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Upcoming Courses:
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31
First Responder: January 27-31

Certification Versus Licensure

What is the difference between being certified, and being licensed?

Great question, and one directly relevant to our pre-hospital care courses!  In simple terms….


Certification demonstrates that you have successfully completed a program of instruction in a given subject matter.  In terms of the Red Cross First Aid Programs, your certificate demonstrates that you have completed a course taught to the national standards.


Virtually all “professionals” requiring licensing.  Lawyers, Health Care providers, Teachers, etc.

Licensure, usually obtained via exam through an industry specific regulatory body, ensures that the license holder is competent to perform their trade.  It is an additional level of due diligence, if you will.

In Canada, emergency service workers within the 911 system are usually obligated by law to be licensed.   Each Province is responsible for determining the standard of care provided by licensed emergency service workers.   In BC, these exams are conducted by the Emergency Medical Assistants Licensing Board (the EMALB).   Successful completion of EMALB licensing exams provides official permission to employ FR or EMR skills as an emergency services worker when working for an employer within the system.   If you move from one province to the next and wish to continue working within their 911 system you would be required to become licensed within your new province also.


Do I need to be licensed?

It can be a bit confusing, as it all depends on what your goal is.  There are times where you only need to be certified, and times where you may need to be licensed too.  For example:

I wish to work in the 911 system as an FR or EMR:


I want to obtain my EMR as a pre-requisite to attend PCP training:

NOT USUALLY.  Training institutions usually require a certificate to show proof of pre-requisite, not a license.

I want my EMR to provide medical coverage at an event:

IT DEPENDS.  This would be entirely based on the needs of the company you are working for.


How do I become licensed in BC as a First Responder?

All of Priority Care First Aid’s First Responder courses INCLUDE the EMALB practical licensing exams at no extra charge.  When you are complete in the course you simply complete the license application process through the EMALB’s website.


How do I become licensed in BC as an EMR?

The exams for all levels of pre-hospital care beyond First Responder (EMR, PCP, ACP, CCP) are conducted directly by the EMALB, who have examination sites throughout the province.

They charge an additional fee for these exams, which is separate and distinct from the course you took from your training provider.

The Red Cross currently has two programs recognized by the EMALB to send EMR Students to Exam:

The full EMR course.

The EMR Bridging Course.

Students who complete either of the above two programs are eligible for EMALB licensing exams.

The process for EMR students who have successfully been certified in an EMR program recognized by the EMALB is to obtain their certificate, apply online for an exam date, then complete the EMALB exam process.

To learn more about the EMR Bridge course click HERE.

And, to view upcoming course dates, you can click HERE.


Do you have a Facebook group?

We do!

It is at:


Should I take the First Responder course for my firefighting application?

Should I take the First Responder course if I want to be a firefighter?

It is important to always consult the actual hiring practices of the department you are applying too, but as a general rule the answer is definitely yes.  Most fire departments in British columbia (ie The Vancouver Fire Department, The Burnaby Fire Department, The Coquitlam Fire Department, The New Westminster Fire Department, The Port Moody Fire Department, The Pitt Meadows Fire Department, The Maple Ridge Fire Department, The Langley Fire Department, The Surrey Fire Department, The White Rock Fire Department, The Richmond Fire Department, etc) practice at the First Responder level (which used to be called First Responder Level 3 with Spinal and AED endorsements).

Completing your Canadian Red Cross First Responder course with Priority Care First Aid, which also includes your Emergency Medical Assistant’s Licensing Board practical exams (the EMALB) qualifies you at the same level as firefighters currently working in BC!

To learn more about the First Responder program click HERE.

And, to view upcoming course dates you can click HERE.



“For the last 10 years Ian has taught courses for our SAR team in First Aid, Medical First Responder, ITLS, and many other medical topics.

Ian is a gifted teacher who brings his many years of experience as a paramedic into the classroom and who delivers content in a fun and very relatable way. Our members return from his courses with new found knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm, and a deep appreciation of their role in patient care.

On top of that, Ian has been extremely supportive of our team. First Aid is a key skill for all SAR members. We are lucky to have Ian. His training adds great value to our organization and to our community.”

Training Officer
Search and Rescue Team


“I want to commend you and your team of Instructors for the outstanding courses I attended at Priority Care First Aid. As a retired Paramedic returning to the practice of Paramedicine part time, coupled with being a volunteer firefighter and first responder, I attended both the First Responder and Emergency Medical Responder programs put on by Priority Care First Aid and I am completely satisfied with the training and hands on experience that I have received. Ian and his team bring decades of real life experience into the classroom, relating course content to real world emergency situations, which further aids in bridging course content to actual events where one may find themselves assisting the injured or ill. As a Deputy Chief of the local fire department in the Fraser Valley Regional District, I was so impressed with Ian and his group that I have arranged to have the fire department firefighters and first responders attend a First Responder program with Priority Care First Aid.

I highly recommend Ian and his team at Priority Care First Aid.”

Fire Department Deputy Chief
BCEHS Paramedic


“I have been a member of Search and Rescue for over 20 years, and have taken first aid courses since my teens. There is something special about learning and training with Priority Care First Aid.

Ian is effortlessly able to keep you engaged throughout the program with his charisma, stories and experience. Even with the most extreme scenarios we throw at him, his answers are clear, calm, and thoughtful… giving you confidence that you can respond correctly. This wisdom is then bolstered in the practical exercises securing your technical proficiency.

Ian creates a memorable and dynamic learning environment. You leave his skilled training knowing that when you are called upon to help someone you can deliver quality accurate care.”

SAR Team Member


“Ian attended our office in December, 2019.

Ian provided exceptional service to 6 of us who took his First Aid Instructor Course.
Ian’s personality, professionalism, limitless knowledge and teaching skills were at the forefront of a perfect week of learning.

Thank you Ian for your support before, during and after the course.”

RCMP Training Section


Upcoming Courses: