Paramedics provide critical emergency healthcare and save lives daily – making them real-life superheroes. As Australia’s population grows, so too does the need for qualified paramedics across the country. The question is, is this dynamic career path in high demand?
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what’s involved in becoming a paramedic, how much these everyday heroes get paid, and whether the job itself is rewarding.
If this is a career path that you have been giving some serious consideration, read on and we’ll give you all the confirmation you need to make a final decision…
Are paramedics in high demand in Australia?
So, are paramedics in high demand throughout Australia? Here are a few key points to consider:
- Growing population drives demand: More people in need of emergency services.
- An ageing population requires more care: Increased medical needs for seniors.
- Staff shortages: There are currently not enough new paramedics to replace retirees.
- Expanding roles: Paramedics are increasingly taking on more community healthcare duties.
- Increased callouts: Paramedics are responding to more incidents on an annual basis.
- Remote area needs: There tends to be a lack of paramedics in rural and remote regions.
- High burnout rates: It’s not uncommon for paramedics to leave their jobs from mental exhaustion.
In short, yes, Australia faces a critical shortage of qualified paramedics nationwide. The good news is that job opportunities continue growing across metropolitan, regional, and rural areas – which means that if you are serious about pursuing this career path, you may just be in for a shot.
How do I become a paramedic in Australia?
Now that we have a better understanding of the high demand, how does one go about becoming a paramedic?
- Ideally, you should finish high school with a strong science aptitude (particularly in biology).
- Complete an undergraduate science-related degree (a Bachelor of Paramedicine or Bachelor of Paramedic Science is recommended).
- Obtain a driver’s license with no restrictions or discrepancies (you will be required to drive an ambulance).
- Meet the minimum physical fitness and health standards (this is a very physically demanding role).
- Pass the appropriate police / criminal checks and screenings.
- Finish intensive paramedic training at university or TAFE.
- Do hundreds of hours of practical placements.
- Register as a paramedic with the Paramedicine Board of Australia.
- Apply to state ambulance service.
- Pass as a graduate paramedic.
It’s very challenging but hugely rewarding! Additionally, you will require ongoing education to not only demonstrate your competency but expand your career over time.
How much do Australian paramedics get paid?
Now onto the important question: how much do Australian paramedics get paid?
- You can expect to earn an average yearly salary of between $70,000 – $90,000 (depending on experience and qualifications).
- Hourly pay rate of around $35 – $45.
- Overtime and shift penalties significantly increase total pay.
- Remote and isolated area allowances may be provided.
- Annual raises through pay grade progression.
- Superannuation contributions and healthcare benefits.
Paramedics can earn a solid middle-class wage in line with other emergency service workers. Your income will continue to rise the longer you serve.
Is it difficult to get a job as a paramedic in Australia?
Yes, it’s highly competitive – despite there being a high demand for paramedics in Australia at the moment.
Limited graduate positions mean not all candidates are hired immediately. Persistence is the key to getting your foot in the door and kick-starting your career as a paramedic. Here are some ways to improve your chances:
- Gain experience volunteering or with a first aid training company (CPR courses can be a huge advantage).
- Be willing and open to work rurally and regionally for a higher chance of success.
- Have a good academic record – particularly in the sciences.
- Perform strongly on placements.
- Consider doing further university clinical training to specialise.
There is much that you can do to increase your overall chances of securing yourself a position as a paramedic in Australia. However, as mentioned above, persistence is going to be your biggest asset in this regard. Don’t give up and provided you tick all the right boxes; you should eventually get your big break!
Is being a paramedic stressful? If so, how rewarding is the job itself?
While paramedics are certainly paid rather well, what about the stress levels? Is the job itself rewarding enough to justify the difficulties you will encounter?
- It can be highly stressful responding to emergencies, trauma, and accidents.
- This is fast-paced work and you will constantly be under pressure.
- You can expect a great deal of mental fatigue and burnout.
However, paramedics find the work incredibly rewarding:
- Making a life-or-death difference for patients is highly rewarding.
- Varied daily challenges and adventures will keep you on your toes.
- The camaraderie of a team environment makes it all worthwhile.
- Developing lifesaving skills and knowledge is very useful in your everyday life.
- The opportunity to progress into leadership roles is an attractive goal.
- A sense of purpose in helping vulnerable people during crises can be life-changing – especially if you have been feeling directionless or somewhat undervalued.
There’s no more satisfying profession than saving lives! Paramedics gain immense fulfilment from serving their communities.
Yes, this is an incredibly difficult job and there will be times when despite your best efforts, people may die on your watch. Fortunately, you will receive all of the care and support that you will need to endure these difficult times – and indeed all of the lives that you will save will help lighten the burden.
Becoming a paramedic requires endless dedication, but provides a career of great purpose and immense impact. If you have the drive and resilience to see it through, it may be the perfect path. Australia needs more paramedic heroes and if you feel like you are up to the task, this could be the best decision you ever make in your entire life.
We hope you’ve found this article inspiring and wish you the very best of luck with your future career.