Paramedic Job Description

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Paramedics alongside our police officers, fire fighters and other emergency service workers are the unsung heroes of our society, literally saving lives on a daily basis, doing their utmost to assist us in times of need and ultimately keeping our communities safe from harm. It goes without saying paramedic jobs are very challenging and at times distressing – few jobs will have you dealing with injured or unwell individuals hour after hour. But for this reason it can also be a hugely rewarding career path that’s full of challenge, variety and one that also attracts a great deal of well-deserved community admiration. For individuals seeking a steady full-time job that’s in high demand, you’ll also be pleased to know the employment prospects for paramedics across Australia are strong, with an expected 10,000-25,000 new roles to be created over the 5 years to 2020, according to the federal government’s JobOutlook portal.

Paramedic Key Duties & Responsibilities:

Whilst the role of paramedics (also known as ambulance officers) can be summed up as saving lives and transporting injured patients to hospital for comprehensive medical attention, there’s a lot more to paramedic jobs than their most obvious and important contribution to society. Some of the most common duties and responsibilities they perform include:

COMMON DUTIES

  • Attending emergency call outs such as accidents, assaults, injuries and serious medical episodes in an emergency ambulance
  • Assessing the condition of patients on-the-spot to determine the level of assistance they require and gauge other factors, which may affect their safe transport to hospital
  • Administering pain killing drugs and other medication to ease patient’s discomfort and stabilise their condition, before they reach hospital
  • Resuscitating patients and performing other life-support procedures on critically ill patients
  • Transporting patients as fast and safely as possible to hospitals and medical facilities for comprehensive treatment 
  • Instructing members of the community in emergency situations 
  • Attending large public gatherings such as festivals and sporting events where accidents and injuries might occur
  • Providing basic first aid training to community groups and other members of the public
  • Maintaining their ambulances, by keeping medical supplies stocked up and ensuring lifesaving equipment is in good working condition
  • Preparing written reports documenting their patient’s injuries and the treatment given for the benefit of doctors, nurses and other medical staff

PERSONAL SKILLS & ATTRIBUTES

  • Ability to stay calm under pressure in stressful situations
  • Ability to work well in a team
  • Defensive driving skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent listening skills
  • Physically fit and healthy
  • Strong decision-making and judgement skills

Paramedic Salary and Benefits:

According to leading HR website Payscale, the median salary for paramedic jobs in Australia currently stands at $59,000 per annum, with the salary range extending from a minimum of $45,718 for graduate paramedics, up to $92,800 for experienced paramedics with a few years’ experience already under their belt. It must be noted the salary for paramedics and ambulance officers is dependent on location, with each Australian state and territory government operating their own ambulance service and each of these 8 jurisdiction having their own pay rates and promotional structure. In Victoria for example, a 2016 pay deal between the Ambulance Employees Association and state government has seen their base salary rise from $51,000 per year to $58,000 per year.

Education & Training: How to Become a Paramedic

Whilst each Australian state and territory have their own unique ambulance services of varying scale, entry requirements across the country follow a standard pathway – with most paramedic jobs requiring a 3-4 year Associate Degree or Advanced Diploma. Examples of degrees accredited by CAA (The Council of Ambulance Authorities) include:

Once you’ve completed the prerequisite tertiary qualification, the next step is to officially apply for a position with your relevant state ambulance service – which generally begins with an official assessment including a federal police check. Once you’ve successfully passed official assessment, the next step is to undergo a year one program of ‘on-the-road’ training under the supervision of an experienced paramedic, before obtaining your full qualifications!