Paramedics have a highly responsible role, often being the senior ambulance service healthcare professional in a range of emergency and non-emergency situations. You will be one of the first healthcare professionals to arrive at the scene.
Training and qualifications required
To practise as a paramedic, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you need to study for an approved qualification in paramedic science which could be a diploma, a foundation degree or a degree. You might study for this full-time or while working as a student paramedic or a degree level apprenticeship.
Expected working hours and salary range
Most jobs in the NHS are covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay scales and paramedics start at band 6. Although paramedics work standard hours of around 37.5 a week, these are on a shift pattern. Shifts cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the year. So a paramedic’s work pattern includes, evenings, nights, early starts, weekends and bank holidays.
Desirable skills and values
A paramedic needs to be calm in stressful situations, resilient in dealing with other people’s strong emotions, able to work quickly and carefully, have good communication skills, excellent driving skills and be able to use equipment and machinery.
With experience, you could become a team leader, supervising the work of paramedics and emergency care assistants. With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for several teams. Teaching or research are other options. Some paramedics choose to join a specialist team such as caring for stroke patients or working on an air ambulance. You could take extra training and qualifications for one of the roles for experienced paramedics, taking on more responsibility for treatment and decision-making in emergencies.