How to become a paramedic

In an emergency, paramedics are first on the scene. You give people who are sick or injured urgent care, and if needed, you get them to the hospital as quickly as possible. Paramedics have a very important job, and you can really help people who are in need. Perhaps, with your quick thinking and actions, you can make the difference between life and death. If you can see yourself taking on this level of responsibility, handling the pressures of the job, all with a cool head, then why not become a paramedic? Over the last ten years in Australia, the demand for paramedics has been steadily increasing, so now is the perfect time to get started.

As a quick-thinking individual, you keep a level head in an emergency. You can work under pressure, and you have a passion for helping others. If this describes you, then it sounds like becoming a paramedic will be a perfect fit for you. In that case, why not get started right away? Paramedics don’t hang around, remember. Find out here what it takes to succeed as a paramedic and at the same time get enrolled on the best course for you.

Step one: Consider a specialisation

When you become a paramedic there are a number of different specialisations on offer. It is worthwhile spending some time first to consider your options. This is because the study pathway can vary according to the specialisation you want to pursue.

Intensive Care Paramedic

To work as an intensive care paramedic you must finish tertiary study in intensive care and paramedical training. You work from an ambulance which is very well equipped. From the ambulance, you offer treatments which are almost the same as what the intensive care unit at the hospital offers. This means you can respond to emergency situations and give the best chance of survival to patients.

First Responder

If you aren’t keen on studying before getting started then working as a first responder is a good way to build up experience in the field. You work in lots of different settings giving first aid to patients in need. You aren’t qualified as a paramedic, but this is a good way to get a sense of how you react and feel in an emergency.  Then, you can follow up the role with qualifications at a later date.

Patient Transport Officer

To work as a patient transport officer you need to complete a Certificate III in Non-Emergency Patient Transport. Then, you work with different people to help them get to the hospital for appointments or other non-emergency care. If you would like to work in healthcare. But prefer to take a step back from the highly stressful emergency scenarios, this specialisation will make a good choice for you.

Step two: Choose a course

When you have an idea of the specialisation, if any, you would like to pursue as a career. Then, you can choose the course which will best prepare you for the role you are aiming for.  When you choose a course, check with your local authority it meets their requirements. 

Step three: Look for your first job

Once you have completed your course it is time to look for your first job. Demand for paramedics has been growing over the last ten years and experts think this trend will continue. Don’t forget to tailor your resume and cover letter for each application. Make sure you highlight your qualifications, personal strengths and any relevant experience you have.

Step four: Gain experience

When you have found your first job it is important to take time to settle into the role and gain valuable experience. Afterward, once you have had time to perfect your skills you can consider pursuing your specialisation.

What do Paramedics Do?

Firstly and foremost, Paramedics respond to calls to the emergency services. Driving to the scene and then assessing the patient. At this point, you may give emergency treatment before transporting the patient to the hospital. Paramedics may also give support to bystanders, and of course to the patients themselves. In addition, you take responsibility for making sure you stock the ambulance with the medical equipment and supplies. Replenishing after each use. When you are driving to and from the scene you need to be as safe and as fast as possible. 


  • Responding to emergencies giving medical attention at the scene
  • Transporting patients to the hospital
  • Driving and maintaining the emergency response vehicle
  • Giving life support/ CPR at the scene and en-route to the hospital

Skills for Success

The work of a paramedic is a demanding, high-pressure profession. Each day can be wildly different as well as the medical conditions or scenarios you find when you arrive on the scene. What takes place can be upsetting, chaotic and stressful. You need to keep a cool head and take charge to handle the situation, whatever it is you may find. Furthermore, you will often have to manage relatives and the patients themselves as they react to the crisis. You need the medical skills to administer life support, to drive the vehicle, and good communication skills. In addition, you should not mind working shifts of which some can take place at night.

Skills and attributes

  • Can keep calm and perform in highly stressful situations
  • Communication skills
  • Able to make fast decisions
  • Have an unrestricted driving licence
  • Ability to operate a vehicle safely

What is a Paramedic Salary Australia?

In Australia, paramedics earn a median wage of $59,117 per year. This varies according to a number of factors and is intended as a reference only, from Payscale 05/’18.

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