Getting started

If you’re interested in becoming an ambulance officer in New Zealand there is more than one way to get started.


Volunteer Ambulance Officers

Most people start out as volunteers working alongside ambulance officers in the field. As a volunteer, you’ll go through the same training as ambulance officers.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer you will need to have a good driving record and be able to pass a police check.

Volunteer ambulance officers are also required to commit to a number of shifts in a given time frame.


Ambulance Officers

Many people who become full-time ambulance officers already have the skills and experience required to take on the role, usually these have been gained by working in another ambulance service or by volunteering.

When you’re applying to be a full-time ambulance officer, the criteria you’ll need to meet includes:

  • Holding a full class ‘1’ New Zealand drivers licence and having a good driving record
  • Completing a reference check and Police clearance
  • Completing a pre-employment medical examination and fitness check
  • Being a New Zealand citizen or have permanent resident status

The best way to kick off a career as an ambulance officer in New Zealand is to contact one of the following organisations.

  • St John - You can call 0800 ST JOHN (0800 785 646), visit your local office where they’ll take you through the recruitment process or visit, and fill in the expression of interest form.
  • Wellington Free Ambulance (WFA)- For more information on becoming a volunteer with Wellington Free Ambulance you can call 04 499 9909 or visit

Qualifications and Industry Standards

Volunteer and full-time ambulance officers can achieve First Responder (Level 3) and Ambulance Practice (Level 5) qualifications while working with St John or Wellington Free Ambulance.

Paramedic degree level qualifications are also available through a number of training providers.

Ambulance New Zealand works with the sector to ensure New Zealand has safe, reliable and efficient ambulance services. They help to ensure that industry standards are developed and maintained. 

In New Zealand health professions can be regulated under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act 2003 if the government thinks a particular profession has the potential to pose a risk of harm to the health and safety of the New Zealand public.  It’s possible ambulance officers and New Zealand Defence Force medics could fit into this category.

For further information about Ambulance New Zealand, industry standards, or registration visit