Western Australia's ambulance services are primarily supplied by St John Ambulance Australia. There are 24 ambulance centres in the Perth metropolitan region, with a further 160 in country locations. However, the only country locations with fully qualified paramedics are Albany, Broome, Bunbury, Busselton, Collie, Geraldton, Headland, Kalgoorlie, Mandurah, Northam, Norseman and Pinjarra. The majority of paramedics are posted to metropolitan stations, though most are also posted to a country location for up to a year after first qualifying. Paramedics work in shifts, with the usual roster consisting of two 10-hour days, two 14-hour nights and four days off, however, this can vary depending on the needs of a particular station.
On average, qualified paramedics, classified under ambulance officers and paramedics, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 000 per year), depending on their level of training, and years of service.
Student ambulance officers can expect to earn between $928 and $1 447.32 per week ($48 427and $75 502per year) after their first year of study and upon starting their employment with St John Ambulance Services.
Paramedics use standard first aid equipment, such as bandages, gauze padding, rubber gloves and antiseptics. They also use more advanced equipment such as stretchers and a range of drugs, including high strength painkillers. Ambulances are also equipped with resuscitation equipment, defibrillators (which use an electrical shock to correct an irregular heart rhythm) and a range of other equipment and supplies to treat any injury or illness that they may have to deal with. Paramedics must also wear a uniform.
To become a paramedic with St John Ambulance WA, you must pass the St John Ambulance recruitment process and complete the four year Bachelor of Science - Health Sciences (Paramedicine), offered by Curtin University of Technology.
To be eligible to apply as a Student Ambulance Officer with St John, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. You must also have at least three years of life experience since finishing year 12.
To work as an ambulance officer in the private sector in Western Australia or out of the State, you need to complete a degree in Paramedical Science. Edith Cowan University offers a three year Bachelor of Science (Paramedical Science).
Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.