Medical Technician

Job description

Medical Technicians work with Medical Officers and Nursing Officers to treat the sick and injured in all kinds of Forces' operations and units.

A Medical Technician has the following primary duties:

  • Provide initial care for patients
  • In trauma cases, provide basic life support treatments
  • Prescribe some medications in accordance with their scope of practice
  • Provide medical support during environmental operations
  • Recover casualties from the point of injury and transport them to a medical facility by wheeled or tracked ambulance, or by air
  • Participate in rescues from crashed vehicles, tanks, ships, aircraft and damaged buildings
  • Give basic advice on disease prevention, hygiene and sanitation
  • Perform specific environmental health and preventive medicine duties
  • Collect specimens and perform basic laboratory procedures
  • Operate and maintain medical and life-support equipment
  • Perform electrocardiograms and audiograms
  • Initiate, maintain and distribute medical records, documents, reports and returns
  • Maintain, replenish and account for general and medical supplies

 

Transcript

MEDICAL TECHNICIAN

IN THE CANADIAN ARMED FORCES

TEASER

Whether it’s in the heat of battle in a war torn nation, or a relief effort in the aftermath of an earthquake, in the Canadian Armed Forces, the role of Medical Technician takes on dimensions never imagined on a city street. For the men and women who accept the challenge, a career as a Med Tech brings moments of intense action – and a lifetime of immense rewards. At base clinics, at sea, on field exercises and on deployments in other parts of the world, Medical Technicians are a critical part of the military mission.

MAIN VIDEO

I’m Master Seaman Jennifer Blanche from St-John’s, Newfoundland, a Medical Technician posted at 1 Canadian Field Hospital in Garrison Petawawa, Ontario.

And I’m Corporal Patrick Noreau from Québec City. I’m a Medical Technician and I’m currently serving in the Canadian Forces Health Centre, Ottawa.

BLANCHE: In the Canadian Armed Forces, Medical Technicians spend most of their careers working directly with members of Army, Navy and Air Force units on bases across Canada, and at sea aboard naval ships. We work with doctors, nurses and physician assistants to provide acute and chronic healthcare services to Forces members.

BLANCHE: We do everything from patient screening and lab work, and treating patients on a general day-to-day basis.

NOREAU: You can work on a ship, you can work in a helicopter, you can work on the ground with the infantry… So, you get to work in different parts of the world, too, in different situations, so natural disasters, war zones, training with other countries. It’s always new environments, new people, new elements, new types of injuries according to where you work.

BLANCHE: You really have to call upon all your skill sets as a medic, be it your abilities to provide clinical care or pre-hospital emergency care. When Medical Technicians deploy, they provide the full spectrum of care to all military members serving on the mission.

NOREAU: My last deployment was in Eastern Europe. I was embedded within an infantry platoon. It was amazing, I mean, the relationship that you develop within your group is very unique to the Forces.

BLANCHE: Whether it’s providing initial care for patients, working on trauma cases or participating in rescues for accidents involving military vehicles or facilities – the work we do can be diverse and adventurous.

NOREAU: Right now, I’m in a clinic, I can be here for a few years. Then I’ll be sent to the Pacific coast for a few years, I can be sent overseas in an embassy. Very few trades within the Canadian Armed Forces have this opportunity to always be on the move or to follow the troops wherever they go.

BLANCHE: I travelled in 2010 to Haiti during the earthquake. We ended up seeing over 10,000 patients. Our entire team of the medical operation down there was only 30 people. So to see 10,000 patients in less than 60 days was amazing and it was very busy.

NOREAU: The training, experience, and level of responsibility is equal to or greater than what you would expect in comparable civilian occupations, but the Forces offers paid education and opportunities to travel. Military medics earn a salary while they are in training and then walk right into their careers. No student loans; no job search.

BLANCHE: Your first posting will be with a healthcare unit on a Canadian Armed Forces base. There, you’ll have 18 months of on-the-job training at the end of which you’ll be a fully qualified Medical Technician able to deploy on international missions.

BLANCHE: As a Medical Technician, the patients that you’re treating most often are your friends, they’re your co-workers. You see them every day.

NOREAU: This is very unique to the Forces – where you’re “it”. You need to know, you really need know your stuff. You need to be, like, super sharp.

BLANCHE: Medical Technicians in the Forces have opportunities to train with civilian agencies to maintain and improve our skills. On occasion, military medics will ride along with civilian paramedics in an ambulance, adding to an already impressive skill-set.

NOREAU: Your skills are consistently put to the test and there is a great deal of personal gratification when you make a difference in someone’s life.

NOREAU: As a Medical Technician, it’s pretty gratifying to be in that position where you get to know people personally, the trust that you’re given by your patients. I think that would be the biggest reward of being a Medical Technician.

BLANCHE: The leadership and the knowledge and the confidence that this job has brought me and has afforded me, I think that half of my friends back home would never recognize me. The adventure and the excitement and the friendship and the people here are unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in a civilian job.

Overview

Working environment

Medical Technicians spend most of their careers working directly with the Forces within Canada, on ships at sea, and deployed on international missions. They usually work in shifts and, occasionally, on call.

Pay and career development

The starting salary for a fully-trained Medical Technician is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. Medical Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and specialist training, such as Operating Room Technician, Preventive Medicine Technician, Biomedical Electronic Technician or Aero-Medical Technician.

Related civilian occupations

  • Primary Care Paramedic
  • Emergency Medical Attendant
  • Ambulance and First Aid Attendant
  • Registered Nursing Assistant
  • Licensed Practical Nurse

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Training

Basic military qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding. 

Basic military qualification – land course

After Basic Training, Army recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Basic Military Qualification - Land Course for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

  • Army Physical Fitness
  • Dismounted Offensive and Defensive Operations
  • Reconnaissance Patrolling
  • Individual Field Craft

Basic occupational qualification training

Medical Technicians attend the Canadian Forces Medical Service School in Borden, Ontario. The course takes 16 weeks and covers the following material:

  • Delivering health care in the field
  • Nursing medical and surgical patients in field conditions
  • Use of therapeutic drugs
  • Preventive medicine and
  • Medical documentation

Medical Technicians then attend the Paramedic Academy of the Justice Institute of British Columbia in Chilliwack (for training offered in English), or the Ahuntsic College in Montréal, Quebec (for training offered in French). These courses are tailored to military requirements while meeting performance standards set by the Paramedic Association of Canada and approved by the Canadian Medical Association. Medical Technicians receive the professional credential of Primary Care Paramedic Level I.

Within their first 18 months of work, they are required to complete the Maintenance of Clinical Skills Program.

Specialty training

Medical Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Operating Room Technician
  • Preventive Medicine Technician
  • Biomedical Electronic Technician
  • Aero-Medical Technician

Advanced training

As they progress in their career, Medical Technicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Medical Supply
  • Diving Medicine Technician
  • Aero-Medical Evacuation

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Entry plans

Required education

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 12 or Secondaire V in Quebec with Grade 11 applied math (or Quebec equivalent) and any Biology and Chemistry course at the Grade 12 or Secondary V level.

This position requires a valid driver’s license.

Direct entry

If you already have a college diploma and a Primary Care Paramedic Level I certificate, the Forces may place you directly into the any required on-the-job training program following basic training. Basic training and military occupation training is required before being assigned.

Paid education

Non-commissioned Member Subsidized Training Education Program (NCM-STEP).

Because this position requires specialty training, the Forces will pay successful recruits to attend the diploma program at an approved Canadian college. NCM SEP students attend basic training and on-the-job training during the summer months. They receive full-time salary including medical and dental care, as well as vacation time with full-pay in exchange for working with the Forces for a period of time. If you choose to apply to this program, you must apply both to the Forces and the appropriate college. For more information, click on Paid College.

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environments: Air Force, Navy, Army.

Serve with the Reserve Force

The role of the Canadian Forces Health Services Reserves is to provide trained personnel to support, augment and sustain Canadian Forces Health Services organizations for Forces operations and training activities, while building and maintaining links between the Forces and the local community.

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part-time employment

Medical Technicians may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. They are employed to assist and support Medical Officers and Nursing Officers to treat the sick and injured in Forces units and operations. When they are employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis they usually serve in a medical unit at a location within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They must be licensed to practise as a paramedic in their province. Once enrolled, they usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training and further training to Soldier Qualification, Medical Technicians attend the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Center in Borden, Ontario to achieve the remainder of their military qualification.

If you are not a qualified civilian paramedic and do not meet all the qualifications for Medical Technician, you may be interested in a similar career as a Medical Assistant.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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