Paramedics respond to emergency call-outs and give people life-saving medical help.
Salary range: £24,214 to £37,267
How to become a paramedic
You can get into this work through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- apply for a trainee scheme
You’ll need to do a paramedic science degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council.
Full-time courses usually take 3 years.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You can get into this role through a paramedic degree apprenticeship.
There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
You could start as an ambulance care assistant. With experience, you could apply for a place on a paramedic training scheme.
Volunteering and experience
Entry to paramedic courses is very competitive and it may help you if you have some relevant experience or training. Examples include:
- volunteering as a first responder with a charity or social enterprise, like St John Ambulance
- volunteering with an NHS ambulance service
- working at a residential care home or daycare centre
- a first aid certificate
- working in an office-based job for an ambulance service
You could apply for a training scheme as a student paramedic with an ambulance service. You would do your university paramedic qualification on the job.
- you’ll need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the College of Paramedics and get access to courses, conferences and workshops to keep your skills up to date, and to swap ideas with colleagues in the profession.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of healthcare and medicine
- sensitivity and understanding
- customer service skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- excellent verbal communication skills
- knowledge of public safety and security
- to be flexible and open to change
- the ability to work well with others
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
- pass a medical check
Many ambulance services will expect you to have a full driving licence by the time you finish your training and preferably a C1 driving licence that allows you to drive medium-sized vehicles.
What you’ll do
In this role you’ll:
- respond to emergency calls
- assess situations when you arrive and check details with others at the scene, like the police
- work calmly and quickly to stabilise patients
- use a defibrillator to revive patients
- give patients medicines and injections
- help to deliver babies
- attend non-emergency calls and decide whether patients need to go to hospital
- check equipment regularly and keep accurate records
- reassure family and members of the public who are on the scene
You could work on an ambulance, at a client’s home or in the community.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors some of the time.
You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.
Career path and progression
With around 3 years’ experience, you could become:
- a team leader
- a specialist paramedic
- an emergency care practitioner
You could also move into operations management, education and training or research, or train to work in other areas of healthcare, for example nursing.
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