If you are interested in becoming a paramedic then “Congratulations” are in order, because you have chosen a career that is incredibly important, exceptionally varied and without a doubt, extremely demanding and challenging, but often very rewarding.
However, the role of being a paramedic requires such a strong skills set, that a great deal of training is required. This is a career, not a job! Therefore it is not easy to train as a paramedic, with only candidates of the highest calibre being afforded this specialist and intensive training.
Although it used to be the case that you could join the ambulance service as a care assistant and then receive training and work your way up to becoming a paramedic, this is no longer the case. T
here are two different routes to train to be a paramedic; either you can join an ambulance service as a student (trainee) paramedic or you can undertake a course in paramedic science (a full time course) at university.
Any course undertaken with a view to becoming a paramedic must be approved by the Health Professions Council (the HPC) since all paramedics need to be registered with this council in order to work within the NHS.
The educational requirements required to train to be a paramedic vary. The demand for places is high and so the requirements are high. Student or trainee paramedics will often receive some salary which makes places with ambulance trusts highly sought after, but university courses will often be well over subscribed.
Candidates will need to have some GCSEs and increasingly A levels are also required.
Potential paramedics should be aware that candidates who have work experience or voluntary experience with an ambulance service will find it easier to access courses/trainee places than candidates with no practical experience. Paramedics are required to be relatively fit and healthy due to the nature of their work.
Whilst candidates with a disability or impairment may well be suitable, some disabilities or impairments will preclude the ability to train to be a paramedic. Sight, hearing, the ability to bend etc are all required to ensure that the paramedic can do their job effectively and you will need these in order to train to be a paramedic.
It is also important to remember that when you are a paramedic then you need to be able to drive and you will need a further driving qualification if you passed your test after 1996.
The training is highly specialised. You will be trained in medicine, the use of life saving equipment, as well as training in how to deal with people. The training will also be a combination of clinical training and academic learning, so you learn the theory and how to apply it in practice.
The training to be a paramedic can take anything from two to five years, depending on the type of course being taken, which is reflective of the fact that it is a highly skilled career that requires intensive training.