Job Description:

Paramedics deal with emergencies, giving people life-saving medical help.

Job Category:
Health Care & Social Assistance

What you will do:

Most paramedics work for ambulance services. You’ll deal with a range of situations, from minor wounds and substance misuse to serious injuries from fires and major road, rail, and industrial accidents.

Your day-to-day tasks could include:

  • checking a patient’s condition to decide what action to take
  • using electric shock equipment (a defibrillator) to resuscitate patients
  • carrying out surgical procedures like inserting a breathing tube
  • giving medicines and injections
  • dressing wounds and applying supports for broken bones
  • delivering babies
  • working closely with the police and fire services
  • keeping accurate records and checking equipment (organisational skills)


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of healthcare and medicine
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • excellent driving skills
  • the ability to think and act quickly under pressure and the patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (adaptability)
  • practical skills and the ability to follow procedures
  • excellent communication skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • customer service skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork)



Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a paramedic in the UK, you typically need specific GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) subjects and qualifications. The exact requirements can vary depending on the university or college offering paramedic programs and the specific entry criteria, so it’s essential to check with the institution you’re interested in. However, here are some common GCSE subjects that are often required or recommended:

  1. English Language: Most paramedic programs require a minimum grade C/4 or higher in GCSE English Language. Strong communication skills are essential in this profession.
  2. Mathematics: A minimum grade C/4 or higher in GCSE Mathematics is usually required. Paramedics need to perform calculations related to medication dosages, patient assessments, and more.
  3. Science: Some programs may require or recommend GCSEs in science subjects like Biology or Chemistry. These subjects can provide a foundation for understanding medical concepts.
  4. Physical Education (PE): While not always a strict requirement, having a GCSE in PE can be beneficial, as paramedics need to be physically fit and capable of handling physically demanding situations.
  5. Additional GCSEs: Some programs may also have specific subject requirements or recommendations, such as GCSEs in subjects like Psychology or Health and Social Care, which can be relevant to the field.

Post School

You’ll need a foundation degree, diploma of higher education (DipHE) or degree in paramedic science or paramedic practice.

You could start as a student paramedic, a trainee technician or an emergency care assistant for an ambulance service.

Working as a volunteer community first responder may help you to get onto a training course.

To become a paramedic you’ll need:

  • to register with the local Health Care Professions Council
  • a driving licence, including ability to drive medium sized vehicles (Category C1 in the UK)
  • to pass a medical check
  • you are likely to need criminal or security clearance from the local authorities in the county you intend to work

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 37.5 hours a week on shifts, including nights, weekends and bank holidays.

You’ll wear a uniform including protective clothing.

You’ll work in an ambulance, or as a specialist you may work on your own, using a car, motorbike or bicycle.

The job is physically and emotionally demanding.

Career Path & Progression:

With around 3 years experience, you could become a team leader or a specialist paramedic or emergency care practitioner.

You could also move into operations management, education and training, research or human resources.