In Australia, Ambulance paramedics are predominantly employed by State run ambulance services to provide services to hospitals, clinics, doctors surgery’s etc. These paramedics are highly trained and are generally the first emergency health care professionals to arrive on the scene of an emergency.
Both of these options have their benefits – it all depends on your circumstances.
If you have the time and money, the university option is an accepted pathway. Taking this option means committing to 3 years of study, agreeing to attend lectures on campus (where applicable), with clinical assessment and placements to develop your theoretical knowledge as well as gain supervised clinical placement.
As a degree-qualified Paramedic, graduates are eligible to apply to a State Ambulance Service where they can be employed as a student Paramedic and work along side a qualified Paramedic for a probationary period; usually 12 months.
If university is not an option, then the other choice is to gain Nationally Recognised qualifications in pre-hospital emergency health care. The highest qualification is the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Healthcare. The graduate of this course are classed as an Advanced Care Medics, which when completed, graduates are classed as an Advanced Care Paramedic/Medic. As a side note, in Queensland, the Queensland Ambulance Service Clinical Scope of Practice has been used as a benchmark for APC diploma-qualified graduates who wish to actively pursue a career in emergency health care. APC mapped it’s diploma scope and found it to be equivalent to 60% of that of the scope of a QAS Paramedic. It’s still not enough to get you a job with QAS, although it does show the diploma is more than an entry-level course.
At this level, graduates can access a large jobs pool in the private sector; and choose from a variety of industries including, mining, oil & gas, industrial, construction, aviation, maritime and a whole lot more.
Whilst diploma study involves comprehensive and thorough training program, it is not delivered to the standard of a degree, although it is becoming more and more popular for many people to complete the diploma, then use this qualification as an entry pathway into a Bachelor of Paramedic Science.
Many people dream of becoming a Paramedic/medic because they identify with themselves the same personality type. They have high levels of compassion and empathy towards others and above all, Paramedics practice non-judgement and accept every human as being as deserving as the next.
Ambulance Paramedics who are employed by a State Ambulance Service can work in part-time or full-time roles; and be required to work day and night shifts as well as weekends. Paramedics can often work long hours dealing with any emergency call out that comes their way. They are always on call becasue the nature of the job is unpredictable; with many shifts extending into another. For those who thrive on the adrenaline and unpredictability of this rewarding profession, the opportunities are limitless.
Paramedics rarely do it for the money. The overwhelming majority do it because of the immense satisfaction gained by being the one who can help make a positive difference in a total strangers life. For Paramedics and medics in the private sector, earnings could be higher because of overtime and extra payments working in remote locations, or on mine sites, or oil & gas installations etc.