How Fit Are Paramedics? Exploring OPPAT and Functional Capacity Evaluations

How Fit Are Paramedics? Exploring OPPAT and Functional Capacity Evaluations

Today I had an enlightening conversation with Craig MacCalman, Coordinator, Paramedic Program, Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness at Humber College.

I asked Craig "If I wanted to be a Paramedic, how fit would I need to be?". Craig told me that in his program they prepare students to pass the Ottawa Paramedic Physical Abilities Test (OPPAT).

The OPPAT, a custom Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) for paramedics, was developed by Drs. Fischer, MacPhee & Sinden. It is a bona fide occupational test that emphasizes the tasks associated with being a front-line paramedic, including:


  • lifting/lowering of a stretcher (with and without a weighted mannequin);
  • performing CPR;
  • walking a short distance while carrying a backboard with a weighted mannequin in place; and,
  • loading/unloading of the stretcher from an ambulance (with and without a weighted mannequin).

Craig, who has 17 years of experience as a Paramedic, emphasized that it is a physically demanding job. The OPPAT is effectively used as part of the pre-hire and return-to-work process for Paramedics, assessing their functional capacity to handle the demands of the job.


Are you interested in learning more about Functional Capacity Evaluations? Metriks offers comprehensive FCE courses to help professionals like you expand their knowledge and skills. Browse our selection of courses and find the perfect fit for your career advancement. Click here to get started!

Back to blog