How to become a paramedic – potential salary

Paramedics often describe their job as the best job in the world – rewarding, varied and their chance to make an impact in their community every day. But no matter how fulfilling our jobs are, we all need to pay the bills, right? So, how much does a paramedic get paid in Australia?

How much is a Paramedic salary in Australia?

Qualified and experienced paramedics can earn over $100,000.

This could include your base salary, bonuses, overtime hours and extra allowances. As the work day of a paramedic can often stretch beyond a typical 8-hour day, overtime, and the chance to earn some extra cash, is common.

The average base salary for a Registered Ambulance Paramedic in Australia is around $71,096 per year, according to Payscale.com. However, your level of training, years of experience and location can all have an impact on your salary. And with demand increasing, and plenty of options to gain specialist skills, there are many ways to increase your salary.

It’s worth noting that paramedic salaries do vary from state-to-state, and as a registered paramedic, you are free to travel interstate and work for any jurisdictional ambulance service.

Paramedic salary by location in Australia

Ambulance Officer / Paramedic salaries

As a graduate paramedic, on average, you could expect to earn:

  • In New South Wales: $53,000
  • In Victoria: $61,000
  • In Queensland: $58,000
  • In South Australia: $65,000
  • In Western Australia: $82,000

As a qualified paramedic, depending on your years of experience, you could expect to earn:

  • In New South Wales: $66,000 – $76,000
  • In Victoria: $70,000 – $100,000
  • In Queensland: $68,000 – $85,000
  • In South Australia: $65,000 – $78,000
  • In Western Australia: $90,000 – $98,00

With further specialisation as an Advanced Life Support Paramedic, or even an Intensive Care Paramedic, you could expect your overall earnings to increase by a further ~ $10,000 per year. Extremely specialist paramedics like flight/air ambulance paramedics could earn $90,000 – $119,000 on average.

Private sector medic salaries

There is high demand for all kinds of paramedic, medic and pre-hospital healthcare workers in both the public and private sectors.
VET-qualified graduates can get straight into the industry, and be paid well for serving their community with a critical health service.

For example, varying by state and provider, you could expect to earn:

  • Within Non-Emergency Patient Transport:
    • Patient Transport Officer (PTO): $51,000 – $62,000
    • Ambulance Transport Attendant (ATA): $51,000 – $80,000
  • Search & Rescue Medic: $80,000 – $120,000
  • Emergency Services Officer (ESO): $80,000 – $120,000
  • Event Medic: $21 – $70 per hour

In the private sector, salaries can vary depending on the company you work for and the scope of practice you are allowed to work within.
For example, a private firm will often pay more than a state position because the job may require you to be off-site, or in a remote location (e.g. in the mining and the resource sector).

Location and industry can make all the difference

It’s common for the paramedic salary to increase by $10,000-$30,000 in larger cities, in comparison to those in smaller regional towns. Paramedics and Emergency Services Officers (ESO) in the mining sector are attracted to the high paying mining positions which can be anywhere from $120,000-$140,000 per year.

What other factors influence paramedic salaries?

There are few other factors that can influence the salary of paramedics. The level of training that you have completed and the amount of on-the-job experience you have can significantly increase your earnings.

For example, state paramedics are required to hold a relevant bachelor’s degree, but coming into the job with relevant experience in healthcare could increase your starting wage. Further study to specialise in intensive care, or advanced life support paramedicine would also see your salary increase.

What’s the difference between a registered Ambulance Paramedic and a diploma-qualified medic?

The difference between a registered Ambulance Paramedic and a diploma-qualified medic is the level of qualification they hold, and therefore the type of care they are allowed to administer to patients.

To become a registered Ambulance Paramedic, you are required to hold a relevant degree, like the Bachelor of Paramedic Science.

However, after the completion of a diploma, such as the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care, you’ll be qualified to become a Basic/Advanced Life Support medic in the private sector, including Event Medic, Mining Medic, Emergency Medical Technician, Patient Transport Officer and more. There is also the opportunity to become a Paramedic Assistant, although this varies depending on which state you live in.

So by completing a diploma, you are qualified to move into a career in pre-hospital care straight away, and can continue working if you choose to go on to study at university to become an ambulance paramedic.

Extra resources on paramedic salaries

There are loads of resources available to help you compare paramedic salaries in different locations. Here are a few links to some further reading.

What do Paramedics really do?

Paramedics, or pre-hospital emergency healthcare workers as they are sometimes known, are thrust into the call of duty whenever there is an emergency. They are often required to provide life-saving medical treatment on the spot.

Just like fire fighters and police officers, a paramedic’s civic duty is often carried out in challenging and unpredictable conditions.

The role of a paramedic is varied and covers a broad range of skills, such as:

  • attending accidents, emergencies and requests for medical assistance
  • assessing the health of patients, determining the need for assistance, and assessing specialised needs and factors affecting the patient’s condition
  • performing therapies and administering drugs according to accepted protocols and scope of practice
  • resuscitating and defibrillating patients and operating life-support equipment
  • transporting patients to and from medical facilities
  • handing over patients to medical professionals
  • conducting health checks and screening the public for COVID-19 infection
  • transporting sick and disabled persons to and from medical facilities for specialised treatment and rehabilitation
  • instructing community groups and essential service workers in first aid
  • attending public gatherings and sporting events where accidents and other health emergencies may occur
  • ensuring that ambulances are adequately maintained and stocked with medical supplies, and essential equipment is in good working order
  • preparing written reports on the state of patients’ injuries and treatment provided

What does it take to become a Paramedic?

A paramedic will tell you that while the salary is good, it really isn’t the money that drives them to enter the profession. While it is extremely rewarding, it’s very challenging job that takes a lot of heart. Paramedics are often driven by the desire to help people in their hour of need and wanting to contribute to their community, as well as enjoying the diversity that each day on-the-job brings.

How to become a paramedic

As a paramedic, you are a senior health care practitioner who responds to all kinds of medical emergencies, so you need to have completed high-level training and have some clinical, hands-on experience.

To become a registered Paramedic in Australia, a Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree is required. There are a few ways APC can help you get there.

  1. Get prepared for university with a diploma pathway

    If you’re not ready to go straight into a degree, the HLT50120 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care, offers the perfect pathway into university.

    This nationally recognised diploma qualification thoroughly prepares graduates to transition into university, making the whole experience more enjoyable and less stressful. Depending on which university you choose, it’s quite common for diploma-qualified applicants to be awarded degree credits of up to 33%.

  2. Start with an entry-level role and work your way up

    If you’re looking to start your first job in healthcare and would prefer to work your way up, an entry-level role is a good option. Starting in an entry-level role, such as an ambulance driver or a non-emergency patient transport officer is a very popular entry-pathway into the sector.

    You can complete a basic ambulance driver/patient transport course such as the HLT31120 – Certificate III in Non-emergency Patient Transport, then move on to the HLT41120 – Certificate IV in Health Care to qualify as a Basic Life Support Medic.