Diploma of Paramedical Science degree pathway
NOTE: The HLT51015 – Diploma of Paramedical Science has been superseded by the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care.
The APC diploma offers graduates a unique pathway into university to study the Bachelor of Paramedic Science (required to become an Ambulance Paramedic).
Educational pathways – Australian Quality Framework (AQF)
The Australian Quality Framework (AQF) is the body responsible for creating educational progression pathways within the Australian education and training sector. It clearly defines the different levels of qualifications and how they provide progression and access to higher education.
The HLT51015 – Diploma of Paramedical Science (superseded by the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care) is a Level-5 AQF qualification; whereas a degree is classified as Level 7. Note: Level-6 was previously reserved for the Advanced Diploma of Paramedical Science, which has been discontinued.
The objectives of the AQF are;
- to assist the movement between different education and training sectors
- to support lifelong learning goals for students; and
- providing the basis for individuals to progress through education and training and gain recognition for their prior learning and experiences.
An example of this would be progressing from a Diploma of Emergency Health Care to a Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree. Credits are awarded because of the similarities between subjects in the diploma and degree.
The AQF Qualifications Pathways Policy builds into the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) the capacity to genuinely support students’ lifelong learning by;
- enhancing student progression into and between AQF qualifications (diploma to degree) by creating flexible qualification pathways
- supporting the development of pathways in qualifications design (allows a linear process of learning)
- facilitating credit for entry into, as well as credit towards AQF qualifications (diploma to degree), and
- eliminating unfair or unnecessary barriers to AQF qualifications. (universities who don’t recognise diploma qualifications as a pathway into the degree)
APC diploma graduates have been credited for multiple degree subjects/courses.
The degree subjects credited do differ depending on which university you choose. We recommend confirming with your chosen university about how many diploma credits would be awarded.
Potentially 33% credit for a Diploma linked to a 3 year Bachelor Degree.
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), recommends 33% credit be awarded after completing the diploma when enrolling into a 3-year Bachelor Degree.
The following is a summary of the AQF recommendations (this is a link to download the AQF guidelines) on awarding credit points towards the degree.
2.1.9 Credit agreements negotiated between issuing organisations for credit for students towards AQF
qualifications at any level, vertical or horizontal, will take into account the comparability and
equivalence of the:
- learning outcomes
- volume of learning
- program of study, including content, and
- learning and assessment approaches.
2.1.10 Credit agreements negotiated between issuing organisations for credit for students towards higher
level AQF qualifications in the same or a related discipline, having taken into account 2.1.9, should
use the following as the basis of negotiations:
- 50% credit for an Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree linked to a 3 year Bachelor Degree
- 37.5% credit for an Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree linked to a 4 year Bachelor Degree
- 33% credit for a Diploma linked to a 3 year Bachelor Degree
- 25% credit for a Diploma linked to a 4 year Bachelor Degree
- Institutions to recognise learning regardless of how, when and where it was acquired, provided that the learning is relevant and current and has a relationship to the learning outcomes of the qualification.
- Allow for credit outcomes to be used to meet prerequisites or other specified requirements for entry into a program of study leading to a qualification or for the partial fulfillment of the requirements of a qualification.
- Credit agreements negotiated between issuing organisations for credit for students towards higher level AQF qualifications in the same or a related discipline.
Based on the recommendations of the AQF, let’s review which universities are complying with the AQF recommendations.
Universities giving degree credits for completing the APC diploma.
- Central Queensland University (CQU) – Bachelor of Paramedic Science
- Edith Cowan University (ECU) – Bachelor of Science (Paramedical Science)
- Charles Sturt University (CSU) – Bachelor of Paramedicine
- University of Tasmania (UTAS) – Bachelor of Paramedic Practice 53A
- Victoria University (VU) – Bachelor of Paramedicine
- Queensland University of Technology – Bachelor of Paramedic Science
As you can see, there are some credible Australian universities in this list. These are forward-thinking universities who see great merit in APC graduates becoming part of their degree program. The above information may be subject to change.
Shared subjects across the diploma and Bachelor of Paramedic Science
A recent report showcasing 11 universities offering the bachelor’s degree, shows clear commonalities across the core paramedical subjects.
The following Bachelor of Paramedic Science credits have been awarded to APC graduates after completing the Diploma of Paramedical Science (superseded by the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care). The naming of the course units do differ from university to university, although we can clearly see the commonality. The following list details the credit subject that have been awarded to APC diploma graduates.
- Human Body Systems – Anatomy and Physiology 1
- Human Body Systems – Anatomy and Physiology 2
- Skills in Paramedical Practice 1
- Skills in Paramedical Practice 2
- Paramedic Clinical Practice 1
- Paramedic Clinical Practice 2
- Foundations and Principles of Paramedic Science 1
- Foundations of Professional Paramedic Practice 2
- Systems Physiology
- Australian Health and Social Care Systems and Policy
- Cultural Studies
- Pre-hospital Ethical and Legal Issues
- Principles of Drug Actions For Health Professionals
- Foundations of Clinical Practice
- Health, Culture and Society
- Ethics and the Law in Health Service Delivery
- Some universities follow the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Policy and will award significant credits to graduates who have completed the Australian Paramedical College diploma.
- Other universities do not.
APC recommends further independent enquiry, because universities can change their policy on credits at any time.
Further reading on university pathways.
Not everyone who studies the APC diploma wishes to become a registered Ambulance Paramedic. There’s so many opportunities in the private sector, and even some of our graduates (How I became a Paramedic in London – APC graduate tells his amazing story) are working as a Paramedic in the UK with the London Ambulance Service.