How to become a Paramedic

Paramedics provide pre-hospital emergency care, treatment and specialised transport for patients.

Personal requirements of a Paramedic

  • Able to remain calm and control emotions in stressful situations
  • Able to think clearly and act quickly
  • Good level of health and fitness
  • Good analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Able to work alone and as part of a team
  • Able to follow instructions and guidelines
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Clear decision-making skills and good judgement
  • Caring, tolerant and non-judgmental attitude
  • Enjoy working with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Committed to developing and maintaining skills

Education & Training for a Paramedic

To become a paramedic you usually need to complete a degree in paramedic science or paramedic practice at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks. Students may be eligible, or required, to complete training with the ambulance service in their state or territory upon graduation.

Duties & Tasks of a Paramedic

Paramedics may perform the following tasks:

  • drive ambulances to sites of medical emergencies and accidents that may require the administration of advanced life support
  • lift and place patients on stretchers, load the stretchers into ambulances and transport patients to hospital
  • assess and treat patients at the site and on the way to hospital
  • administer pain-relieving drugs and replace fluids, often by inserting tubes into veins
  • prepare patient care records and other written reports on the state of patients’ injuries and the treatment provided
  • attend public gatherings, such as large sporting events, where accidents or other health emergencies may occur
  • provide routine transport for patients between home and hospital (for patients requiring further treatment or specialised treatment such as occupational therapy and chemotherapy, for example)
  • perform daily vehicle and equipment checks, making sure that medical supplies (including drugs) are accounted for and that equipment and ambulances are in good working order.

Working conditions for a Paramedic

Paramedics work in teams and in shifts, and in all kinds of weather conditions. They are required to assist at a range of incidents, including motor vehicle accidents and medical emergencies inside and outside domestic premises, building sites and public areas. They may work in confined spaces, such as under vehicles and buildings, and at sites of hazardous material accidents, such as fires and chemical spills. They work closely with members of other emergency services such as firefighters, police and the State Emergency Service (SES).

Employment Opportunities for a Paramedic

Paramedics can be based in metropolitan areas or in rural locations. Competition for available places is very strong.

Specialisations:


Intensive Care Paramedic

An intensive care paramedic attends life-threatening emergencies such as heart attacks and car accidents, and gives intensive treatment to patients before arrival at hospital. They receive more training in the areas of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology to increase their capacity to make complex clinical decisions without medical consultation.


Paramedic Clinical Instructor

A paramedic clinical instructor delivers training and support to paramedic interns.

Additional Information
Before undertaking the clinical placements required by the courses, students will need to obtain a National Police Certificate and a Working with Children Check, and undergo medical and physical capacity checks. Contact the universities you are interested in for full details. Applicants may need to hold an open-class or manual drivers licence, have a good driving record and be an Australian citizen or have unrestricted working rights.
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