Paramedics are just a part of the ambulance service team. Paramedics are responsible for the safety of their patient and emergency care; therefore, they require more than a standard level of education in order to perform their duties. GCSEs, A-Levels, and University education is necessary to be a part of the paramedic team.
Ambulance drivers are able to gain positions with general education, a driver’s licence and the qualification to handle passenger vehicles.
It is possible to start as a driver and work towards paramedic education. It is also an option to go through nursing or be a doctor and then train specifically for paramedic positions. Education will end with a diploma, foundation degree, or Bachelor of Science in paramedic science.
The second option to becoming a paramedic is to enrol for an ambulance trust. A candidate for this program will be a student paramedic that gets on the job training.
Candidate Personality and Skill Requirements
Paramedics need to help injured and ill patients in a variety of situations. As candidates need to work with people, work quickly, and accurately there are certain personality and skill requirements hospitals, trusts, and independent ambulance services look for.
- Be responsible and motivated to work
- Be caring and outgoing,
with a generally helpful attitude
- Have good teamwork and interpersonal skills
- Display decent written and oral communication skills
- Be quick thinking, calm, and decisive in a variety of situations including crises
- Have good fitness to be able to lift patients and ambulance equipment
- Relate to a variety of cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, races, and religions
- Commit to professional education and development.
Additional requirements include having a clean and up to date driver’s licence with at least one year of large vehicle and passenger vehicle experience.
It is helpful for candidates to have first aid certification prior to applying for a paramedic position as well as voluntary experiences with certain organisations like the Red Cross or St. John’s Ambulance.
Fitness testing and occupational health screening is part of the entry process into the paramedic field. Candidates will be assessed for colour vision, manual dexterity, eyesight, and general fitness. During the testing phase there will also be a psychological exam that will assess the ability of the candidate to handle tough situations and to be a team player.
Colour vision tests are designed to eliminate candidates that have severe colour blindness as this could endanger the patient. Eyesight tests do not prohibit glasses or contact lenses; however, vision does need to be as close to 20/20 as possible.
Manual dexterity assesses the ability of the paramedic to handle the various tasks required while in a moving vehicle so as not to endanger the patient and successfully treat the person while going between the pick-up point and hospital.
General fitness tests are conducted by doctors for certain conditions. For the paramedic industry it is difficult if the person treating patients has to be treated themselves; therefore, a healthy weight is important. The paramedic should not have any limitations to mobility and be able to lift patients and equipment albeit with help. While an overweight or high BMI does not necessarily disqualify a candidate medical conditions related to the same could.
Heart conditions, epilepsy, blackouts, HIV/Aids, and skin conditions might exclude a candidate depending on the situation, the hiring company, and the specific condition. Typically, if a condition is temporary, like some skin conditions, then the medical testing can be put on hold until the candidate will pass.