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Ambulance and Paramedic

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Ambulance and Paramedic industry and workforce.

The Ambulance and Paramedic workforce is primarily made up of front-line staff, including Paramedics, Patient Transport Officers and specialists in intensive care, special operations, disaster response and retrieval. A portion of those employed in the sector operate as support staff who assist in the delivery of services. Further, volunteers play a crucial role in the provision of services at the community level and operate in roles such as Volunteer Ambulance Officers and Community First Responders.

The Ambulance and Paramedic Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has responsibility for seven qualifications within the HLT Health Training Package, aligned to the following job roles:

  • Ambulance Call Takers/Emergency Medical Dispatchers
  • Ambulance Paramedics and Ambulance Attendants
  • Ambulance Transport Officers
  • Ambulance volunteers.

Information sourced from the Ambulance and Paramedic IRC Industry Skills Forecast.

For information on other health-related training and employment, visit the Health industry page and the various sectors.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level for Ambulance Officers and Paramedics has grown between 2000 and 2017. In 2017 there were 17,600 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics, and this number is projected to grow to 21,400 in 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2016, there were 3,813 program enrolments in Ambulance and Paramedic qualifications and 1,447 program completions. Just over 43% of program enrolments are in Health Care and Basic Health Care qualifications. Around 35% of program enrolments are in First Response qualifications.

Over 86% of training is domestic fee for service.

Nearly 27% of students are located in New South Wales, just over 20% in Queensland and nearly 20% are located in Victoria.

There were insufficient enrolments in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Infographic title: Priority skills: 2017 skills forecast,, Infographic data,, "Title: Top priority skills,,Top priority skills, Interpersonal skills and communication, Language, literacy and numeracy, Technology, Leadership, Critical thinking and clinical skills " "Title: Top generic skills,, Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence, Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and Self-management, Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems, Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN), Technology " Infographic title: Skills in demand: job vacancies,, Title: Top generic skills in demand,,Top generic skills in demand,Communication Skills, Problem Solving, Organisational Skills, Writing, Planning Infographic source, Priority skills source: Ambulance and Paramedic IRC Skills Forecast and Schedule of Work 2016-17, Job vacancy occupations in demand source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight Real Time Labor Market Information tool

Industry insights on skills needs

The Ambulance and Paramedic IRC Industry Skills Forecast 2017 identifies a range of factors which impact upon the Ambulance and Paramedic workforce and training needs:

  • Population growth and an ageing population means there is greater demand on Ambulance and Paramedic services
  • Increasing incidences of some lifestyle disorders and diseases which can place greater demand on Ambulance and Paramedic services
  • Growing privatisation and increasing competition between private providers
  • Digital change and technological advancement is reshaping the workforce and redefining jobs
  • The introduction of the national Paramedicine Board of Australia and changes to registration and regulation requirements will impact upon education and training by:
    • establishing minimum qualifications and requirements for registration
    • facilitating the provision of high quality education and training in paramedicine through the accreditation of training programs for registration purposes
  • Occupational violence is a significant risk for the Ambulance and Paramedic workforce and adequate training is critical to ensure the workforce is equipped with the required skills and knowledge to effectively manage situations that pose risks
  • Changes to ambulance service models means that workers need to find new ways of adapting and broadening their clinical skills, operational practices, technology and equipment in order to continue contributing to the broader health system
  • The increasing prevalence of mental health issues means that Ambulance Officers and Paramedics must have basic skills and knowledge in this area and that this should be reflected in nationally recognised Ambulance and Paramedic qualifications
  • Education and training plays a role in the development, and awareness, of workplace health and wellbeing and assisting the workforce to build resilience to deal with exposure to traumatic situations.

The Skills Forecast identifies the following priority skills for the workforce:

  • interpersonal skills and communication
  • language, literacy and numeracy
  • technology
  • leadership
  • critical thinking and clinical skills.

This aligns closely with the top skills demanded by employers in job vacancy data:

  • communication skills
  • problem solving
  • organisational skills
  • writing
  • planning.

Relevant research

Ambulance and Paramedic IRC Industry Skills Forecast

The challenges of paramedic education in the new millennium: Chasing the evolution of paramedic practice 

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Government departments and agencies

Department of Defence

Department of Health

State and Territory Departments of Health

 

Peak and industry associations

Australian and New Zealand College of Paramedicine

Paramedics Australasia

The Council of Ambulance Authorities

 

Employee associations

Health Services Union

National Council of Ambulance Unions

United Voice

 

State and territories service providers

Ambulance Service of New South Wales

Ambulance Tasmania

Ambulance Victoria

Australian Capital Territory Ambulance Service

Queensland Ambulance Service

SA Ambulance Service

St. John Ambulance Northern Territory

St. John Ambulance Western Australia

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations , employment projections to May 2022
    • 4111 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), sex, state and territory, August 1986 onwards 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 September 2017 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupations, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
    • 4111 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics.                                                                                                                                                               

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • HLT Health Training Package
    • HLT21015 - Certificate II in Medical Service First Response
    • HLT21107 - Certificate II in Emergency Medical Service First Response
    • HLT21112 - Certificate II in Emergency Medical Service First Response
    • HLT30207 - Certificate III in Non-Emergency Client Transport
    • HLT30212 - Certificate III in Non-Emergency Client Transport
    • HLT31015 - Certificate III in Ambulance Communications (Call-taking)
    • HLT31115 - Certificate III in Non-Emergency Patient Transport
    • HLT31215 - Certificate III in Basic Health Care
    • HLT31912 - Certificate III in Ambulance Communications (Call-taking)
    • HLT33107 - Certificate III in Basic Health Care
    • HLT33112 - Certificate III in Basic Health Care
    • HLT41007 - Certificate IV in Health Care (Ambulance)
    • HLT41012 - Certificate IV in Health Care (Ambulance)
    • HLT41015 - Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications (Dispatch)
    • HLT41107 - Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications
    • HLT41112 - Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications
    • HLT41115 - Certificate IV in Health Care
    • HLT50407 - Diploma of Paramedical Science (Ambulance)
    • HLT50412 - Diploma of Paramedical Science (Ambulance)
    • HLT51015 - Diploma of Paramedical Science
    • HLT60307 - Advanced Diploma of Paramedical Science (Ambulance).

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place.  This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

HLT Health Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Ambulance and Paramedic Industry Reference Committee’s 2017 Industry Skills Forecast.

Burning Glass Technologies: Labor insight – real-time labor market information tool. <http://www.burning-glass.com>. 2017.

  • Job advertisements from all of Australia from January 2014 to August 2017 are included in the analysis.
  • Skills data has also been extracted from the Burning Glass labour insights job vacancy data tool. Data shown is the proportion of job advertisements which request generic skills for 4111 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics.
Updated: 05 Oct 2018
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