Ambulance paramedic

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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.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More information


You can get into this role through a paramedic degree apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

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

More information


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

Other routes

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.

More information


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.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a paramedic from the College of Paramedics and Health Careers.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • 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:

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

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

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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