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Paramedic

Paramedics respond to emergency call-outs and give people life-saving medical help.

Annual Salary

£25,655 to £39,027

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

36 to 38 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on shifts

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 may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

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 can get into this work through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
  • apply for a trainee scheme
University

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 may be able to get additional student financial support through the NHS Learning Support Fund.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
Apprenticeship

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
For more information
Work

You could start as an ambulance care assistant or an emergency medical technician. With experience you could apply for a place on a paramedic training scheme. You would need to check the entry procedures and requirements with individual ambulance service trusts.

Volunteering and work experience

Entry to paramedic courses is very competitive and it may help you if you have some relevant experience or training. You could:

  • volunteer as a first responder with a charity or social enterprise, like St John Ambulance
  • volunteer with an NHS ambulance trust
  • work at a residential care home or day care centre
  • get a first aid certificate
  • work in an office-based job for an ambulance service

You can find more information on how to get relevant healthcare work experience from Health Careers

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.

Requirements and restrictions

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.
  • pass enhanced background checks, as you may be working with children and vulnerable adults
  • pass a medical check

More information

Career tips

When applying for degree courses or apprenticeships, you'll be expected to show an understanding of how NHS values apply in your work.

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.

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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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Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

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
  • knowledge of teaching and the ability to design courses
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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