Healthcare & Medical
Paramedics care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings, and provide specialised medical transportation.
What does a Paramedic do?
Paramedics care for the sick or injured in emergency medical settings. People’s lives often depend on their quick reaction and competent care. Ambulance officers and paramedics respond to emergency calls, performing medical services and transporting patients to medical facilities. Paramedics are also commonly known as ambulance officers.
As a paramedic, you would:
- drive ambulances to medical emergencies in response to emergency calls
- check on the condition of the patient and decide what immediate medical care is needed
- provide immediate medical care, including resuscitation or life support
- carry out medical procedures, provide drugs, or give injections
- make decisions about how to move and transport the patient
- continue to monitor and assess the patient in the ambulance on the way to hospital
- provide details of the patient's condition and what medical care has been administered to hospital staff
- prepare accurate patient records
- perform vehicle, equipment and supply checks
- provide routine transportation for patients between homes and hospitals.
Some quick-response paramedics who work in the centre of major cities might ride a motorcycle and be the initial response to emergency calls in congested areas.
Key skills and interests
To become a paramedic, you would need:
- good spoken and written communication skills
- clear judgement and decision-making skills
- quick thinking and a calm manner, particularly in stressful situations
- practical skills and the ability to carry out emergency procedures
- good teamwork skills
- a non-judgmental and caring attitude
- able to keep patient confidentiality.
Working hours and conditions
The emergency ambulance service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You could work full-time or part-time. You would work shifts, which would be likely to include nights, weekends and public holidays.
You would wear a uniform, including protective clothing. Your work may involve heavy lifting when transferring patients.
You may find you encounter some difficult and upsetting situations, including bad traffic accidents, or dealing with people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
How to become an Paramedic?
Entry Level Education
There are a number of ways you can become a paramedic. As a trainee paramedic, you would attend a Diploma at the accredited state ambulance training college. Paramedic interns can commence their employment in the final year of a recognised degree in paramedical science. If you have a degree in paramedic science, and prior experience, you can join as a graduate paramedic.
Paramedic bachelor programs for are becoming more common across Australia. To get into degree courses, you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, biology and mathematics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Before undertaking clinical placements, students need to obtain a National Police Certificate, a Provide First Aid Certificate and relevant immunisations.
As part of the recruitment process, all applicants are required to attend a health assessment, which includes a medical evaluation and physical fitness test.
Applicants must hold an unrestricted C-class drivers licence and have a good driving record. All applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents.
Employment of paramedics is projected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations.
Emergencies, such as car crashes, natural disasters, or acts of violence, will continue to create demand for these roles. Demand for part-time paramedics in rural areas and smaller metropolitan areas will also continue.
Growth in the middle-aged and elderly population will lead to an increase in the number of age-related health emergencies, which will create greater demand for paramedic services.