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Medical Assistant

Non-Commissioned Member | Part Time

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As a member of the military, Medical Assistants are employed to assist and support Medical Officers and Nursing Officers to treat the sick and injured in Canadian Armed Forces units and on operations. This position is only available for part-time employment through the Health Services Reserve.

A Med A has the following primary duties:

  • Provide initial care for patients
  • Provide basic life support treatments in trauma cases
  • Assist with health assessments (to include: perform electrocardiograms; conduct hearing and vision tests; assist with immunizations; collect specimens and perform basic laboratory procedures)
  • Perform specific environmental health and preventive medicine duties
  • Initiate, maintain and distribute medical records, documents, reports and returns
  • Provide medical support on weapons ranges and during training exercises
  • Operate and maintain medical and life-support equipment
  • Maintain, replenish and account for general and medical supplies
  • Conduct first aid, medical and military training

Registered Practical Nurses/Licensed Practical Nurses are employed in the same role as Medical Assistants with additional opportunities for providing bedside nursing care on overseas deployments as part of the nursing team.

Work environment

Medical Assistants belonging to Reserve Field Ambulance units generally wear army uniforms but may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group.

They primarily work and train within their unit (usually located in an armoury) in order to provide support to the Reserve Force and augment the Regular Force as required. When on exercise and deployed on operations, Med As are exposed to the same discomforts, threats and risks as the forces they support. Med As are expected to work long hours in physically demanding circumstances, including severe weather conditions, and to endure significant mental stress.

If you chose a career in the Regular Force, upon completion of all required training, you will be assigned to your first base. While there is some flexibility with regards to postings (relocations), accommodations can’t always be made, and therefore, you can likely expect to move at some point in your career. However, if you decide to join the Primary Reserve Force, you will do so through a specific Reserve unit. Outside of training, your chosen Reserve unit will be your workplace on a part time basis, and you will not be obligated to relocate to a different base. As part of the Primary Reserve Force, you typically work one night per week and some weekends as a minimum with possibilities of full-time employment.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Emergency Medical Responder
  • Ambulance and First Aid Attendant
  • Registered Nursing Assistant
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Hospital Orderly


The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training. This training typically takes place over a period of weekends in your local area. 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 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Soldier qualification

After Basic Training, all Medical Assistant  recruits go to a Military Training centre for the Soldier Qualification course, which is an of extension of the Basic Military Qualification, for approximately one month, which covers the following topics:

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

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Reserve Force members 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 Assistants attend the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario to achieve their qualification. As with any military occupation, Medical Assistants are also able to take communications training and the military driver’s course.

Medical Assistant training consists of six areas of practice, namely: Prehospital Care; Operational Casualty Care; Medical Service Specific Field Skills; Primary Care; Administration and Clinic Support; and In-Patient Care.

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

  • Primary Care Paramedic Course (qualified individuals will have an opportunity to be selected to take this training)
  • Medical Supply Training (order and maintain medical supplies within the CAF)
  • In-Patient Care Training (provide short-term care for patients in a holding facility)

Entry plans

Medical Assistant:  Applicants must have a minimum of Grade 11 Biology, Grade 10 Physics or Chemistry, and Grade 10 Math – specific provincial information can be obtained from your local recruiter. Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) towards training can be granted for applicants who have completed training as an Emergency Medical Responder.

Practical Nurse:  Applicants must have completed a Practical Nursing Diploma program and be registered/license in good standing with a provincial/territorial nursing regulator as a Registered Practical Nurse/Licensed Practical Nurse.

Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is only available for part-time employment through the Reserve Force. Reservists generally work part-time for a Health Services unit in their community. 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.

Reservists train with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required professional standards of the job. If additional training is required, arrangements will be made by the home unit.