Paramedic Courses

What does a paramedic do?

A paramedic is a trained medical professional who responds to medical event callouts, treats people on site, and then transports them to an appropriate medical facility. In Australia, the term ‘paramedic’ is legally restricted to those registered with AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency).

Degrees for paramedics in Australia

There are a range of career options within the paramedical field, and each has a different level of education required. The degree that gets you to be a qualified paramedic is mandated by the Australian Government:

Paramedic: All paramedics have education to provide advanced life support (ALS). This includes pain relief administration, IV cannulation, physical assessments, and a range of other medical treatments in order to save lives. This is the qualification you need in order to be eligible for visas and permanent residency.

  • Diploma or bachelor’s degree in health science, paramedic science, emergency health or paramedicine
  • Postgraduate diploma options are available which allow you to specialise in an area of medicine of your choice.

The remainder of the degrees available are as below. These are not the qualifications required in order to apply for PR, but may be a pathway into the degree.

First responder: This is an unregulated, non-specific term, often used by privately owned first aid companies. Often, this person will begin basic treatment before a paramedic can attend the scene.

  • Certificate II in Emergency Medical Response Patient transport officer: This is another unregulated term. These people provide non-emergency transport for patients, for example, if they need transferring from one hospital to another. In some states, they may also act as first responders.
  • Certificate III in Non-Emergency Patient Transport

Ambulance transport officer/ attendant: For state run or privately owned companies, this role is the entry level for basic life saving and support. It gives a basic level of pre-hospital emergency care.

  • Queensland permits entry in these roles from level I
  • Victoria requires a Diploma of Paramedical Science (Ambulance)
  • Other states need a Certificate IV in Non-Emergency Patient Transport

Intensive care paramedic: Intensive care (IC) or Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedics need a post graduate education. These people can perform a higher level of medical services such as intubation, and drug infusions.

  • Post-graduate diploma in Intensive Care Paramedical Practice, Emergency Health (MICA Paramedic) or equivalent in addition to their base qualification Rescue/ special operation/ retrieval and flight paramedics: These paramedics are trained in rescue and special operations techniques. They are highly trained and specialised.
  • Diploma or bachelor’s degree in health science, paramedic science, emergency health or paramedicine
  • Postgraduate diploma

Paramedic practitioners: These highly educated community-based paramedics can order and interpret testing, prescribe medications, and refer to specialists. They need a similar level of education to a doctor.

  • Master degree level with the ability to complete further education to graduate with a Doctor of qualification(Consultant Paramedic Practitioner)

Universities offering paramedic courses in Australia

Australia offers some of the best levels of paramedic training in the world. To obtain your Bachelor of Paramedic Science/ Paramedicine, there are a range of options.

  • Flinders University
  • Victoria University
  • Edith Cowan University
  • Charles Sturt Universe

English requirements for paramedic courses

Every university has different English requirements for paramedic courses. However, a high standard of English is required, with an overall score of 6.0 on IELTS to be expected, at minimum.

Current Visa options for paramedics

Under ANZSCO code 411112, there are the following current visa options for qualified intensive care paramedics:

  • 407 Visa – This training visa is for two years only. It provides the ability to complete any workplace based training aimed to improve your paramedical skills. You’ll need a sponsor or nomination.
  • 482 Visa – This four year skill shortage visa is employer sponsored. You will need to gain relevant employment in the field to qualify.
  • 190 Visa – This permanent visa is for skilled individuals who are nominated and invited to apply by the government. This gives you a pathway to Australian citizenship.
  • 494 Visa – The skilled employer sponsored regional visa is for up to five years. After three years, you can use this visa as a springboard to apply for permanent residency. This visa is employer sponsored, and is only in selected states and territories that are in need of paramedics.
  • 491 Visa – This skilled work regional visa is valid for up to five years. The regional sponsor migration scheme visa is designed so that states or territories that have a shortage of paramedics can find qualified staff.

Assessing authority for paramedics

If you have an overseas paramedic qualification, you must submit to VETASSESS to have your existing qualifications assessed. If approved, this allows you to apply for the role of paramedic within Australia. This testing process ensures you are suitable for the role, comparing the skills and education gained overseas against the Australian Qualifications Framework.

You will be required to produce the following paperwork:

  • Application fee (between $880 and $968)
  • Passport photo
  • ID proof, as well as any name change information
  • Evidence of qualification
  • Evidence of employment, including a statement of service for each role. You need to prove that you have at least one year of highly relevant post-grad employment in the last five years, working more than 20 hours a week.
  • Any evidence of research, projects, or relevant study
  • Registration evidence for any governing bodies or licenses
  • Resume / CV

It’s advised that you apply online through the VETASSESS online portal. You simply submit all your paperwork, pay the fee, and submit the application. You can also track the application via this online portal. Not counting any shutdowns for public holidays, VETASSESS intends to complete the assessment within ten days.

Registering with AHPRA

In order to practice as a paramedic in Australia, you must register with AHPRA. Since 2018, paramedics must be registered and meet the minimum standards of skill as well as committing to continuing professional development. It is an offence to call yourself a paramedic unless you are registered.

In order to apply, create an account on AHPRA.

You will need the following in order to apply:

  • Proof of English requirements
  • Criminal history in your country of residence and Australia
  • Professional indemnity insurance arrangements
  • Proof of qualifications, which may include tertiary education transcripts or employment records
  • Pay the registration fee (at the time of writing, this is AU$190 for registering and an annual fee of $282).

Fill out the form, provide the evidence they require, pay the fee, and then wait for notification that you’ve been successfully registered. This may take up to several weeks.

Future job outlook for paramedics

As a paramedic, the future growth for this role is strong. Over the last five years, roles have grown from 12,400 to 19,700, although some of this can be attributed to the law change that required paramedics to be registered with APHRA. This growth is expected to continue, with predicted needs of over 22,000 paramedics required in 2024.

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