Entry requirements (emergency care assistant)

There are no set entry requirements to become an ECA. Most employers expect good standards of literacy and numeracy. Some may ask for qualifications such as GCSEs, NVQs or equivalent. 


Employers look for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked with elderly or disabled people, either in paid employment or voluntary work. First aid work would also be useful, such as volunteering with St John Ambulance or the British Red Cross.

To drive an ambulance, whether emergency or non-emergency, you need a full, manual driving licence. If you passed your test after 1996, you may need an extra driving qualification for larger vehicles and carrying passengers. Most employers expect you have a driving licence when you apply. Ambulance service trusts use vehicles of different sizes, so check carefully which classifications you need on your licence.

Personal characteristics

An emergency care assistant needs to be:

  • able to understand a situation quickly
  • calm in stressful situations
  • confident and reassuring
  • resilient in dealing with other people’s strong emotions
  • able to follow procedures
  • able to work quickly and carefully
  • able to work alone or in a team
  • prepared to go into unknown or unpredictable situations

Skills required

An emergency care assistant needs:

  • good communication skills
  • good listening skills
  • excellent driving skills
  • organisational skills
  • to be able to use equipment and machinery 
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