Understanding the different types of paramedics

The different types of Paramedic

You may already know this, but in case you don’t, there are many types of Paramedics in Australia – ranging from an Ambulance Paramedic, through to Critical and Intensive Care Paramedics, known as CCP and ICP.

The industry is managed by a peak professional association called Paramedics Australasia (PA), which represents practitioners (the term used to describe a qualified health care professional). PA are a respected voice in determining the future direction of health service provision, legislation and clinical practices are developed and implemented in order to enhance the quality of patient care in Australia.

The job roles are organised into communications, technical and professional streams.

Paramedic streams

  • Communications
  • Technical
  • Professional streams

Paramedics Australasia developed a set of guidelines called ‘Paramedicine role descriptors’ to provide an introduction to the current clinical roles within the pre-hospital emergency health care industry in Australia and New Zealand.

It’s important to note that if you seek employment within this sector, each ambulance service has its own employment criteria and will employ applicants on merit.

To make it easier for you, the following links direct you to clinical paramedical roles in Australia. These links are very useful and we highly recommend they be reviewed where possible as they are an excellent source of information for aspiring Paramedics.

Note: The following links will take you to the Paramedics Australasia website.




A full document of descriptors can be downloaded here on the Paramedics.org website.

Develop your career as a medic/paramedic

Do you love thought of helping people when they need it the most and ultimately giving back to your community. Do you dream of an amazing career in pre-hospital emergency health care, saving lives and enjoying the freedom to work in different locations every day? Deciding to study and work your way through the different levels and streams takes time and a firm mindset. Like everything in life, if you put in the work, you’ll be rewarded.

Choose from these qualifications

The following qualifications whilst comprehensive and through, will not be enough to get you a job as an Ambulance Paramedic – you’ll need a Bachelor of Paramedic Science for this. However, by studying the Certificate IV in Health Care and one extra unit from the Diploma of Paramedical Science (superseded by HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care), this can be sufficient to get you into uni and also qualify you for study credits against the degree. What this means is, you won’t have to re-learn some subjects and your transition into university life will be a lot more comfortable.

HLT31120 – Certificate III in Non-emergency Patient Transport – Work in patient transport as a driver and assistant. The perfect role for people who love driving and helping people. If you enjoy talking and being helpful, then this is a very good place to start. 6-12 month online study, with a clinical workshop where you learn additional skills.
HLT41120 – Certificate IV in Health Care – Become equipped with the clinical skills to be classed as a Basic Life Support Medic (BLSM) and work in your community as an event medic.  Consider the next time you go to a sports event or outdoor convert, or even the next time you take the train; there may be a Certificate IV in Health Care medic close by, ready to act swiftly in an emergency.
HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care (formerly HLT51015 – Diploma of Paramedical Science) – Following on from the Certificate IV, Basic Life Support Medic (BLSM) skill set, diploma-qualified practitioners are highly trained in advanced airway management, cardiac arrest and ECG monitoring; – plus they can access a more comprehensive scope to administer drugs and medications. With this skill set in mind, graduates of the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care can be classified as an Emergency Medical Technician/Advanced Life Support Medic (EMTALS).

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.