If you have an interest in caring for people as well as a calm and reassuring manner, the role of paramedic could be for you
As a paramedic, you'll provide immediate response to emergency medical 999 and 111 calls. You'll usually be the first senior healthcare professional on the scene and the level of care you provide can range from dealing with life threatening conditions to minor illnesses and injuries.
You will need to assess a patient's condition and provide essential treatment which could include:
Emergencies can cover injuries, sudden illness, and casualties arising from road and rail accidents, criminal violence, fires and other incidents.
You'll typically work in a two-person ambulance crew alongside an ambulance technician or emergency care assistant. It's also possible to work alone, using an emergency response car, motorbike or bicycle to get to a patient.
You may become an air ambulance crew member with extra training.
Your work will vary greatly depending on the patient and their condition, but in general you'll need to:
Employee benefits may include an NHS pension scheme, study leave for sponsored courses, relocation packages and access to counselling services and physiotherapy treatment.
Income data from Health Careers. Figures are intended as a guide only.
The emergency ambulance service operates every hour of the day and so you'll therefore need to work shifts to cover this. You'll typically do 37.5 hours per week and this can be made up of evenings and nights, weekends and public holidays.
You may be required for additional stand-by and on-call duties, especially in remote areas.
Flexible working opportunities such as part-time work or job sharing may be available.
To work as a paramedic, you must be registered with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and to do this you'll need to have completed an approved paramedic science qualification. There are two ways to do this:
Full details of all HCPC approved paramedic science qualifications are available at HCPC Register of Approved Programmes.
Student paramedic schemes are very competitive and each NHS ambulance service trust may have its own individual entry requirements for posts. Either check for details in the job advertisement or contact the trust directly for further details.
You will need:
It is also a requirement of most NHS ambulance trusts for you to be able to drive an ambulance under emergency conditions. While you'll be giving specific training for this, you'll typically need to have category C1 on your driving licence.
You'll usually be expected to have some related care experience which may include:
Find out more by visiting an ambulance station and check the Guide to Ambulance Service Information to keep up to date with current issues.
It's also useful to become a student member of the College of Paramedics. This will show your interest in, and commitment to, the profession and provide access to useful resources.
Most paramedics work for the NHS and are recruited and employed in individual NHS trust ambulance services covering specific geographical areas.
Ambulance services are usually committed to having at least one paramedic on each emergency ambulance. Job opportunities are therefore generally good, but the number of vacancies varies between regions across the UK.
Other employers include:
There is also the option of working for private paramedical agencies for occasions such as sporting fixtures, major events or on film and TV sets.
Other opportunities exist as first-aid instructors and health and safety trainers.
Look for job vacancies at:
Private ambulance agencies covering specialist events can be found using internet search engines. Some NHS ambulance services, as well as agencies, operate registers for relief or shift-cover paramedic work.
When you join an ambulance service you'll receive on-the-job training to become familiar with that particular service.
You must be registered with the HCPC to practise as a paramedic and to stay on the register you need to comply with HCPC regulations. This includes undertaking continuing professional development (CPD) and keeping a record of CPD activities.
Typically, you can continue your development by carrying out:
Activities might include:
A post-registration career framework, CPD events and an annual conference are available through the College of Paramedics. You can gain full membership with the college, which provides benefits including various levels of insurance cover, access to a regional network and different resources and products.
Once you've gained experience, you might be promoted to senior paramedic or emergency services team leader. Following this, it's possible to progress into management posts such as operational manager, assistant director of operations or a senior position in the control room.
You may be required to take management qualifications on a part-time basis to progress to these roles and once in post, you could take bespoke training in areas such as media for giving official public statements.
As a senior paramedic it's possible to work as an emergency care practitioner (ECP), where you could be based in:
It is also possible, with further training in critical care and trauma, to move into the senior role of critical care paramedic. Opportunities exist in some locations for specialist work with motorcycle, rapid response car or air ambulance (helicopter) units.
You may choose to move to related occupations in health care, either in a clinical role, such as nursing, or into non-clinical careers, such as NHS trust management and administration, training and development, or health and safety. Extra training and qualifications are likely to be required.
Careers in other uniformed services, such as the armed forces, police or fire service, are also an option, as are lecturing posts on paramedic science courses.