How to become a Paramedic

Find out how Australian Paramedical College can help you in your journey to becoming a Paramedic. 

Exploring a career in paramedicine

A career in paramedicine is not only rewarding but selfless too, as most people who choose this pathway primarily want to help others and give back to their community. If you’re interested in becoming a Paramedic or even Medic in the private sector, it’s important to understand there are many options available to you so it’s helpful to learn as much as you can before pursuing study.

From choosing your education path to the type of profession within the industry that interests you the most, you’re in for an exciting and fulfilling journey. To get started, check out a few duties required of a Paramedic;

  • Responding to accidents, emergencies, and medical assistance calls.
  • Evaluating, treating, and overseeing patient care at the scene and during transport to hospitals.
  • Performing resuscitation, defibrillation, and operating life-support equipment.
  • Ensuring ambulances are adequately supplied with medical resources and maintaining equipment functionality.
  • Compiling and presenting written reports detailing patient care and the treatment administered. 

Becoming a Paramedic in Australia

1. Start studying

To be able to work as a registered State Ambulance Paramedic, you are required to hold a Bachelor of Paramedic Science/ Bachelor of Paramedicine (or similar) from university.

Although the primary pathway to becoming a Paramedic is to go straight to university, many students choose to study the HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Healthcare first as it’s a great way to gain medical knowledge and hands-on experience to best prepare for university entry.

Many universities across Australia and New Zealand accept VET entry and in some cases, also offer RPL, so if you choose the Diploma pathway be sure to check if you’re eligible to ease the transition. 

2. Gain practical experience

As part of studying paramedicine, it is imperative for students to build the practical skills they need to fulfil their duties on the job. 

Whether your preference is to attend university or choose a Diploma pathway, all students will complete Clinical Placement.

While it is a requirement, Clinical Placement provides a fantastic opportunity for Paramedics in the making to gain real-life experience and work alongside industry professionals so they’re well prepared for the future. 


3. Register your details

To be able to to call yourself a paramedic in Australia, you are required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). For those residing in New Zealand, registration with the Te Kaunihera Manapou Paramedic Council. This occurs once you have studied and graduated from university

It’s important to renew your registration each year too by committing to mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

Depending on which state, territory or country you live in, there may be some other requirements you need to consider. This may include completing other small courses or registration processes in accordance with the state ambulance service. 

Paramedical degree pathways

There are two pathways to obtain a university science degree to pursue a career as a Paramedic.

Direct Entry

Gain direct admission into university: 3 years full-time study or 3-6 years part-time study


VET Entry

Gain a VET qualification before progressing onto university, such as studying a HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Health Care 

Paramedic careers by state

Firstly, to be able to work as a registered State Ambulance Paramedic, you are required to hold a relevant Paramedic Science/ Paramedicine Bachelor’s degree from university, registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) (Australian Paramedics) or Te Kaunihera Manapou Paramedic Council (New Zealand Paramedics) and typically hold a driver’s license.

While these are key requirements across Australia and New Zealand, there are some other unique differences to be aware of if you’re looking to work for a state service. Don’t forget the private sector is booming too, so the options are truly endless if you’re dream is to work in the field of paramedicine!

Working as a Paramedic for an Australian state service*


  • There are three training pathways to becoming a paramedic with NSW Ambulance; Trainee Paramedic (Vocational) pathway, Paramedic Intern (Graduate) pathway, and Qualified Paramedic pathway.
  • Candidates who have attained an accredited tertiary qualification in paramedicine recognised by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards, or are in their final year of such a program, are encouraged to apply for the Graduate Paramedic Intern position. Prior to commencing field duties, successful applicants undergo a mandatory minimum of 5 weeks of training at NSW Ambulance.
  • If you’re interested in joining Ambulance Victoria as a qualified paramedic, you will need to hold the minimum qualifications, experience and registration.
  • All Paramedics must be registered with the Board of Paramedicine. 
  • To be eligible for the role of Graduate Ambulance Paramedic, you must have finished or be in the last semester of a recognised university program.
  • The Queensland Ambulance Service (QAS) has its own registration process you’ll need to follow
  • All Paramedics must be registered with the Board of Paramedicine. 
  • QAS have a Graduate Paramedic Program and Qualified Paramedic Campaign you can apply for, depending on your level of experience.
  • St John WA Paramedics are trained to Advanced Life Support (ALS) level which allows them to provide exceptional emergency care to patients.
  • All Paramedics must be registered with the Board of Paramedicine. 
  • Recent experience employed and working within a jurisdictional ambulance service in Australia or internationally as a paramedic for a minimum of two years.
  • To be eligible to work for SA Ambulance Service (SAAS), you are required to complete an accredited course. SAAS will provide further training and support throughout the registration process.
  • With a large volunteering community consisting of 1,500+ staff, there’s a huge opportunity to gain experience this way before you’re a qualified Paramedic.
  • The Tasmanian Ambulance Service (TAS) is part of Tasmania’s Department of Health and Human Services  (DHHS) which requires Paramedics to complete the national registration exam.
  • There’s a Graduate Paramedic Program which you can apply for and be part of for 12 months to gain quality, hands-on experience.
  • There are wonderful volunteering opportunities with TAS too. 
  • St John NT offers eligible applicants the opportunity to gain an Authority to Practice as a qualified paramedic.
  • You must hold a current authority to practice.
  • Becoming a volunteer with St John Ambulance NT is a great way to start your career, learn new skills and give back to your local community.
  • ACT Ambulance Service (ACTAS) offers applicants with an approved tertiary qualification a comprehensive Graduate Training Program leading to an authority to practice as an Ambulance Paramedic.


Working as a Paramedic in New Zealand Ambulance Service*

  • Hato Hone St John offers applicants with an approved tertiary qualification to operate as Paramedics, treating minor concerns to life-threatening illnesses.

*Note, some other requirements may apply for each state service. All information has been sourced from each independent state service.

Types of Paramedics in Australia and New Zealand

There are different career pathways you can take as a qualified Paramedic depending on your interests, location and if your goal is to work for a state service or in the private sector.

All Paramedics are highly trained, first-contact health workers who deliver out-of-hospital, emergency and non-emergency care. While the knowledge, skills and experience for all qualified Paramedics are similar, there are different types of classifications in the discipline you can pursue which have varying levels of training and expertise.

These Paramedic positions operate across all Australian states and territories, and in some cases, New Zealand too:

  • Registered Paramedic/ Ambulance Paramedic: A Registered Paramedic or Ambulance Paramedic holds a Bachelor of Paramedicine (or similar) and completed the relevant workplace training before officially filling the position. 
  • Bicycle Response Paramedic: Successfully filing the requirements of a Registered/Ambulance Paramedic, a Bicycle Response Paramedic responds to incidents on bikes, treating patients who don’t require transportation to hospital but require care until other resources arrive (if applicable). 
  • Flight/ Air Ambulance Paramedic: Flight/Air Ambulance Paramedics are responsible for working to recover or stabilise a patient while in transport to a qualified medical facility. To fulfil positions as such, individuals may be required to hold registered paramedic qualifications, relevant postgraduate qualifications and at least five years of experience in-field.

Here’s some other pathways you can take, however these may different depending on your location:

  • Graduate Paramedic: A Graduate Paramedic works directly underneath appropriately qualified personnel before they become an Advanced Care Paramedic.
    In some states, they are required to complete the relevant training before going on road.
  • Advanced Care Paramedic: Whilst differing per state, Advanced Care Paramedics have fulfilled the Registered Paramedic/Graduate Paramedic role for at least 2-3 years to have a more advanced skillset when providing care and transport to patients. 
  • Intensive Care Paramedic: Intensive Care Paramedics hold similar positions as Advanced Care Paramedics. They hold a broader scope than those of Registered/Ambulance Paramedics, performing more advanced medical interventions and procedures. 
  • Wilderness Response/ Remote Rescue Paramedic: Wilderness Response Paramedics or Remote Rescue Paramedics are trained to treat patients in remote areas. Often working alongside the State Emergency Service and Police Force, the qualifications needed are often a Bachelor of Paramedicine (or similar) and further education in specialist equipment and environments. 

APC student to Trainee Paramedic

Meet Sarah Sgroi

Starting her journey a HLT51020 – Diploma of Emergency Healthcare graduate, Sarah has gone from strength to strength. Not only did she take home the ‘NSW Student of the Year‘ award in 2023, after successfully completing her studies with APC, Sarah furthered her education to chase her dream career of becoming a Paramedic.

Now working as a Trainee Paramedic, whilst being a devoted mother to two children at home, Sarah is a true inspiration!

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