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Becoming a Paramedic

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 4 Jan 2018 | comments*Discuss
Paramedic Working Role Conditions

Working as a paramedic offers a long-term, secure career that demands commitment and focus. Paramedics are usually the first people on the scene of many medical emergencies, and so they need to be able to deal with a variety of medical situations. This means that the training and preparation of a paramedic is highly involved in order that they are able to deal with whatever the situation may be.

The Role of a Paramedic

The medical aspect of a paramedic’s working day starts with the ability to quickly and accurately assess a patient's needs, then administer the relevant treatment until the ambulance arrives at the hospital or until other medical back-up arrives. Paramedics deal with all sorts of medical emergencies from traffic accidents and mental health issues to heart attacks and impending births, so their training is intense and varied.

The role of a paramedic will also involve some element of administration and signposting to other departments, especially with the paramedic usually being the first person to assess the condition of the patient. Consequently, the paramedic needs to have an excellent understanding of the various NHS services on offer, both in terms of emergency services and long-term care, and be able to signpost the patient, the patient’s family or the relevant department as appropriate. Writing accurate reports and keeping detailed patient notes is also a key part of the job of a paramedic.

Entry and Character Requirements

It is clear from the type of role that the character of a paramedic needs to be calm under pressure, able to deal with difficult situations effectively, and put stressed or anxious patients at their ease. The majority of paramedics have degrees or diplomas, with 15 universities in the UK currently offering degrees in Paramedic Sciences. Another way of becoming a paramedic is to initially train as an ambulance man/woman and then take an internal training course. This option requires a minimum of 5 GCSEs of grades A-C.

Pay and Conditions

Paramedics are required to work an average working week of 37.5 hours, but because it is shift based, you could be working on any of the 365 days a year, at any time of a day. Paramedics work in all weathers and all conditions, including major public events, rural areas and deprived inner city areas, so a non-judgemental character is certainly needed. Shift work is common, with schedules arranged in advance.

Paramedics start on the NHS payscale Band 5, which is currently from £19,683 to £25,424, although up to a further 25% pay is available for working unsociable hours. London weighting is also available. Experienced paramedics will go up to Band 6, which is up to £32,000, with some additional pay for unsociable hours and London weighting.

Other Medical Careers

Find out about other medical careers by reading our features on Training To Be A Midwife and Becoming A Nurse.

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[Add a Comment]
Hi there, I've been a qualified midwife for over 2 years now, and I feel a career change to become a paramedic is right for me. Do I need to gain another university degree for this to happen or are there courses available which allow me a faster career change ? Many thanks
Kitty - 4-Jan-18 @ 9:39 AM
1012x - Your Question:
Hi, I have a midwifery degree and am currently a midwife but have realised that this career is not the one for me. I have had some recent experience with paramedics and want to retrain as a paramedic. I'm not really sure what steps I need to take in order to do this? Is my midwife degree enough in terms of academic requirements?

Our Response:
A lot of your existing training/qualifications will be useful/relevant as a paramedic, but you will still have to follow the usual training/qualification route for a paramedic. Check the NHS website out for full details and how to apply.
ACareerChange - 2-Mar-17 @ 12:13 PM
Hi, I have a midwifery degree and am currently a midwife but have realised that this career is not the one for me. I have had some recent experience with paramedics and want to retrain as a paramedic. I'm not really sure what steps I need to take in order to do this? Is my midwife degree enough in terms of academic requirements?
1012x - 28-Feb-17 @ 9:36 PM
Am 18 years old and i failed matric.i want to be paramedi so what can i do or how can i apply help me cal me#0714449658
Lekopis - 14-Jan-16 @ 2:20 PM
Im 36 next week, is that too old to re-train as a paramedic?I have a degree in computer science and maths as I believed that was where the money was at (or so my parents told me).If I could have my time again, I would choose something in the medical genre as its what really interests me.
spudthing - 20-Jan-14 @ 2:38 PM
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