Ambulance paramedic

Job Profile


Average UK salary range

Currently employed in Scotland

Career outlook

Jobs in Scotland

UK employment status

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 road or rail accident. You'd treat shocked and traumatised people who will rely on you to help them and ease their pain.

You'd check the patient's condition and quickly decide what action to take. You'd make calm and reasoned decisions about whether to move 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'd 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. With experience you could work in a helicopter ambulance team. You'd also liaise with police and fire service crews.

Most jobs are in the National Health Service, working for the Scottish Ambulance Service. You can check the NHS salary for this role in the Agenda for Change pay rate guide on the NHS Careers website.

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.

For entry to the Scottish Ambulance Academy you would require two Highers plus five subjects at Standard Grade level 3 or National 5 including English and a science subject.

You will also need

All applicants must:

  • Pass the Scottish Ambulance Service entrance test, including a retention and recall test, fitness test and driving assessment
  • Have a full current UK driving licence, including categories C1 and D1, for a minimum of two years
  • 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 work unsupervised 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