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Paramedic Ambulance paramedic

Paramedics deal with emergencies, giving people life-saving medical help.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £35,250 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37.5 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll need a foundation degree, diploma of higher education (DipHE) or degree in paramedic science or paramedic practice.

You could start as a student paramedic, a trainee technician or an emergency care assistant for an ambulance service.

Working as a volunteer community first responder with an organisation like St John Ambulance or an NHS ambulance trust, may help you to get onto a training course.

Your local ambulance trust has information about the services in your area.

To become a paramedic you'll need:

The College of Paramedics has more information about becoming a paramedic.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent driving skills
  • the ability to think and act quickly under pressure
  • practical skills and the ability to follow procedures
  • excellent communication skills

3. What you'll do

Most paramedics work for NHS ambulance services. You'll deal with a range of situations, from minor wounds and substance misuse to serious injuries from fires and major road, rail and industrial accidents.

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • checking a patient's condition to decide what action to take
  • using electric shock equipment (a defibrillator) to resuscitate patients
  • carrying out surgical procedures like inserting a breathing tube
  • giving medicines and injections
  • dressing wounds and applying supports for broken bones
  • delivering babies
  • working closely with the police and fire services
  • keeping accurate records and checking equipment

4. Salary

Starter: £22,000 (qualified paramedic)

Experienced: Up to £28,500

Highly Experienced: £35,250 (specialist paramedics and team leaders)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 37.5 hours a week on shifts, including nights, weekends and bank holidays.

You'll wear a uniform including protective clothing.

You'll work on an ambulance, or as a specialist you may work on your own, using a car, motorbike or bicycle.

The job is physically and emotionally demanding.

6. Career path and progression

With around 3 years’ experience, you could become a team leader or a specialist paramedic or emergency care practitioner.

You could also move into operations management, education and training, research or human resources.

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Last updated: 13 September 2017