How Does Emergency Management Education Benefit Paramedics?

ambulance parked outside emergency department
ambulance parked outside emergency department

When disaster strikes anywhere in Canada, paramedics are always among the first on the scene, performing life-saving work. A paramedic’s decision-making ability in these critical moments can mean the difference between full recovery and long-term compromised health, or even death. Alongside police and fire departments, they are the backbone of Canada’s internationally respected corps of first responders. For those in the profession seeking to move into positions of leadership, it’s important to augment one’s on-the-job insights with the latest high-level strategic thinking via emergency management courses. Wilfrid Laurier University’s 100% online Master of Public Safety program and graduate diplomas offer paramedics the chance to improve their craft without missing time on the job—a job on which people’s lives depend.

Emergency Management Education: What Will You Learn?

Both a master's in public safety with a specialization in emergency management or a graduate diploma in emergency management prepare paramedics for leadership roles. Laurier’s program’s teachings are pragmatic and immediately applicable to one’s work. Courses include:

  • Public Safety in Canada
  • Issues in Contemporary Public Safety
  • Interagency Disaster Management
  • Emergency Management Planning

Managers must have a comprehensive situational awareness of the policies and procedures which govern emergency response in Canada. Understanding the rationale of public safety is the path toward becoming a leader in one’s own right.

Even junior management positions require a high degree of critical and analytical thinking to maximize available resources adequately and provide the best possible service. Just as paramedic’s knowledge of medicine and physiology allows them to make accurate judgment calls in the heat of the moment, so too does an emergency management professional's knowledge of public safety best practices within their own specializations.

Salary Benefits

The wage for paramedics tends to vary based on their specialties and level of certification. In Ontario in 2020, reported paramedic wages ranged from $26/hour to $44/hour, with a median of $38/hour, or an annual salary of about $74,000 for a 37.5-hour workweek. While it is possible to earn a substantial wage in the profession, the higher range of these salaries is limited to the most senior and specialized workers, like critical care paramedics. As a career, it is physically and emotionally demanding, as well as rewarding, and many seek transfers into non-front line positions as they mature.

Having additional credentials helps candidates stand out when they want to make that switch, whether for promotion or for a move into another emergency management-related profession. A graduate diploma counts as credit toward the completion of the Master of Public Safety program, a degree which opens even more doors at the government level.

Set Your Own Schedule in an Online Program

Paramedics often work varying shifts as emergencies can happen any time day or night. Short of taking a significant leave of absence, it is therefore difficult for working paramedics to find the time to attend in-class university programs to upgrade their skills. Online programs provide a workaround, and students can be very successful in them, especially with these tips. Classes can be attended any time day or night via an online portal, and lecture materials, readings and resources are all available remotely. Juggling work and study is almost always a challenge, but online education removes spatial and temporal barriers. The rest is up to the individual student.

Hear from Laurier Public Safety Students

Laurier MPS student Kelly Cochrane, an advanced care paramedic, talks about how the program supports her balancing act between work and school and the innovative nature of her courses.

Hear Jeff Brooks, the deputy manager, EMS in the county of Lambton, Ontario, talk about faculty support, career development, specific MPS program courses and much more:


For more information about Laurier’s graduate offerings in public safety, get your program guide today or set up a time to connect with us on your schedule.


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