What is involved in paramedic training?
Paramedic training is different in each state/country. In most states in Australia paramedic training is done through two main streams. I’m not certain overseas, in the US/Canada, South America, Europe, Africa, Asian and other areas… but in Australia, each state has its own Ambulance Service, and if you want to join, each state has different paramedic training requirements.
There are two main streams in which you can become a paramedic. On the job traineeships and tertiery education with a graduate program afterwards.
To become a Student Ambulance Paramedic… or trainee Ambulance Paramedic…
You need to be keen, have a full (non-restricted) drivers licence (in some states you must have a Medium Rigid /truck licence) you can apply for a position as a Trainee Ambulance Paramedic or Student Ambulance Paramedic and actually be trained on the job over about a 3 year period with regular distance education and internal education packages. The competition is tough and some years the application process can take up to 12 months, while natural attrition and selection processes attempts to extract the best people for the job. Some years, positions may have as many as 8,000+ applicants for a position of 40-50 Student Ambulance Paramedics.
Depending on which state you apply for, testing will include: basic skills testing (writing, maths, vocabulary), adaptive learning skills (IQ tests), basic mechanical reasoning skills (can you take apart the oxygen -viva and put it back together again after being shown once), map reading, dictating tests (where someone tells you several things, and you must write everything down and repeat it). If you pass all this, you will most likely have a personality test of some description, where basically they will “get an idea” (sometime quite incorrectly) whether or not you have to right personality for the job. Then you will have a fitness/medical test – you can wear glasses, but need to be able to see well enough to drive, depeding on which state, you must not be colour blind. Then, if you survive all that, you will have an interview… and hopefully get a position… well done!
The second method, is to do a bachelor degree in Paramedics (such as Bachelor of Pre-hospital Care, Bachelor of Health Science/ Paramedic, Bachelor of Paramedical Science, or Bachelor of Clinical Practice /Paramedic). Universities in Australia that currently teach tertiery studies in paramedics include: Charles Sturt University (NSW), Hobart University (TAS), Flinders University (SA), Monash University and Victorian University (VIC), Brisbane University (QLD) and I believe there are more currently opening in their teachings of Pre-hospital Ambulance Care or Paramedic care. This acknowledges the current trend and changes in improving the skill and knowledge base of clinical practitioners (paramedics) from all around Australia.
Once you have gained your three year bachelor degree in some form of Paramedic studies (or in some states first 2/3 of a 3 year degree) you may then apply for a graduate position in an Ambulance Service. Most Ambulance Services in Australia now have graduate positions, which range from 10 months through to 2 years of an on-road “internship” which culminates in eventual certificate to practice as a Qualified Ambulance Paramedic. This is recognised on an indvidual state basis, and although generally interchangeable amongst different states, each service normally requires a RPL program (Recognition of Prior Learning) to be completed before achieving a Certificate to Practice.