Become a Paramedic

Finishing high school? Train for a job that makes a difference!

A paramedic is a highly trained pre-hospital health professional who is skilled at delivering emergency care and advanced life support.

Paramedics work in a number of settings, from front line emergency ambulances and rapid response units to helicopters and urban search and rescue teams. Every hour of every day is different as a paramedic. You attend a variety of call-outs, meet a diverse range of people and are confronted with some interesting challenges!

If you are dynamic, can think on your feet and have the drive to complete tertiary study, paramedicine may be the career for you.

Meet Ari Peach, AUT University Paramedic Graduate

Career opportunities

  • Intensive Care Paramedic (ICP)
  • Urgent Community Care (UCC) Paramedic
  • Areas where pre-hospital care is required, including oil rigs, ski fields, industrial sites and zones of conflict
  • International relief work
  • Safety and emergency management roles
  • Clinical education and mentoring of paramedic students
  • Clinical advisor to the Emergency Ambulance Communication Centres (EACC)
  • Management opportunities within the ambulance service and wider health sector


Attributes of a paramedic

  • An empathetic personality that is able to cope with the challenges of managing grief, trauma and serious illness
  • A team player with effective communication skills
  • An adequate level of health and physical fitness
  • Realistic about the challenges of paramedicine – the shifts are long, you sometimes may miss a scheduled meal break and not every job is an emergency (like on TV)!
  • The drive and ability to complete degree level study

How to become a paramedic

While paramedics were formerly trained on-the-job, it is now expected that new paramedics hold an undergraduate degree from a tertiary institution. There are currently two paramedic degree providers in New Zealand, AUT University and Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

AUT University

Based on the North Shore in Auckland, AUT University offers a 3-year Bachelor of Health Science (paramedicine) degree, training students to the level of Intensive Care Paramedic (ALS).

Once employed, students will typically practice as an Emergency Medical Technician and after a period of mentoring will be eligible to seek authority to practice (ATP) at ILS paramedic or Intensive Care Paramedic level.

Click here to find out more about AUT’s Bachelor of Health Science.

Whitireia New Zealand

Based in Wellington, Whitireia New Zealand runs a 3-year Bachelor of Health Science (paramedic) degree, training students to the level of ILS paramedic. Once employed, students will typically practice as an Emergency Medical Technician and will be eligible to seek authority to practice (ATP) as an ILS paramedic after sufficient experience and mentoring.

Whitireia New Zealand also offers a Post Graduate Certificate in Specialty Care – Advanced Paramedic Practice. This qualification is designed to provide practicing ILS paramedics with the knowledge and skills to become Intensive Care Paramedics (ALS).

Click here to find out more about Whitireia’s Bachelor of Health Science.

Already working as a paramedic?

Completing tertiary study offers greater depth of understanding including research, which was not present in previous ambulance training.

Completing a degree or post-graduate qualification may also enable you to seek a higher authority to practice (ATP) level, allowing you to deliver enhanced care to your patients.

Degree programs from both AUT University and Whitireia Community Polytechnic can be completed part time and via distance which is particularly relevant for working paramedics. Courses are delivered through a mix of online work, assignments and block courses on campus. Please visit the website of each institution for more information.

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