Emergency care assistant

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Emergency care assistants drive ambulances under emergency conditions and support paramedics.

Salary range: £18,813 to £23,761

How to become an emergency care assistant

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an advanced apprenticeship as an ambulance support worker.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Volunteering and experience

You may have an advantage if you’ve worked or volunteered in a health or social care role. You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

First aid work would also be useful, for example with St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross.

Direct application

You can apply directly for jobs. You’ll usually need:

  • 3 or 4 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and a science subject
  • excellent driving skills and current knowledge of the highway code

Some ambulance services may also want you to have experience of working in a patient care setting, ideally in the NHS and with a current first aid certificate.

If you passed your driving test after 1996, you may need an extra driving qualification for larger vehicles and for carrying passengers.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an emergency care assistant from:

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • using advanced driving skills to respond to medical emergencies
  • carrying out basic scene safety checks by assessing the risk to yourself and others
  • contacting the emergency control centre to request extra support
  • transferring patients to and from ambulances, using special equipment and manual handling skills
  • helping ambulance paramedics deal with urgent hospital admissions
  • supporting the delivery of first aid and minor emergency treatments
  • monitoring and treating patients until they are transferred to hospital
  • completing handover reports and recording all patient information
  • making sure your vehicle is roadworthy, properly kitted out and cleaned after every call

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital or on an ambulance.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could apply for a trainee technician job or a student paramedic post. You could then take an approved paramedic science degree, leading to registration as a paramedic. 

You could also become a team leader or supervisor with responsibility for a team of ECAs, or move into a human resources or training role.

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