How does one become a paramedic in the UK? There are 2 choices for gaining your full qualification and registration with the HPC as a paramedic. You can be a student paramedic at a university offering an appropriate paramedic degree course or you can train with one of the UK’s ambulance trusts.
The most effective way of becoming a paramedic in the UK depends upon your circumstances. Training with an NHS Ambulance Trust is the preferred method for many as you’re in paid employment whilst training. Student paramedic vacancies however are rare and very competitive, often attracting more than a hundred applicants per place.
To apply for paramedic training with an NHS trust, check out the NHS jobs website regularly as all such vacancies must be advertised on their site by regulation. Just apply directly for one of these trainee vacancies. These are the Ambulance Trusts in the UK that offer Paramedic Training positions: East Midlands, East of England, Great Western, London, North East, North West, South Central, South East Coast, South Western, West Midlands and Yorkshire.
Training at university in becoming a paramedic provides you with a full degree and certified qualification but you are essentially training in your own time and at your own expense. To be able to get a place on a paramedic degree course you must apply through the UCAS system which handles all applications to higher education in the UK. Although many paramedic students are eligble for grants, you are not paid during your 2, 3 or 4 years at university.
Having said that, if you become a paramedic student on a sandwich course you may be paid for your middle year. This middle year work placement is part of becoming a paramedic in the UK but not all degree courses are delivered this way. Some incorporate block placements through the entire course rather than a sandwich year. Certain ambulance trusts also offer paid shift work to students outside of their timetabled training sessions.
The universities currently offering Paramedic Degree courses are, Bournemouth, Brighton, Bristol, Canterbury, Cornwall, Coventry, Greenwhich, Hatfield, Lancashire, Liverpool, Manchester, Northampton, Oxford Brookes, Portsmouth, Sheffield, St. Georges (London), Staffordshire, Surrey, and Worcester.
When making an application to become a paramedic, whether via university as a student paramedic or an ambulance trust as a trainee paramedic, the requirements are exactly the same. You will need a good level of education including the following:
GCSEs at level C or above in Maths, English and at least 3 other subjects preferably including a science.
A Levels or the equivalent in at least 2 subjects, again preferably one being a science.
Older potential applicants often consider how to become a paramedic and may be taken into consideration on the basis of experience as well as alternative qualifications that demonstrate the ability to work at the appropriate academic level. For example, Open University credits are often viewed as acceptable alternatives. Any academic qualifications to be considered should not be any more than 2 or 3 years old.
Physical fitness is also a requirement to become a paramedic and will be tested both by universities and ambulance trusts before offering a spot. Just about any prospective student paramedic should be able to carry a 20Kg pack with relative ease for a reasonable distance including up and down stairs at a brisk trot. This could be tested by continual stepping on and off a step platform over a five minute test period.