- Canadian paramedics offered subjects to turn diploma qualifications into bachelor’s degree
- Paramedic Association of Canada has committed to supporting the development of bachelors and advanced degree programs
- An estimated 8000 advanced care paramedics in Canada would be eligible candidates
A quarter of a century after establishing Australia’s first paramedicine degree, Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) will soon be welcoming Canadian paramedics to receive the equivalent qualification.
The undergraduate course – which has been approved after undergoing a 10-month feasibility process - will give advanced care paramedics in Canada the opportunity to convert their current diplomas to bachelors, as well as offering a stepping stone to honours and masters qualifications.
The lead for the Faculty of Science’s School of Biomedical Sciences program is Tania Johnston (pictured above), a Charles Sturt lecturer in Paramedicine and advanced care paramedic who has been living in Canada for the past three years.
Ms Johnston taught paramedicine at Bathurst and Port Macquarie for several years before moving back to Canada in 2016, where she continues to teach into the undergraduate and post-graduate courses from British Columbia.
Canadian paramedics are licensed to work in 10 of the country’s provinces, and work at one of a primary, advanced or critical care level.
Charles Sturt’s degree will offer the advanced care paramedics the chance to bridge their diplomas to a bachelor’s degree by completing eight Canadian-tailored subjects over two years of part-time online study.
Students can also apply to take the undergraduate Bachelor of Science (Honours) program.
Ms Johnston said Canada’s peak professional body, the Paramedic Association of Canada, has committed to supporting the development of bachelors and advanced degree programs.
“It is an exciting time for paramedicine in Canada as we take steps towards the degree as a foundational educational requirement,” Ms Johnston said.
Head of School Professor Rod Hill (pictured) said there are an estimated 8000 advanced care paramedics in Canada who would be suitable candidates for the courses.
“These paramedics are highly skilled and play an integral role in the Canadian healthcare system,” he said.
“We are taking steps to ensure that our subjects include relevant and contemporary Canadian content and are well supported by experts in Canada.
“We are confident that our Bachelor of Paramedicine is a great option for Canadian paramedics who want to advance their education and be ahead of the curve.”
It is also hoped the program will attract Canadian students into the Master of Paramedicine, with specialisations in critical care or extended care paramedicine.
Ms Johnston said there are many degree-prepared paramedics at both the advanced care and critical care license levels who would be eligible to undertake the Charles Sturt Master’s program.
“The School has a strong history of online education. Canadian students are currently enrolled and are alumni of several programs,” she said.
“We look forward to welcoming students into our Canadian Paramedicine program.
“In addition to benefiting the individual students, this would be an important step in advancing paramedic-led research in Canada.”ENDS