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Becoming a paramedic?

By nanzan - 12 October 2010 5

I have been contemplating becoming a paramedic for some time now.

I would be keen to hear from current, student, former, or other aspiring paramedics out there, about being a paramedic in the ACT, or elsewhere.

I am particularly interested in people’s views about the pathways into the paramedic profession. Is it better, for example, to complete a degree in paramedical studies at a uni such as CSU, Monash, VU, ACU etc…or, for the ACT Ambulance Service, at least, is that not necessary, or even desirable?

Is it advisable to work with a private ambulance provider, or a voluntary ambulance or first aid provider, such as St John Ambulance, first?

Lastly, what is the churn rate like in the ambulance profession? (The NSW Ambulance Service has has some very bad publicity recently with ambulance officers complaining of bullying etc., and there have been some high profile cases in both NSW and Victoria of paramedics engaging in some very tragic activities.)

There are some big recruitments coming up, I believe, for paramedics in Victoria, and possibly elsewhere…although my preference would be to work in the ACT….

What’s Your opinion?


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5 Responses to
Becoming a paramedic?
nanzan 12:59 pm 15 Oct 10

Thank you for the above – very helpful indeed.

If the ACT AS stops recruiting from the general public, I wonder how long it will be before a tertiary course for paramedics is established in the ACT (perhaps at UC or ACU or even CIT) – otherwise they will be relying on interstate paramedics or graduates.

The Nexus 8:38 am 13 Oct 10

the ACT ambulance applications closed 3 months ago. The first short listing was supposed to happen in September, but due to the insane amount of applications for very few spaces….(200 plus apps, to 8…yes, 8 positions) they have put everything off till December. I have heard that they will do another recruitment at some stage in the future….if they cant fill the positions by enticing out of state , qualified ambos…which to date they have struggled with,despite the pay increse mentioned above, due to Canberra being….well, Canberra. I have previously applied in QLD, and failed the maths test, but they are often recruiting, and will take people without degrees. CSU also do a double degree in ambo/nursing….the other thing i have thought about is doing a nursing degree, then a year long bridging course, that will get you ambo status.

fortyseven 4:16 pm 12 Oct 10

ACT is different from other Australian states as they don’t (at this stage ) tier their service. Once qualified every paramedic in the ACT is an Intensive Care Paramedic, who get paid more and are qualified to do more procedures. In NSW they have patient transport officers, general duty cars, regular paramedics and then intensive care paramedics at the top. I’m not sure how ICPs in NSW get paid compared to ICP in the ACT but as someone already mentioned, ICPs in ACT recently got a large pay bump. Getting your foot in the door in the ACT is very competitive as a result. There is a student intake (no previous qualifications required) ongoing at the moment but word is this might be the last and all future intakes will require a qualification, but keep an eye out if there ever is another, if you get accepted you hagve 3 years on the job training before becoming a qualified ICP. NSW is still accepting people without a degree currently so you could always send off an application to there and see how you do, maybe get qualified there and attempt to move back to Canberra.
To get into the CSU course via distance education you will unfortunately already need to be working in a medical field (paramedic, nurse etc.) but I think if you get a job with some of the private ambulance providers you can get in as well, not 100% sure about St. John. So if this isn’t an option you will have to study on a campus outside of the ACT as our universities don’t have it available.
Hope this helps.

Woody Mann-Caruso 11:45 am 12 Oct 10

Enjoy the PTSD and suicidal depression.

Spoono 11:17 am 12 Oct 10

I’m not involved in it but i have an ambo mate who works in Vic. He went to CSU and did the Pre-hospital degree and has since done a lot of further studies while on the job and is now some kind of super paramedic. I could be wrong but I think he mentioned all ambos in the ACT are required to be extra Paramedic qualifed as opposed to other states.

I heard ACT pay more than the other states after their professional skills were recognised recently which jumped the pay round 21% hence stacks of people applied for jobs in the ACT making for a lot of competition. Maybe the other states are going to recognise these skills and follow with the pay increase.

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