Ambulance paramedic

Job Category: Healthcare

Role info

You would respond rapidly to emergency calls and give immediate medical care to injured people in potentially life-threatening situations.

You'd deal with anything from minor wounds to serious injuries caused by a major accident. You'd treat shocked and traumatised people who will rely on you to help them and ease their pain. You would often transfer critically ill patients from one hospital to another. 

You'd check the patient's condition and quickly decide what action to take. You'd make calm and reasoned decisions about the right treatment and care for them.

You would:

  • Use advanced life support techniques, such as electric shocks, to resuscitate patients
  • Carry out surgical procedures, such as inserting a breathing tube
  • Provide drugs and fluids
  • Give medicines and injections
  • Dress wounds and apply supports to broken bones

If you take a patient to hospital you would tell the staff about the person's condition as quickly and accurately.

You'd also keep accurate records of your cases and regularly check the ambulance equipment. You would need to respect patient confidentiality.

You could work on a traditional ambulance as part of a team or alone using a car, motorbike or bicycle. You may choose to work on a helicopter as part of the Air Ambulance Team or to join specialist teams working across a wider range of emergency situations. You'd also liaise with police and fire service crews.

Most jobs are in the National Health Service; see more about the role and conditions when working as paramedic for the Scottish Ambulance Service.

Personal Qualities

  • Physical and emotional stamina

Working conditions


The emergency ambulance service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You would usually work 37.5 hours a week, including some night and weekend shifts, and bank holidays. Part-time hours are often also available.


You would wear a uniform, which includes protective clothing such as a bright jacket and safety boots. Your work may involve heavy lifting when transferring patients. You are likely to experience some difficult and upsetting situations, including dealing with people under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


You must already be a qualified ambulance technician. You must pass the Scottish Ambulance Service entrance test including a fitness test.

You will also need
  • A full current UK driving licence including category C1, with no more than three points
  • To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland

You need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) before you can register as a paramedic.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show an understanding of health and wellbeing such as:

  • Skills for Work Health Sector (SCQF Level 6)
  • Health and Social Care (SCQF Level 4/5)
  • SQA Wellbeing Award (SCQF Level 3-5)

Experience in care work.

Experience in a driving job, preferably with larger vehicles.

People doing this kind of job in the UK have these types of qualifications

Overview of similar roles

The information below relates to several job roles. These jobs are at the same level, and the tasks you’ll do and the skills and qualifications you’ll need are similar.

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