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How to become a paramedic?

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If you want a career in healthcare but want to consider something other than being a doctor or a nurse, then this article can help.

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The editorial staff
Jan 10, 23 · 6 min read
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We’ll talk you through the process of becoming a paramedic and what the work involves. Keep reading to find out essential information about the roleinterview processtraining and more.

What Is a Paramedic?

Paramedics are crucial to the healthcare service. They provide care and transport for patients in a life-saving role that gets patients to the hospital for further treatment. A paramedic acts as a first responder in an emergency. They provide medical transportation, usually in an ambulance.

As well as providing emergency health services, paramedics coordinate care, which means they need to work well with others. From communicating with dispatchers and handing over patients, to interacting with members of the public, the role is part of a wider system.  

Since transportation is often part of the roledriving and maintenance of the ambulance and its medical equipment are key paramedic duties. Read on to find out about the job requirements and application process.

How To Become A Paramedic

Below, you’ll find the details about how to become a paramedicincluding information on training courses, what to do after college, and whether you need a licence. If you love helping people and are good at being practical, discover how you can put those skills to good use.  


There are several routes to becoming a paramedic. For each of them, you’ll need good GCSE results. To improve your chances, it’s best to take at least two A levels focusing on science.  One option for potential paramedics is to complete university degree in the medical field

Several UK universities offer education in paramedic practice or science. A full-time course usually takes three years to complete. You’ll need to pass both theoretical assignments and practical placements


There are two other routes to becoming a paramedic if you don’t want to go to university. With good GCSE or A-level results, you can apply for a job with an ambulance service as a student paramedic. You’ll complete training on the job in order to become a fully qualified paramedic.

Another route is to find a more junior role. You’ll need to spend time working your way up and then complete a degree apprenticeship in paramedic science. This option might suit you if your exam results prevent you from going down the other routes. 

Skills and Experience

It isn’t just knowledge that makes a good paramedic. You can use your experience of remaining calm in emergencies and your driving skills. There are several other attributes that you can work on to help you in this role. They include communication, decision-making, leadership, problem-solving and empathy. 

Your ability to work under pressure and good teamwork are factors to highlight on your application and during an interview.


Once fully trained, most paramedics pursue careers in the NHS. However, there are also private ambulance services that need talented people. To access this protected career title, you’ll need to register with the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Think of it as a kind of licence. It shows prospective employers that you meet certain standards. Your training programme should be HCPC-approved. You might need to complete some medical tests to verify your health declarations, although most applicants just need to supply certified copies of their proof of identity and address.

Importance of Paramedics

Paramedics need to think fast and react according to the situation. They’re a vital part of the system and often one of the first points of contact in patient care. The role requires qualified individuals but also those with the right skills and temperament.

Each day will be different, and paramedics are required to use their abilities to defuse stressful situations alongside providing medical support. For these reasons, paramedics are in demand, and the career has excellent job prospects.       

Salary and Opportunities For Growth

Average starting salaries are around £25,000 in the NHS. Note you’ll start on a lower salary if you’re training and qualifying while you work. Private roles can pay out more, with experienced paramedics and consultants earning £40,000 to £70,000. 

As you progress in your career, you can move into advanced paramedic roles, which come with a higher salary. You could also take additional courses to qualify for specialised roles. Potential growth could include:

  • Senior paramedic
  • Team leader
  • Consultant paramedic 
  • Air ambulance paramedic

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are several advantages to this career. It’s a job that’s being actively advertised, which means you should find a position available. There’s room for growth, including the salary. The role is incredibly varied, which means you’ll stay engaged. Plus, helping people is incredibly rewarding.

On the other hand, there are some downsides to being a paramedic. It’s a stressful job and dealing with emergencies and trauma can be difficult. The role involves shifts that could be during the day, at night, on weekdays, weekends and holidays.

Start Your Career as a Paramedic

Check out this quick summary to get started:

  • Paramedics provide emergency care and transport
  • You’ll need to complete a paramedic science degree, student paramedic placement or degree apprenticeship
  • Every paramedic needs to register with the HCPC
  • You need to be good at teamwork and remaining calm
  • Salaries range from £25k up to £70k

What Are the Differences Between a Paramedic and a Doctor?

Here are the differences:
HowTo step image

1. Emergency for paramedics:

A paramedic provides care in different settings, often in public, a patient’s home and in the ambulance. They’re the first people to respond in an emergency.

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