How to become a paramedic: Australian careers in emergency healthcare

Paramedics are trained medical professionals who act as first responders in emergency situations where a person is sick or injured.  They usually travel by ambulance, providing pre-hospital care and treatment while transporting the patient. It takes extensive study and lots of practical experience to become a paramedic – you need to know how to handle all types of emergency medical situations. Specific requirements vary from state to state, so be sure to do your research before you start studying.

  • Task Career in focus: What a paramedic does

    Paramedics provide medical assistance to those in critical need, often in emergency situations. No two days are the same as each call out is unique in some way. Some duties performed by paramedics include providing first aid and emergency medical care, driving and operating an emergency vehicle, calming the patient and/or onlookers and replenishing medical supplies. 

    Tasks:

    • Emergency medical assistance
    • Patient transport
    • Operating and maintaining emergency response vehicle
    • Administering life support
  • Skills Core qualities: Skills to succeed as a paramedic

    Paramedicine is a very tough field, in both a physical and emotional sense. Though it is rewarding, it requires a strong, passionate and motivated type of person to get up every day and perform in high stress environments.  In such conditions you need to be able to make fast, informed decisions. You also need to have strong communication skills to be able to convey important medical information to colleagues, to comfort loved ones and to cope with patients who may be stressed or traumatised.  A driver’s license is also a must for operating an emergency response vehicle. 

    Skills/attributes
    • Remain calm in high stress environments
    • Communicate well with different types of people
    • Quick decision making
    • Driver’s license and driving skills Medical knowledge
  • Specialisations The field: Specialisations within emergency healthcare

    Paramedics come in many different forms, often specialising in different types of emergency medical assistance. The path you choose to take will be determined by your interests or “passions” in the field of paramedicine. You will need to adjust your study to suit your aspirations.

    Intensive Care Paramedic

    Intensive care paramedics are required to complete a university degree in intensive care and paramedical training. Their goal is to provide a standard of care similar to an intensive care unit, whilst the patient is being transferred between point of pick up and the hospital. This initial stage is often critical, so intensive care paramedics play a huge role in ensuring patients arrive safely for further medical care. 

    First Responder

    First responders are not fully qualified paramedics, but they do help the community by working as volunteers or in private first aid companies. Becoming a first responder is a great way to get a feel for being a paramedic and figure out whether it is the right career for you!

    Patient Transport Officer

    Patient transport officers provide hospital transport for patients who are immobile or lack mobility. They pick up patients who need hospital attention but are not in an emergency situation. To become a patient transport officer, you need to have a Certificate III in Non-Emergency Patient Transport.

  • Pathways The right track: Find study options for becoming a paramedic

    Training requirements for paramedics vary between states, but they will also differ depending on the specialisation you pursue.

    Starting Out

    There are a number of different entry-level health care courses available that can enable you to work in a support position or as a first responder.

    Building Skills

    Once you know that you want to be a paramedic, you can undertake a bachelor degree or whatever qualification is required in your state.

    Developing Your Resume

    You may want to specialise in a certain type of paramedicine. To work as an intensive care paramedic, you will need to undertake extra training in intensive care.

    Industry Recognition

    In order to work as a qualified paramedic, you will need to meet the requisite qualification and training levels for the position and your state. Use our resources below to find information about paramedicine in your state or territory.

    Entering the workforce

    Show off your expertise and determination in your job applications, and a position should soon be yours! Check out our sample resumes and cover letters to get some inspiration for attracting potential employers.

    Job Prospects in Emergency Healthcare: Working life as a paramedic

    Employment in paramedicine has increased over the last ten years. This growth is expected to continue for some time yet.

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