FAQs about careers in the ambulance service team
This page has some frequently asked questions about careers in the ambulance service team
- Who works in the ambulance service team?
- To work in the ambulance service, what type of driving licence do I need?
- How do I train to be a paramedic?
- What do I need to do to be an ambulance driver?
- What role has replaced ambulance technician?
- Who handles the 999 calls?
- I want a role maintaining ambulance vehicles. Which one is this?
- Is there financial help to support while I’m training for a job in the ambulance service team?
- Where can I train as an emergency care assistant or a role in the patient transport services?
- I want to be a paramedic, but don’t have a driving licence. Will they help me to get it?
- Can I drive an ambulance without working with patients?
Have a look at our ambulance team careers page to find out.
You may need a C1 category on your licence, but it depends on the ambulance service trust that you are applying to and the types of vehicles that it uses. The requirements will be contained in the person specification for each vacancy. Visit the NHS Jobs website to search for vacancies.
There are two ways to train as a paramedic - an approved full-time university course or train while working as a student paramedic with an ambulance trust. Visit our paramedic page for details. You can also search for approved university courses using our course finder.
Other routes to becoming a paramedic may be available, depending on local ambulance service recruitment policies, so it’s important to check out what your local ambulance service requirements are. Visit the NHS Choices website to get their contact details.
If you want to be an ambulance driver, you'll usually be a qualified ambulance care assistant/patient transport service driver, emergency care assistant, ambulance technician or paramedic
Although ambulance service trusts currently employ ambulance technicians, it is no longer possible to enter this role as a new entrant. Those technicians currently working will be provided with opportunities to work as emergency care assistants or progress onto paramedic training, where they meet the requirements to do so.
Dialling 999 gets you through to the emergency services - including the police, ambulance service or fire and rescue service. In terms of the ambulance service, calls will usually be handled by an emergency medical dispatcher/call handler.
The NHS employs motor vehicle mechanics and technicians to check and maintain the ambulance vehicle itself. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website. Occasionally, there are apprenticeships for motor vehicle maintenance with ambulance service trusts. Again, visit the NHS Jobs website and the National Apprenticeships website to search for vacancies. However, ensuring an ambulance vehicle is suitably stocked with the appropriate medical equipment and supplies is just as important and can be the responsibility of an ambulance care assistant/patient transport service driver.
Training for many of the roles in the ambulance service is done while you are working so you would continue to receive your salary. If you plan to take an approved full-time university course in paramedic science, you will not usually receive financial support from the NHS (but you should check with the university). Those training through the student paramedic route will usually be salaried while studying on a part-time basis. Use our course finder to search for courses in paramedic science.
You will usually be trained while you are working in the ambulance service - you would not normally do a course before applying for a job, but you should always check the person specification for the vacancy you're applying for. You can search for vacancies on the NHS Jobs website.
The exact driving licence requirements will vary between ambulance service trusts and some may support you to gain the appropriate categories of licence to drive larger vehicles. It's therefore essential that you check when applying for paramedic vacancies on the NHS Jobs website.
It is highly unlikely you will just drive an ambulance. If you work in the emergency side of ambulance work, you'll usually be a trained emergency care assistant or paramedic and be involved in directly assessing and providing patient treatment.
In the patient transport service, you'll be expected to help patients get into and out of the vehicle and have a knowledge of first aid and safe transportation.