Gain skills to provide emergency medical care in a range of situations. [For students with existing National Certificate, National Diploma in Ambulance Practice (Level 5), ILS or BLS]

Programme Overview

This Flexible Learning Stream (FLS) of the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) is designed for students with an existing National Certificate or National Diploma in Ambulance Practice (Level 5) or with a practising level of EMT or paramedic. A letter of support from the student's employing authority is essential. If you are not currently working or volunteering for an ambulance service, please refer to the main stream of the degree.

The Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. It is run in conjunction with Wellington Free Ambulance and approved by the Council of Ambulance Authorities and Paramedics Australasia for entry to paramedic practice in New Zealand and Australia. The degree is fully accredited and you can access student loans and allowances. The Flexible Learning stream allows working and volunteering paramedics to choose their own pace of study and up to six years may be taken to complete the degree. 

Programme Outline

The Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) is designed to prepare students for practice as contemporary ambulance paramedics. For those already partly qualified as Ambulance Officers, the programme offers greater depth of learning including research, which have not been in previous qualifications.

Year O​ne

​Year One introduces new students to human anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and paramedic practice. Utilising context based learning, students explore the structure and function of the ambulance industry, the roles and responsibilities of the paramedic, legal and ethical issues, including the implications of te Tiriti o Waitangi on paramedic practice, and the assessment and treatment of medical and trauma patients to a beginning practitioner level.

Time spent on campus is divided between classroom theory and practical sessions in our clinical labs, where hands-on skills are practiced and developed before implementation on clinical placements.

Students attend a variety of clinical placements, including emergency ambulance, non-emergency ambulance, ambulance communications centre and rest homes. During these placements, students are able to apply and develop the knowledge and skills from the classroom whilst under direct supervision.

Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) Year One Course Outlines

Year Two

This year consolidates and builds on Year One with more in-depth exploration of anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, and more invasive paramedic practice. The student transitions from task focused technical skills to critical thinking in relation to patient care, and continue to develop skills in academic scholarship and research, and mentoring and supervision.

Students spend time in the classroom, in the clinical labs, and attend clinical placements including emergency ambulance, hospital emergency department, hospital operating theatre, delivery suite, mental health, and front-line police.

Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) Year Two Course Outlines

Year Three

​The structure of Year Three is significantly different to the previous years. All papers in this year are delivered online, with some block weeks spent on campus. Whilst the papers are a mix of clinical and non-clinical papers, there is a greater focus on clinical reasoning, teamwork and leadership, along with in depth exploration of legal, ethical and sociological issues, and further development of research in relation to paramedic practice. The amount of time spent on clinical placements is increased in Year Three, and is almost exclusively based in an emergency ambulance environment.

Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) Year Three Course Outlines

Graduates of the Bachelor of Health Science (Paramedic) can apply for postgraduate study at Whitireia and elsewhere.


Entry Requirements

Whitireia degree academic entry requirements, or equivalent academic/work experience; New Zealand Driver License, evidence of suitability based on safety check, medical report, referee reports, interview

International students

Proven equivalence of entry requirements plus IELTS 6.5 (no band lower than 6.0)

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