If you have ever seen a paramedic at work, you will know that there is something highly noble about this profession. Looking at how they work so seamlessly as a team is enough motivation to become a paramedic at one point.
Life as a paramedic can be both physically and emotionally exhausting as it demands a lot of dedication, study, and hard work. However, helping people in need makes this profession rewarding and worthwhile.
Read the post below for detailed information on becoming a paramedic in Australia, the courses you must study, the necessary training, and how long it takes to become a paramedic.
1. What Does A Paramedic Do?
Being a paramedic is more than rushing to support and help people in need. They are well-trained medical professionals who often work under intense pressure situations, which requires them to have quick decision-making skills.
Besides, they communicate with people, respond to medical emergencies, and transport patients to health facilities daily.
Furthermore, paramedics attend to people facing non-life-threatening situations like sporting injuries, minor pains, etc. They must manage ambulances with various clinical equipment, stretchers, and medicine.
Paramedics not only provide first aid kits during emergencies. They also perform clinical procedures, maintain patient records, administer drugs, and quickly decide on the most suitable action for a specific situation, for instance, to which medical facility to bring the patient.
2. Major Duties and Tasks of a Paramedic
Here are the most common tasks and duties performed by paramedics in Australia:
Drive ambulances to medical emergency or accident sites that may require advanced life support administration.
Assess, treat, and manage a patient's treatment on-site or on the way to the hospital.
Lift patients, place them on stretchers, load the stretcher into the ambulance, and transport patients to a health facility.
Prepare and deliver written reports mentioning the state of a patient's injury and the treatment provided.
Instruct essential service workers and community groups on how to provide first aid.
Supervise and support new staff and student paramedics.
Replace fluids and administer pain-relieving drugs according to the protocol.
Use specialist equipment, including defibrillators and ventilators.
Offer routine transport services between home and hospital to patients who require further treatment or other specialised treatment, such as chemotherapy or occupational therapy.
Decide whether admission to the hospital is needed, and assess how to transport patients and what is the best health facility for them.
Attend public gatherings like sporting events, where health emergencies or accidents may occur.
Provide hospital staff with patient information, including the condition and treatment.
Act professionally at all times and maintain the confidentiality of patients.
Perform daily vehicle and equipment checks to ensure that the ambulance is in good working order and that medical supplies are stocked.
3. What Are The Study Pathways To Become A Paramedic in Australia
There are different educational pathways to enter a career in paramedicine. Each state's education and training requirements may vary depending on your chosen specialisation.
Here are the three most common study pathways you can choose to become a paramedic in Australia:
Pathway 1: You can directly enrol at a university and study full-time for a three-year Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree. While studying, you can also choose to work as a student Paramedic for one year with a state ambulance service and then apply for a full-time job later. After completing paramedic studies, all university graduates must send their applications to the Paramedicine Board of Australia to become accreditated paramedics.
Pathway 2: You can study full-time paramedical courses from a TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institute in a classroom. You can even work in the private sector while studying and then later apply for a university to earn your bachelor's degree.
Note: You cannot apply to become a registered Ambulance Paramedic with a Diploma. For that, you need to complete your Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree.
4. Steps To Become A Paramedic in Australia
We all know that paramedics are the first to reach the scene during an accident or medical emergency. They provide immediate care to the sick or injured and, if required, take them to the nearest hospital as soon as possible.
As a paramedic, you have a crucial role to play and help people in need. You can make a difference between life and death in a few seconds with your quick actions and thinking.
Suppose you can handle the pressure of being a paramedic and take on every responsibility with a relaxed mind. In that case, you are ready to become a paramedic.
The demand for paramedics in Australia has steadily increased over the last ten years, so now is the best time to start. Now, let us check the steps below to find out how to become a paramedic in Australia:
Step 1: Prove You Are an Australian Resident
The first step towards becoming a paramedic in Australia is to possess a valid passport or ID that shows you are a citizen or resident of Australia. Almost all paramedic services in Australia require this information. Having New Zealand citizenship can be accepted as well.
Step 2: Achieve and Maintain an Unrestricted Driver's License
As a paramedic, you often drive an ambulance and be responsible for equipment and passengers. Therefore, you must ensure you can operate a vehicle by holding an unrestricted driver's license.
Step 3: Obtain a Degree in Paramedics
Ambulance services in all states of Australia require you to have a degree in Paramedic Science to become a paramedic. Therefore, you need to apply to a university that offers degrees in Paramedic Science.
You can contact universities directly or online to see if they have programs enabling you to complete a bachelor's degree in Paramedic Science.
Note: Before applying to any university, read and check the instructions carefully — they may ask you to submit necessary documents like letters of recommendation, academic transcripts, a copy of your CV, or a statement of interest.
Step 4: Register with the Paramedicine Board of Australia
Once you complete your studies, you must register with the Paramedicine Board of Australia through AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Health Regulation Agency). This is necessary to become a registered and qualified paramedic in Australia.
Note: Renewing your AHPRA registration yearly and maintaining a record of your CPD (continuing professional development) activity is compulsory
Step 5: Look for a Job
There are plenty of ambulance services you can join, including New South Wales Ambulance (NSW), Queensland Ambulance Service (QLD), or Ambulance Victoria (VIC). You can apply for a particular service based on their requirements or location.
Research these services thoroughly before applying to know what the work entails.
Step 6: Consider a Specialised Role
When you become a paramedic, there are various specialisations on offer. So it is always worthwhile to take your time and explore your options. Here are some of the specialised roles that you can consider:
Step 7: Submit your Job Application
Once you decide on the paramedic job role that you want to take up, visit the specific ambulance service's website and check out their application process. Remember, each service may have different criteria, so thoroughly review the application forms and submit the correct information.
The application may ask which university you received your degree from and other records such as a driver's license and passport copy. They may even ask for a previous experience that makes you the right candidate for the job.
If you face any difficulty while filling out the application form, contact a representative from the ambulance service via phone or email and ask them for further details.
5. What Skills Do You Need to Become a Paramedic in Australia?
To work as a paramedic, you must possess several critical skills to deal with situations you will likely encounter. So let us find out what skills you need to be a paramedic in Australia:
Strong teamwork skills to work alongside hospital staff and other crew.
The ability to remain focused and calm under pressure.
Good communication and interpersonal skills for dealing with patients, their family and friends, and the public in general.
The ability to think clearly and act quickly.
Exceptional listening, written, and oral skills for reporting conditions.
Good analytical and problem-solving skills.
The ability to work autonomously and as a team.
A highly-motivated and responsible approach towards work.
Caring, compassionate, and non-judgmental attitude.
Excellent driving skills for driving an ambulance.
Physical strength and stamina to lift and transport patients and heavy equipment.
6. How Long Does It Take To Become A Paramedic In Australia?
Most states and ambulance services in Australia have different training processes for paramedics. However, becoming a paramedic in Australia usually takes around three years of full-time study and at least one year of practical on-road experience.
Overall, making it a total of four years to be a paramedic.
7. How Much Do Paramedics Get Paid in Australia?
The Paramedic's salary in Australia may vary, depending on your qualifications, level of training, and work experience. Remember, the more skills you acquire and the more time you spend on the job will increase your earning capacity.
Usually, a private firm pays more than a government position as they may require you to be in a remote location or off-site.
According to Pay Scale, the average Paramedic salary in Australia is AU$73,926 per year.
Salary Based on Experience
Entry-level (< 1-year experience): AU$65,677 per year
Early career (1-4 years of experience): AU$69,389 per year
Mid-career (5-9 years of experience): AU$80,667 per year
Experienced (10-19 years of experience): AU$89,517 per year
In their late career (20 years and above): AU$95,000 per year
Highest Paying Cities for Paramedics in Australia
Darwin: $115,279 per year
Perth: $92,717 per year
Bathurst: $90,658 per year
Melbourne: $86,843 per year
Hobart: $76,252 per year
Bendigo: $73,755 per year
Sydney: $72,649 per year
Brisbane: $66,790 per year
Canberra: $57,560 per year
8. Areas of Specialisations
Graduates from an undergraduate paramedicine degree may consider further specialisation across an array of postgraduate courses, such as:
Critical Care Paramedicine
Disaster and Emergency Response
Extended Care Paramedicine
9. Where Do Paramedics Work?
Qualified Paramedics can find work in a broad spectrum of health and cultural settings and lead paramedicine development in Australia and abroad.
Some of the familiar places of employment include:
Mental health services
The private paramedical industry
Community and primary healthcare
The defence forces
Paramedics mainly work in ambulances and emergency rooms, treating people with urgent problems. They may also work in:
On ocean rescue teams
On cruise ships
On oil-drilling platforms
On S.W.A.T. teams
In air rescue transport
At special events like music festivals
10. Paramedics Jobs In Australia
The possible future job titles for a Paramedic in Australia include the following:
Critical Care Paramedic
Intensive Care Paramedic
11. Career Path For a Paramedic in Australia
According to Glassdoor, paramedics can progress to the following roles throughout their career:
Paramedic: 8+Years of experience, $47K to $79K per year
Paramedic Manager: 5 - 7 years of experience $55K to $90K per year
Team Lead Paramedic: $53K to $85K per year
Director of Emergency Medical Services: 8+Years of experience, $104K to $182K per year
12. Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)
Are Paramedics in High Demand in Australia?
Yes. In Australia, there is a growing demand for skilled paramedic professionals to respond to emergencies and transport patients to hospital emergency rooms daily.
According to Labour Market Insights, the number of workers in this profession is estimated to grow strongly at 8.4% from November 2021 to November 2026. There are going to be 1600 new jobs during this period.
Furthermore, the government projects that workers will increase from 19,400 in 2021 to 21,000 in 2026.
Can Paramedics Work in Hospitals in Australia?
Paramedics usually provide pre-hospital and out-of-hospital emergency services to people with chronic ailments or physical trauma.
They are responsible for patients' care and transportation of accident victims from the emergency site to the emergency room of medical facilities.
They may also transport sick and disabled people to and from medical facilities for advanced treatment and rehabilitation.
Which State Pays Paramedics The Most in Australia?
The Northern Territory (Darwin) pays the highest average salary of $115,279 per year to Paramedic professionals in Australia.
How Long Are Paramedic Shifts in Australia?
Paramedics regularly work in long and extra shifts with random patterns. For example, they may work a 48-hour shift and then take a 24-hour break.
During the 48 hours, they must be fully awake, as sleeping on duty is unacceptable. It leads to sleep deprivation that, in turn, adversely impacts their mood, concentration, and overall physical health.
Do Paramedics Have To Be Strong?
Yes. Paramedics must be physically and mentally strong to respond to critical health issues in diverse and uncontrolled settings.
What is The Least You Can Make as a Paramedic?
According to Pay Scale, the lowest pay for a Paramedic in Australia is A$54k per year.
What Type of Paramedic Makes The Most Money?
According to Indeed, below are the top-paying paramedic professions with an average base salary:
Emergency Medical Technician - $43,282 per year
Traditional Paramedic - $42,607 per year
Firefighter Paramedic - $59,462 per year.
Army Paramedic - $55,246 per year.
It is an average salary that can increase as you develop more experience.
What Type of Person Should Be A Paramedic?
People with the following attributes are most suited for this role:
Strong critical thinking skills
Situational and spatial awareness
Able to stay calm under pressure
High-level and practical decision-making skills
Strong Clinical skills that include performing medical procedures and administering medications
Do Paramedics Have Downtime?
Paramedic professionals do have limited breaks, although they are not designated or structured. Instead, their breaks are flexible and depend on the time they can carve out for themselves amidst their busy schedules, which involve responding to calls, completing paperwork, and managing inventory.
Given that paramedics often work long shifts lasting 24 or 36 hours, they typically come prepared with a cooler or lunch box stocked with food and drinks to sustain them for two days.
They rely on reheating their meals multiple times throughout their shift. While they may have the opportunity to stop at a food store during their fieldwork, their priority is always to promptly reach an emergency site, often leaving them with little time to grab a meal.
Why Should You Become a Paramedic in Australia?
Here are a few good reasons why you may pursue a paramedic profession:
You usually work under minimal supervision
You can start paramedic school early at 17 and begin working at 18.
Working to help people in difficult situations gives a lot of personal satisfaction.
Regardless of the community's economic status, there is a stable demand for paramedics in urban and rural settings. Furthermore, the government projects strong job growth in this sector, with plenty of new job opportunities likely to come in the next five years.
Unlike monotonous jobs, being a paramedic, you constantly learn new things daily.
To pursue a career change, you can use your medical knowledge, experience, and skills like teamwork, situational awareness, and mental fortitude. Some paramedics prefer working as medical/ physician assistants or admin careers in health care settings, such as hospitals and ambulatory care companies.
Are Paramedics Stressed?
Yes. Paramedics must work well in high-pressure circumstances to deal with emergency medical situations. They spend most of their time standing and performing physical tasks, including heavy lifting, bending, etc.
Also, working long shifts and dealing with the extreme emotions of patients cause sleep deprivation, stress, agitation, and mood swings.
A career in Paramedicine is among the most dangerous jobs in Australia due to unavoidable and constant exposure to traumatic events.
People working in this profession are twice more likely to experience/develop mental health disorders, sleep disorders, fatigue, suicidal tendencies, workplace injuries, and workplace violence.
Who is More Educated a Nurse or a Paramedic?
Let's look at both professions in terms of practical training and education:
Paramedics receive more practical training and experience than Nurses.
Where Nurses can begin working in a hospital right after graduating from a nursing school (including clinical rotations), aspiring paramedics must complete at least six months of experience as an EMT to enter the role.
Based on your study mode, most paramedic programs require 18 to 24 months. On the contrary, you must complete 12 months of study in a nursing school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or between two and four years of study to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
It shows that paramedics are more trained than LPNs but less extensively schooled than RNs; however, paramedics generally have more practical experience before entering the job market.
Can a Nurse Become A Paramedic in Australia?
Yes. If you desire greater autonomy and independence in your work within the medical field, transitioning from a nurse in a hospital setting to a paramedic on the road can be an exciting and rewarding career change to consider.
Transitioning from a nursing career to a paramedic profession is generally a smooth process, as nurses can leverage their experience and qualifications to swiftly pursue this new role.
Can You Transition From a Nurse To a Paramedic?
Yes. Nurses can use the RPL pathway to switch their career from a "Nurse" to a "Paramedic." You need to complete a Bachelor of Paramedical Science or equivalent degree and use your Recognition of prior learning to achieve your goal of becoming a paramedic fast.
The Australian Paramedical College shows a career transition pathway from being a nurse to becoming a paramedic.
1. RPL into Diploma
Apply for RPL and credit transfer into the Diploma of Emergency Health Care (HLT51020). It is a cheap and fast way to enter the pre-hospital care/emergency healthcare system in the private sector without completing a university degree.
2. Diploma to Degree
Complete a Diploma of Emergency Health Care course and use the course credit towards completing the Bachelor of Paramedical Science. It will help you achieve your university degree fast.
3. Graduate And Become Paramedic
Complete the university degree in Paramedicine and apply for a job with a State Ambulance Service or a paramedic role in the private sector.
How To Become A Paramedic in NSW?
Consider completing an undergraduate Bachelor of Paramedicine at Western Sydney University.
The program is professionally accredited by the Paramedicine Board of Australia. It includes three months of supervised clinical practice and an emergency ambulance service. You will learn how to provide out-of-hospital care to patients of all ages and handle their minor to severe health complaints.
Note: Overseas students may only enrol in the course if they have a visa to work and live in Australia or hold an Australian PR visa. Students with a student visa can use it only for the course they have applied to study initially.
How To Become A Paramedic in WA?
Edith and Cowan University is among the famous universities in WA that offer three years, full-time, or part-time equivalent Bachelor of Science (Paramedical Science).
Completing this course will help you get started as a paramedic in Australia. Additionally, students must register with the Australasian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to practice in the profession.
How To Become a Paramedic in Australia Online?
The Australian Paramedical College conducts an Online Diploma of Paramedical Science qualification.
The 18-24 months course prepares you for a pre-hospital emergency health care career without requiring a university degree.
After completing the course, you get the skills to start working confidently in the private sector as an EMT, medic, or First Responder.
You can study the online course curriculum on a smartphone, laptop, tablet, or desktop. You can also download the APC app on Google Play or App Store and access a library of study materials online.
How Much Does It Cost To Become a Paramedic in Australia?
Some top universities, like Monash University, offer a Bachelor of Paramedical Science for domestic and overseas students in Australia.
Course Fee Structure as of 2023
International Students: A$37,900, Fees per 48 credit points representing a standard full-time course load for one year.
Commonwealth supported place (CSP) A$8301
Total fee: A$34,400, Fees are per 48 credit points, representing a standard full-time course load for one year.
Note that fees are subject to change every year.
How Do I Become A Paramedic Without an ATAR?
If you didn't get the required ATAR to enter a paramedic degree course, you could study for the Diploma of Emergency Health Care with Australian Paramedical College to get admission into a degree program.
During the 24-month course, you will gain high-level clinical knowledge in an approved scope of practice within the private sector to learn how to save lives.
This nationally recognised course can lead you to two pathways:
Study the Bachelor of Paramedic Science and start working as a registered Ambulance Paramedic.
Begin your career in the private sector pre-hospital emergency health care careers, including Medic, EMT, or First Responder.
Can You Become a Paramedic Without Going To Uni in Australia?
The general requirement to become a Paramedic/Ambulance Officer in Australia is to complete an undergraduate degree in Paramedicine, health science, or a related field and a registration with the Paramedicine Board of Australia.
However, several other emergency healthcare jobs in the private sector don't require a 3-year full-time university degree. You can enter a private sector Medic role by completing an online Diploma of Emergency Health Care course.
You can also undertake an online Diploma of Paramedical Science course to find a decent-paying job in the private sector, such as:
Emergency medical technician
Private medic and other similar roles.
The Australian Paramedical College, a leading specialist college for pre-hospital healthcare, delivers both courses.
Is Paramedicine Hard?
Yes. Working in Paramedicine is complicated as professionals constantly search for incidents that may need their expertise.
Besides this, there are a few more things that make this unpredictable and demanding occupation hard:
As a first responder, there are higher chances of suffering from psychological stress and confronting depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety.
Paramedics work in long and additional shifts with irregular patterns that cause them to stay awake longer. It can lead to sleep deprivation and adversely impact overall physical health.
Dealing with patients and their families who may talk unpleasantly and disrespectfully and cry or scream around them is another tricky part of the job.
As the job involves working closely with patients, paramedics are at a high risk of job-related injuries, infections, and sickness.
How Can Overseas Paramedics Work in Australia?
Intensive Care Ambulance Paramedic – ANZSCO 411112
You must meet the following criteria and obtain a positive Skills Assessment to apply for the visas to live and work in Australia.
To be eligible, you need to possess a qualification that has been evaluated as an Australian Bachelor's degree or higher in a relevant field. Additionally, you must have at least one year of highly relevant employment experience, at a suitable skill level, within the past five years subsequent to obtaining your qualification.
You must meet the qualification and employment requirements.
Potential visa available for overseas paramedics to work in Australia:
Subclass 491 visa – Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa
407 Training Visa (valid up to 2 years)
Subclass 494 visa – Skilled Sponsored Regional (Provisional) visa
Subclass 482 visa – Temporary Skill Shortage (Short Term) (valid up to 2 years)
Is Being a Paramedic Worth it in Australia?
While a career as a Paramedic can be demanding, the satisfaction you get by playing a pivotal role in someone else's recovery makes it incredibly rewarding.
Here are a few more reasons why you should pursue this profession:
1. Opportunity to make a positive difference in your community
2. The profession opens the door to multiple rewarding career pathways as:
Patient Transport Officer
Emergency Medical Technician
Industrial Medics/ Paramedics
3. You have a broad scope of specialisation to progress in your profession. Some of the areas include:
Critical Care Paramedicine
Extended Care Paramedicine
These are incredibly gratifying as you assist people in their challenging times.
4. There is an immense demand for medics/paramedics in the pre-hospital industry and a rising number of career opportunities.
5. Your learning never stops. Every day you come across new experiences and opportunities that help further develop your skills.
6. It is not a typical 9-5 job. You get to travel, explore new locations, and join a life-changing team.
7. Though the job exposes you to confronting and emotional scenes, the constant support of your team and employer prepares you to deal with every situation bravely.
Now that you know everything about becoming a paramedic in Australia, you are ready to enter the exciting field of paramedics and make a real difference in the world.
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