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Ambulance and Paramedic


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

The Ambulance and Paramedic sector covers a wide range of roles across the community which deliver fundamental pre-hospital and out-of-hospital health care services. Demand for these services covers a range of industries.

Pre-hospital and out-of-hospital health care services involve emergency and non-emergency situations, playing a pivotal role in injury and illness prevention and health promotion. People in these roles are commonly the first to interact with a patient and provide primary care and/or support.

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.

Information sourced from the Ambulance and Paramedic IRC's 2017 Skills Forecast and Ambulance and Paramedic IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming)

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 grew overall between 2000 and 2018. In 2018 there were 16,400 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics, and this number is projected to grow to 21,300 in 2023.

Training trends

Training snapshot

In 2017, there were 4,695 program enrolments in Ambulance and Paramedic qualifications and 1,827 program completions. Both enrolments and completions increased from the 2016 numbers. A little under a half (about 45%) on enrolments in 2017 were at certificate II level, with the rest being above certificate III level. About 45% of enrolments were in First Response related qualifications and a further 31% in Health Care and Basic Health Care. The largest destination occupation by enrolment numbers for Ambulance and Paramedic qualifications is Ambulance Officer, followed by Emergency Service Worker.

Delivery of training for these qualifications in 2017 was mainly split across private providers (39%), enterprise providers (27%) and community education providers (22%). About 83% of funding for subjects is domestic fee for service.

Thirty one percent of students are located in New South Wales, just under 20% in Queensland and 17% are located in Victoria.

There were no apprentice and trainee commencements or completions in Ambulance and Paramedic qualifications in 2017, following a downward trend of commencements from 2013 and completions from 2014. 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

Industry insights on skills needs

The Ambulance and Paramedic IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast identifies a range of factors which impact upon the Ambulance and Paramedic workforce and training needs:

  • National registration of Paramedics as part of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law will have an impact on VET qualifications aimed at people who want to work in paramedic and ambulance roles.
  • An adequate supply of skilled staff in rural and remote communities and environments.
  • There may be an increase in demand for privately operated services due to the inclusion of Paramedics in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. This in turn increases the demand for training products related to these roles.
  • Technological advancement has led to the digitalisation of functions which requires workers to adapt their skills to these changes.
  • There are workforce issues impacting on skill requirements including:
    • Occupational violence in the Ambulance and Paramedic workforce has implications for training package products in terms of ensuring that they include skills for assessing potential violent incidents and strategies to address them.
    • The increasing prevalence of mental health issues means that Ambulance Officers and Paramedics must have basic skills and knowledge in this area and the mechanisms to deal with these in their work.
  • 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 top skill and knowledge areas for ambulance and Paramedic roles mentioned in the Skills Forecast and sourced from Job Outlook include:

The top skill areas are:

  • critical thinking
  • active listening
  • coordination
  • speaking
  • service orientation.

The top knowledge areas are:

  • customer and personal service
  • medicine and dentistry
  • public safety and security
  • English language
  • education and training.

Th job advertisement data lists the following skills demanded by employers:

  • problem solving
  • written communication
  • planning
  • computer literacy
  • communication skills.

A report by the Audit Office of New South Wales, Managing demand for ambulance services finds that demand for ambulance services is increasing with most 000 calls to NSW Ambulance not requiring an emergency response. The role of NSW Ambulance has changed in recent years to a service that identifies the needs of patients and provides or refers them to the most appropriate type of care. This means that the clinical decision-making role of Paramedics has expanded. The report recommends that staff performance and development activities should be strengthened to develop decision making and communication skills. This may include mentoring programs for Paramedics.

Relevant research

Managing demand for ambulance services, NSW Audit office

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

Ambulance Employees Association (South Australia)

Australian Paramedics Association

Health and Community Services Union

Health Services Union (Tasmania and New South Wales)

National Council of Ambulance Unions

Transport Workers Union (Australian Capital Territory)

United Voice (Victoria, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia)

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, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal:

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 4111 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1st November 2018

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupations, 2000 to 2018, 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
  • Ambulance Communications
    • HLT31015 - Certificate III in Ambulance Communications (Call-taking)
    • HLT31912 - Certificate III in Ambulance Communications (Call-taking)
    • HLT41015 - Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications (Dispatch)
    • HLT41107 - Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications
    • HLT41112 - Certificate IV in Ambulance Communications
  • First Response
    • 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
  • Health Care and Basic Health Care
    • HLT31215 - Certificate III in Basic Health Care
    • 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)
    • HLT41115 - Certificate IV in Health Care
  • Non-Emergency Transport
    • HLT30207 - Certificate III in Non-Emergency Client Transport
    • HLT30212 - Certificate III in Non-Emergency Client Transport
    • HLT31115 - Certificate III in Non-Emergency Patient Transport
  • Paramedical Science
    • 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, 2017 program enrolments

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 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 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Ambulance and Paramedic IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018,

Data shown represent most requested generic skills and occupations according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

ANZSCO occupations have been used as industry filters because they provide more relevant job vacancy data for this sector.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • 4111 Ambulance Officers and Paramedics.
Updated: 12 Sep 2019
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