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Paramedic

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Job Description

Paramedics deal with emergencies, giving people life-saving medical help. They are normally the first healthcare professional to arrive at the scene of an emergency, they will assess the patients condition and make potentially life-saving decisions about whether the patient can be treated at the scene or if they need to be transferred to hospital. They will use high-tech equipment such as a defibrillator (which restore the heart's rhythm), spinal and traction splints and intravenous drips, as well as administering oxygen and drugs. 

Entry Requirements

There are different routes to studying and qualifying as a paramedic. 

University

You could take a paramedic science degree approved by the Health and Care Professions Council and then apply to an ambulance service as a qualified paramedic.  

Full time courses usually take 3 years.

For your degree course, you will usually need 

  • 5 GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths and science
  • and 2 or 3 A Levels or equivalent

University course search

Apprenticeship

You could get into this role through a paramedic degree apprenticeship, you would need to apply for an apprentice position with a health care provider.  You can search for student paramedic vacancies on the NHS job website and the Find an Apprenticeship website  

Entry requirements may vary but you will usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English, maths and science
  • and an A Level qualification
Student paramedic route

You could become a student with an ambulance service and study while you work. Ambulance services set their own entry requirements but they usually ask for:

  • at least 5 GCSEs grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) or equivalent including English, maths and science

The entry to student paramedic schemes are very competitive so bear in mind that many applicants may have higher qualifications.

Employers also look for 

  • a good level of physical fitness
  • two years' driving experience

Career Tips

Whether you are applying for a full-time course, student paramedic position or degree apprenticeship, you are likely to need to have some relevant experience, either voluntary or paid. For example, working as an emergency care assistant or volunteering with St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross.

Further Information

When applying to an ambulance service trust,  the trust will expect you to have a full manual driving licence when you apply. If you passed your test after 1996, you may need an extra driving qualification to drive larger vehicles and carry passengers. Ambulance service trusts use vehicles of different sizes, so check carefully which classifications you need on your licence.

Once you’ve successfully completed a programme approved by the Health and Care Professions Council, you are then eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC. Once registered as a practitioner, you’ll be required to retain your name on the register by keeping your knowledge and skills up to date and paying an annual retention fee.

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.

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

Career Path and Progression 

With experience you could become a team leader, supervising the work of paramedics and emergency care assistants.  With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for several teams.  Teaching or research are other options.

You could choose to join a specialist team such as caring for stoke patients or working on the air ambulance.

You could take extra training and qualifications for one of the roles for experienced paramedic, taking on more responsibility for treatment and decision-making in emergencies.

Required Skills

  • customer service skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work well with others
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Salary Range

£24,214 to £37,267

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