May 25, 2024  
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog 
PUBLISHED 2024-2025 Credit Catalog

Primary Care Paramedic

Location(s): In Person (Main Campus), Blended (Main Campus & Online)

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Our immersive Primary Care Paramedic program is for those seeking to establish a career in pre-hospital emergency care.

Under the guidance of seasoned professionals, this program provides a comprehensive curriculum that equips you with the skills needed to become an integral member of a multidisciplinary healthcare team. 

As a student, you will:  

  • acquire a thorough understanding of pre-hospital emergency care 
  • learn to perform detailed patient evaluations 
  • learn to interpret various diagnostic tools 
  • develop the skills to perform critical interventions and treatments 
  • become proficient in Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Life Support (ALS) and International Trauma Life Support (ITLS) 
  • participate in simulations in our state-of-the-art Centre for Advanced Patient Care Simulation and Advanced Ambulance Simulation labs 
  • obtain real-world experience in hospital, urgent care and ambulance settings under the mentorship of experienced preceptors 
  • focus on developing the competencies required for effective emergency response and patient care. 

This program is offered entirely on campus or in a blended delivery format. In blended delivery, theory courses are primarily online, while labs are on campus. Both delivery modes offer the same curriculum and require full-time study.  

As a graduate, you will have the confidence and qualifications to respond to a wide range of medical emergencies as a first responder, providing high-quality patient care in dynamic and challenging environments.

Prepare for a fulfilling career as a primary care paramedic in Canada and help meet the demands of modern emergency medical services. 

Traits, skills and aptitudes

Paramedics tend to be innovative, methodical and objective. 

You need:  

  • a strong desire to help those in need 
  • effective communication skills
  • leadership skills 
  • sound decision-making and critical-thinking skills
  • adaptability
  • the ability to work well under stress, maintain professional behaviour and regulate your emotions 
  • fine motor skills to provide advanced pre-hospital emergency care
  • the ability to remain firm, reassuring and efficient in moments of crisis
  • the ability to meet the physical demands of the job, including transporting, lifting and positioning patients and equipment
  • the ability to work alone and on a team.

All emergency medical personnel should be comfortable assessing injuries and illnesses, performing patient care procedures which may be sensitive, and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) for extended periods. This includes exposure to latex and other disinfectant materials.

If you cannot obtain a tight facial seal while wearing a respiratory mask due to the presence of facial hair and refuse to shave for religious reasons, you will be considered unfit to work as a paramedic by Alberta Health Services (AHS) standards and will not be allowed to participate in practicum or successfully complete the program. Respiratory mask-fit testing is a requirement ahead of participating in your practicum.

Paramedics work extended hours and shift work, including nights and weekends.

You 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 you can successfully meet the occupational requirements for the program and profession.

Academic path

Graduates of this program are qualified to apply for the Advanced Care Paramedic program and earn their diploma.

Practicum, co-op and work integrated learning opportunities

You’ll participate in a clinical and ambulance practicum under the guidance of an on-site preceptor and SAIT instructor.

You will be assigned practicum placements with consideration given to your preference of location. However, due to limited availability in Calgary, it might be necessary for you to travel or relocate outside the city.

Special considerations will not be accommodated. You will be responsible for covering the associated fees of the practicum, including entrance requirements, relocation, and travel costs.

In compliance with the practica agreements with our clinical partners, you will be required to provide specific documentation before you can participate in your practicum. Find out what requirements you need for this program. 

Accreditations, designations or certifications

Our Primary Care Paramedic program is accredited by Accreditation Canada at the Primary Care Paramedic level and meets the Alberta College of Paramedics core competency requirements. 

Graduates are eligible to write the Canadian Organization of Paramedic Regulators registry exam and register with the Alberta College of Paramedics to work in Alberta.  


After successfully completing this program, you’ll be awarded a SAIT Primary Care Paramedic certificate.

Program length

40 weeks

Not open to international applicants

This program is not available to international applicants at this time. 

Not eligible for CAJG

This program is not eligible for the Canada Alberta Job Grant

Related careers

Our graduates may work in the following occupations. Some careers require additional experience and education.

Potential careers (NOC):

  • Paramedical occupations (32102)
  • Managers in healthcare (30010)
  • Health policy researchers, consultants and program officers (41404)

Admission requirements - Applicants educated in Canada

All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency and meet the following requirements or equivalents:

  • at least 50% in Math 20-1 or Math 20-2, and
  • at least 50% in English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2, and
  • at least 50% in Biology 30 or Science 30.

You must also prove you have completed 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.

Admission requirements - Applicants educated outside of Canada

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 accepted educational documents and assessment options

SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.

Program outline

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.

Suggested schedule of study


You must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better each semester and pass the prerequisite courses to progress through the program.

To qualify for graduation, you must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.

Review our grading and progression procedure > 

Books and supplies

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.

An Apple tablet is required to support certain applications used in the program.

Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore’s website. Booklists are by semester and made available approximately two weeks before classes begin.

Required personal protective equipment (PPE) and uniform

Uniforms and PPE are to be purchased before orientation day.

Print and take the uniform order form to Trademark Workwear Inc. to order your SAIT uniform. Ensure you order your uniform early. 

CSA-approved safety glasses and black steel-toed duty boots may be purchased where available.

The uniform required for paramedicine students at SAIT.The jackets required for paramedicine students at SAIT.

Ballistic vests

The SAIT paramedic programs do not require ballistic vests.

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 its integrity.

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.

Additional fees

  • A fee of $75 per semester is associated with the CompTracker application used in this program.
  • A fee is associated with obtaining a police information check, including a vulnerable sector check, payable to the police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
  • You must have your immunizations reviewed by the SAIT Health Clinic. There is a $75 charge to review vaccine history. Any vaccines you need to be administered will result in additional charges.
  • A fee of approximately $50 to $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.
  • You are responsible for additional expenses related to your practicum, including pre-practicum requirements and relocation costs to practicum sites outside of Calgary.
  • There is a fee for the Alberta College of Paramedics (ACP) provincial exam and a registration fee of $475. Annual renewal fees are approximately $425.
  • 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. 

Health and Public Safety program advising

For any questions or to set up an advising appointment, please contact our School of Health and Public Safety.

Phone: 403.284.8481

Program outcomes

Graduates will be capable of demonstrating the following at the level of a Primary Care Paramedic, as defined by the Paramedic Association of Canada’s National Occupational Competency Profile (NOCP):

  1. Demonstrate professionalism, legal/ethical behaviour, and teamwork within the work environment.
  2. Perform effective oral and written communication specific to the work environment.
  3. Perform health and safe work practices within the work environment.
  4. Perform effective patient assessment and diagnostic practices relevant to patient care.
  5. Provide safe and effective therapeutic interventions to patients in accordance with the Primary Care Paramedic scope of practice.
  6. Integrate assessment, diagnostic, and therapeutic practices during patient care.
  7. Prepare patients for safe ground and air transport.
  8. Perform safe road ambulance operations and continuous vehicle maintenance.
  9. Promote health and public safety.

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