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In Australia, Ambulance paramedics are predominantly employed by State run ambulance services to provide services to hospitals, clinics, doctors surgery’s etc. These paramedics are highly trained and are generally the first emergency health care professionals to arrive on the scene of an emergency.

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Pathways to becoming a State Ambulance Paramedic.

  1. Study part time for around 18-24 months and gain nationally recognised qualifications to become an Advanced Care Paramedic/Medic – then go to university
  2. Got to university full time for 3 years and get your Bachelor degree in Paramedic Science

Both of these options have their benefits – it all depends on your circumstances.

University pathway

For those who have the time and money, university option is the preferred pathway. Students who take this option commit to 3 years of study, with clinical assessment and placements to develop their theoretical knowledge as well as gain supervised clinical placement. 

As a degree-qualified paramedic, graduates are eligible to apply to a State Ambulance Service where they can be employed as a student paramedic and work along side a qualified paramedic for a probationary period – usually 12 months. Upon successful completion of this probationary period, a formal offer of employment is normally offered.

Vocational training

If university is not an option, then the other option is to gain Nationally Recognised qualifications in pre-hospital emergency health care. The highest qualification attainable is the HLT51015 – Diploma of Paramedical Science, which when completed, graduates are classed as an Advanced Care Paramedic/Medic.

At this level, graduates can access a large jobs pool in the private sector and choose from a variety of industry’s including, mining, oil & gas, industrial, construction, aviation, maritime and a whole lot more.

Whilst the Diploma is a comprehensive and thorough training program, it is not delivered to the standard of a degree, although it is becoming more and more popular for many people to complete the Diploma, then use this qualification as an entry pathway into a Bachelor in Paraemedic Science degree.

Traits of a good paramedic

  • Above all else, the number one trait of a paramedic is his/her desire to help people in need
  • A paramedic must be able to deal with pressure and stress
  • The natural ability to stay calm under extreme pressure and in intense situations
  • A good paramedic must have an abundance of compassion
  • A smart paramedic must also be assertive and be able to take control of a situation without being egotistical
  • You will need to be fit and agile to deal with every scenario that presents itself
  • A paramedic also must enjoy the rush of adrenaline
  • Quick thinking and smart decision making are the mark of a great paramedic
  • You must be willing to get very little sleep in some instances.

Duties and tasks of a paramedic

  • Access patients conditions and complete specialised medical treatment and care before hospital admission
  • Collaborate effectively with other emergency services personnel
  • Making decisions whether and how to move patients
  • Make complex hospital transfers when necessary
  • Document patients conditions and prepare hospital triage staff for arrival handover
  • Meet patients medical needs by resuscitating and stabilising them if necessary
  • Use complex life support techniques, administer oxygen, drips, and medical drugs where required
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Working conditions

Ambulance paramedics working for a State Ambulance Service can work in part-time or full-time roles and be required to work on night, day, evening, and weekend shifts. Paramedics can often work long hours dealing with any emergency call out that comes their way.

They are always on call and as the nature of the job is unpredictable with many shifts extending into another. For those who thrive on the adrenaline and unpredictability of this incredible profession, the opportunities are only limited to the imagination and passion of the individual.

Salary expectations

Paramedic professionals don’t do it for the money – that’s fore sure. The overwhelming majority do it because of the meaning behind it, which is to help people in need and to save the lives of those in danger. For paramedics/medics in the private sector, earnings could be higher because of overtime and extra payments for working in remote locations, or on mine sites, or oil & gas installations etc.


  • Starting salary: $50,000+ per year
  • Average salary: $61,000+ per year
  • Senior salary: $89,000+ Salaries vary according to skill
  • Average weekly hours: For a full time Paramedic (Ambulance) is around 38.1 hours per week.

Entry-level paramedic training courses

  • HLT41115 – Certificate IV in Health Care
    12 months course. Graduate as a Basic Life Support Medic. Jobs in the private sector as an Ambulance Officer,
    Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Emergency Patient Transport Officer, Industrial medic (mining, construction, manufacturing, oil & gas)
  • HLT51015 – Diploma of Paramedical Science
    12-18 months course. Graduate as an Advanced Life Support Paramedic/Medic. Jobs in mining, oil & gas, construction, manufacturing, hospitality, security and industrial. Paramedic support at airports, transport organisations, sea-going vessels, merchant navy etc.


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