How do I become a Paramedic from a Nurse?

How to become a Paramedic from a Nurse


How to transition from a Nurse to a Paramedic

Are you working as a EN or an RN and thinking about how different your working life would be on-road as a paramedic, instead of being on the ward all day/night? What happens, however, when you want to change career paths? Do you have to start again from scratch?

If you want to make the change from a Nurse to a Paramedic, the Australian Paramedical College can help you transition into your new career.

Working as a nurse is an incredibly rewarding experience, as you would know.  A  job that brings with it a variety of technical skills and knowledge which can be applied across other areas of the health care sector.

We can show you which training and pathway options are available via the Diploma of Paramedical Science (superseded by HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care), or by way of a degree/graduate diploma.
Note: APC is a Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector provider of pre-hospital emergency health care. If a career as an Ambulance Paramedic appeals to you, then a Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree is needed. Our diploma can get you into university where credit towards the degree can be awarded (please check with your university first).

There are a few options to consider – so please read on.

First of all…make the most of your nursing skills, life experience and current qualifications.

Throughout your studies and experiences as nurse, it goes without saying that you possess many great qualities that contributes towards a successful career as a paramedic. For that reason, the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care via partial recognition of prior learning (RPL), could be the first step towards validating your experience.

Available online with face-to -face clinical workshops and clinical placement, the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care is nationally recognised and will deliver essential pre-hospital emergency health care skills necessary to step into roles, such as:

  • Emergency Services Officer (ESO) Mining and Resource Sector – Diploma of Emergency Health Care
  • Industrial medic – Diploma of Emergency Health Care
  • Basic to Advanced life support medic first responder
  • Ambulance Paramedic (additional degree required)
  • Ambulance transport attendant (ATA) – Certificate IV in Health Care / Diploma of Emergency Health Care
  • Emergency medical technician (EMT) – Certificate IV in Health Care / Diploma of Emergency Health Care
  • Private patient transport officer (PTO) – Certificate III in Non-emergency Patient Transport
  • Emergency patient transport officer (Certificate III in Non-emergency Patient Transport – Diploma of Emergency Health Care)

Nurse to Paramedic advice. Female paramedical students load patient into ambulance




  • RPL Pathways

    Transitioning from a nurse to paramedic can be achieved by;

    • Apply for RPL and/or credit transfer into the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care. This is a cost-effective way to transition into the pre-hospital emergency health care system, without committing to a university degree. Making a tentative step into emergency care in the private sector has been a favourite approach for many people. Doing it this way, means the financial investment is not as big as university and the transition into pre-hospital care is cheaper and swifter.
    • Use the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care to acquire course credit towards the Bachelor of Paramedical Science.
    • Complete the degree and apply for a position with a State Ambulance Service.
    • Work in the private sector as a Paramedic (once the degree has been completed).
    • RPL existing RN qualifications and experience, complete the essential bridging units of competency to gain the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care – work as a Life Support Medic in the private sector (mining, oil & gas, community, flight medic etc). There are opportunities to work as a Paramedic with the London Ambulance Service
    • Complete a Graduate Diploma with a participating university.

    The process of RPL or Recognition of Prior Learning will assess and recognise the qualifications and experience of RN’s wanting to become a paramedic.

    Get the credit you deserve!

    Nursing core units that are eligible for Credit Transfer, (you may also be eligible for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for other units depending on your experience):


    • CHCDIV001 – Work with Diverse People. This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to work respectfully with people from diverse social and cultural groups and situations, including Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
    • CHCDIV002 – Promote Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Safety. If you completed this unit as a part of your nursing studies, you may be eligible for a Credit Transfer for BSBFLM303 – Contribute to Effective Workplace Relationships. This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to gather information and maintain effective relationships and networks, with particular regard to communication and representation.
    • HLTWHS006 – Manage Personal Stressors in the Work Environment. This unit describes the skills and knowledge required to maintain health and well-being by preventing and managing personal stress. This unit applies to work in a range of health and community services settings, in particular work roles that operate in high-stress situations and circumstances.

    If you would like enquire and apply for Credit Transfer or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) of your existing qualifications and experience, RPL Officer can assess your suitability. For more information, give us a call on 1300 377 741 or contact us to speak with a Course Advisor today!


Female student training assessment. Two female paramedical students practice in the rain. APCollege


Most paramedics operate on a 12-14 hour shift roster.

Their job includes the following responsibilities:

  • attending accidents, emergencies and requests for medical assistance
  • assessing health of patients, determining need for assistance, and assessing specialised needs and factors affecting patients’ conditions
  • performing therapies and administering drugs according to protocol
  • resuscitating and defibrillating patients and operating life-support equipment
  • transporting accident victims to medical facilities
  • transporting sick and disabled persons to and from medical facilities for specialised treatment and rehabilitation
  • instructing community groups and essential service workers in first aid
  • attending public gatherings and sporting events where accidents and other health emergencies may occur
  • ensuring that ambulances are adequately maintained and stocked with medical supplies, and that equipment is in good working order
  • preparing written reports on the state of patients’ injuries and treatment provided
  • transporting emergency patients to a medical facility
  • observing patient vital signs
  • managing the medical supplies and equipment in an ambulance in the best manner possible


The job of nurses is vastly different from that of paramedics, although both focus on patient care as an absolute priority. Typically, nurses are required to work within contained environments, hospitals, medical facilities and the like to assist the doctors and other medical staff.

Nurses are typically responsible for:

      • assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing care for patients according to accepted nursing practice and standards
      • working in consultation with other Health Professionals and members of health teams, and coordinating the care of patients
      • providing interventions, treatments and therapies such as medications, and monitoring responses to treatment and care plan
      • promoting health and assisting in preventing ill health by participating in health education and other health promotion activities
      • answering questions and providing information to patients and families about treatment and care
      • supervising and coordinating the work of Enrolled Nurses and other health care workers
      • developing care plans for patients, checking their medical history, and documenting their progress
      • operating medical equipment in the facility
      • performing examinations and interpreting results
      • educating patients about a future course of action

      Benefits of becoming a paramedic (via the degree pathway)

      Transitioning from a nurse to a paramedic can be made easier with help from the Australian Paramedical College and the Diploma of Paramedical Science (superseded by HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care). It is definitely worth looking into.

      Here are a few perks of being a paramedic.

      Satisfaction of helping others

      How to become a Paramedic from a Nurse

      Paramedics are often the first on-scene to assist others who require life-saving medical care. They are required to quickly assess the medical state of a patient and make snap decisions to provide essential care. While this process can be demanding, the satisfaction of playing such an important role in someone else’s recovery is what makes the life of a paramedic so rewarding.

      Freedom and autonomy

      On-road, Ambulance Paramedics aren’t bound by the walls of a hospital or medical facility. They are for the most part on-the-go and respond to emergency calls at a moments notice. Their job takes them to different locations every day, which is so appealing. Being engaged in your job, where no two days are ever the same, are compelling reasons why the paramedic profession is a highly sought after one.


      Paramedical training scenario. Female medic, paramedic. Woman wearing safety hat.



      About the Australian Paramedical College

      The Australian Paramedical College is the largest private pre-hospital health care training provider in Australia, we can help you to achieve your paramedical training and career goals.

      We offer three courses in the emergency healthcare sector:

      Our nationally recognised paramedical training programs provide a flexible and affordable training pathway to employment in the private sector, or as a stepping stone to university to study a Bachelor of Paramedic Science. APC offers you the opportunity to become a Paramedic/Medic, regardless of your educational background. We believe you should still pursue your goals even if your school or college grades have previously prevented you from following a career path you know you’d be good at.

      today, more than ever, anything is possible when you put your mind to it. With advances in online learning and teaching methodologies, it’s now easier than ever to fit study around your current lifestyle. A few of hours here and there each week is often all it takes to begin your studies. There’s no reason why you can not follow your dreams and become the person who saves lives and contributes to the well-being of their community. Apply to study at the college.



What is your career journey?

To discover how you can become a fully qualified Ambulance Paramedic or Basic/Advanced Life Support Medic, complete a personalised paramedical career development plan.