramedic is a rewarding and fast-paced career. No day will ever be exactly the same. You will play a vital role in saving lives and helping your community on a daily basis. Being a paramedic means being both hands-on in dealing with patient emergencies and equipment, as well as using critical thinking skills. It is truly a unique profession! In this guide, we answer the most popular questions about becoming a paramedic in B.C. :

How long does paramedic training take in B.C.?

Typically, it takes 1 to 3 years to become a paramedic - depending on your career goals:


  1. Complete the Emergency Medical Responder Certificate from JIBC. This certificate, which will equip you with the foundational knowledge in emergency medicine, is a 15-day course that is a pre-requisite to the Primary Care Paramedic Program.
  2. Complete the PCP program at JIBC. This can be done in 17 months as part-time studies, and 8 months as full-time.  
  3. Upon graduation, you will be required to complete relevant licensing requirements such as an evaluation and a written exam.
  4. Congratulations, you are now certified as a Primary Care Paramedic!
  5.  For current practising paramedics, there is also an option to become an Advanced Care Paramedic if you wish to advance your career.

How much money do paramedics make in B.C.?

WorkBC reports that the median annual salary for paramedical occupations in British Columbia is approximately $59,690 with a $28.62 median hourly wage rate across the province. In addition to their salaries, full-time paramedics often receive benefits, such as dental care and paid vacation and sick days. WorkBC reports that for the period 2015-2025, the expected annual demand growth rate for this occupation will be 2.1% across the province.

Can I become a paramedic without going to university?

Yes. To become a paramedic in B.C., you’ll just need to be a high school graduate with English language proficiency and have graduated from a certified paramedicine program. You’ll also need to pass a criminal background check and be up-to-date on required immunization and medical screenings.

How can I progress in my career if I’m already a certified primary care paramedic?

If you are already a practising paramedic and looking for career growth towards being an Advanced Care Paramedic, here are the following steps towards further education:


  1. Take JIBC’s Diploma in Health Sciences - the first academic credential in the Health Sciences Division paramedic education pathway. Practising paramedics can complete the diploma either part-time or full-time, giving flexibility to those working in the field full-time through a fully online format. 
  2. Upon completion of this diploma and if you are equipped with at least two working years as a Primary Care Paramedic, you can apply to the Advanced Care Paramedic program.

How much does a paramedics program in B.C. cost?

Costs may vary depending on the paramedic school of your choice. At JIBC, our Primary Care Paramedic Program costs $4,900. Our Diploma in Health Sciencescosts $6,285. The cost of the Advanced Care Paramedic program is $16,800.

Is 45 too old to become a paramedic? Is there an age limit?

The youngest age to become a paramedic in B.C is age 18, as one of the requirements for being admitted into the Primary Care Paramedic program is having graduated high school. There is no upper age limit, so it is never too old to become a paramedic!

Is paramedic schooling difficult in B.C.?

The training and education in any given paramedic program can be challenging and intense. However, the training is necessary to prepare you for real-life scenarios that you will encounter throughout your career in saving lives. JIBC’s paramedic programs focus on skills required to assess and manage patients in pre-hospital care environments. You will be equipped with a strong foundation in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology upon program completion. This will help to strengthen your critical thinking and treatment actions required to care for critically ill or injured individuals before they arrive in the hospital.

If you have more questions about becoming a paramedic, feel free to email pcp@jibc.cafor more information or check out our Paramedicine & Health sciences program page here for a high-level overview of all programs we offer.