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What is a Paramedic?


MediPro have delivered several commercial paramedic courses over the years, with the business being the largest independent provider of pre-hospital education in the UK.

But what is a paramedic? What are their duties and how do you become one? Here, we have a guide to help you with all things paramedic.

What is a Paramedic? What duties do they have?

Anyone who’s watched a hospital drama will have some idea of what a paramedic does, and although the job isn’t all sirens & blue lights, it’s still an exciting career choice!

Paramedics are registered healthcare professionals who work autonomously, providing care in a range of healthcare settings. They usually work within emergency, primary or urgent care, but may also specialise in other fields.

Ambulance apprentices practicing trauma scenarios involving a stretcher

Paramedics are the senior clinicians on an ambulance, providing immediate and emergency care in response to 999 calls from the public. They sometimes also work alone in a rapid response car.

They are trained to make decisions in complex and high-pressure situations in unfamiliar and often unpredictable environments.

Paramedics have expertise in dealing with critically ill and injured patients, using an advanced skillset, complex equipment and a range of medications to treat them.

They are skilled at history taking, consultation skills and examination and are educated in a wide range of illness and injuries, from newborns and babies to the elderly and those at the end of their life.

They work closely with other healthcare teams, including GPs, nurses, mental health crisis teams and pharmacists, as well as colleagues from the police, fire and rescue services and coastguard.

Many paramedics are also independent prescribers, meaning they can prescribe medications to patients that will help manage their conditions.

In recent years, the paramedic profession has evolved, with paramedics now being found working in multiple health settings. These include general practice, minor injury units, urgent care centres, walk-in centres and A&E departments, telehealth and telecare services and in remote and offshore sectors.

What is the salary for a Paramedic? What are the typical shift patterns?

According to the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, paramedic typically start at Band 5, progressing to Band 6 after two years.

So, after of 2022/23, the starting pay for a paramedic is £27,055, with the possibly of increasing all the way to £40,588. This is based on the standard working week of 37.5 hours.

Shift patterns for paramedics will usually include nights, early starts, evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Is there the possibility of career progression?

There is!

Once you’ve qualified, you could become a team leader, supervising other paramedics and emergency care assistants, specialise in a specific area like strokes, or work for the air ambulance. With additional training, you could become an experienced paramedic, which is a senior role with more responsibilities. Teaching, research and management roles are other options.

A scenario with a paramedic student treating a patient in the back of an ambulance.

The role of the paramedic has evolved. They are now working in a wider range of roles and clinical environments outside of the NHS ambulance service, including:

  • Accident and emergency
  • Minor injury or urgent care
  • Acute medicine
  • Intensive care
  • General practice
  • Admission avoidance teams
  • Palliative care
  • 111 services.

What do I need to become a Paramedic?

To become a paramedic, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). To register with the HCPC, you need to have successfully completed an approved qualification in paramedic science.

There are different routes to studying and qualifying as a paramedic. You can:

  • take a full-time approved qualification in paramedic science (i.e., at a university) and then apply to an ambulance service for a job as a qualified paramedic
  • apply for a role as a student paramedic with an ambulance service and study while you work
  • apply for a degree standard apprenticeship in paramedic science with an ambulance service

Becoming a paramedic takes between two and four years. The course includes a mixture of theory and practical work including placements with ambulance services and other healthcare settings.

Each University or Ambulance Service sets its own entry requirements, so it’s important to check carefully what you will need.

Entry to paramedic courses is very competitive and it may help you if you have some relevant experience or training. You could:

  • volunteer as a first responder with a charity or social enterprise, like St John Ambulance
  • volunteer with an NHS ambulance trust
  • work at a residential care home or day care centre
  • get a first aid certificate
  • work in an office-based job for an ambulance service

Our Paramedic course

Subject to HCPC approval, MediPro will be delivering a new, 4-year, part-time paramedic programme from our training centre in Stockton-on-Tees.

This programme will commence twice a year during April and September.

A classroom at Faraday House, MediPro's Stockton-on-Tees, with ambulance textbooks on each desk

The part-time nature of our paramedic course allows flexibility for learners, meaning they can earn while they learn.

The programme is innovative in its approach, delivering teaching, learning and assessment strategies using a blended approach of teaching and learning styles. These include lectures, group activities, tutorials, directed study, independent learning and practice-based education.

Once all elements are successfully completed, learners will receive a Level 6 Diploma Paramedic Practitioner qualification awarded by FutureQuals. This will mean they are eligible to apply to the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) for Paramedic registration.

The minimum entry criteria for the course are as follows:

  • Minimum of Literacy and Numeracy Level 2, or equivalent. Equivalent qualifications include GCSE level A*-C, or the new GCSE standard 9-4, Scotland National Level 5 or International Level 4 (PIAAC, AILS, ALL)
  • Achievement of Level 4 Diploma in Associate Ambulance Practitioner (AAP), or equivalent. Any equivalent qualification would need to go through a full RPL mapping process

All learners will who pass the entry screening will be invited for a professional interview.

The Level 6 Paramedic Practitioner course consists of Level 5 and Level 6 modules, with 110 credits at Level 5 and 130 credits at Level 6. The programme modules are as follows:

Level 5

  • Clinical practice application – paramedic practice
  • Applying communication skills in practice
  • Socio-Economic influences on illness and injury
  • Introduction into evidence-based research

Level 6

  • Advancing clinical practice
  • Healthcare systems and organisational structures
  • Ethics and professional standards for the developing healthcare professional

Practice-based education is a key part of the programme and is designed to be varied and engaging to help foster your new knowledge, skills and behaviours. Arranged in busy NHS Ambulance Trusts and hospitals, your placements will be challenging and rewarding.

Practice-based education breakdown by placement provider:

Level 5

  • North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust – Ambulance (300 hours of placement)
  • North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – A&E department (80 hours of placement)
  • North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Theatres (40 hours of placement)
  • North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Admissions and Elderly Care (40 hours of placement)
  • North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – ITU/ICU (40 hours of placement)
  • Total Hours of Placements – 500 hours

Level 6

  • North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust – Ambulance (200 hours of placement)
  • North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Paediatrics (40 hours of placement)
  • North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – MIU/Urgent Care (80 hours of placement)
  • North Tees Hospital NHS Trust – Maternity (40 hours of placement)
  • Total Hours of Placements – 360 hours

Learners will receive plenty of support throughout the programme. This includes:

  • Personal tutor allocation – each learner will be allocated a single point of contact tutor to help co-ordinate any additional support needed
  • Academic support – learners will have access to academic writing support staff
  • Occupational support – all learners will be required to undergo health screening and clearance for practice through our occupational partners. Additional support is available as and when required
  • Tutorials – learners will participate in regular face-to-face and/or online tutorial meetings
  • Pastoral support – learners have access to dedicated pastoral support
  • Practice Placement Facilitator – support throughout practice-based education
  • Safeguarding support – whilst in practice, all learners have access to a dedicated Safeguarding Lead
  • Additional support includes access to IT facilities and access to reference materials including books and journals.

If you would like to find out more about our Paramedic Practitioner course, please visit the Ambulance section of our website. To register your interest for the course, call us on 01325 609030.  


Both Rob and Tony the CERAD tutors were absolutely amazing, helpful and patient with us. Couldn’t have asked for better trainers or a better bunch of people to take this journey with!

Tia Sayer – Apprentice Emergency Medical Technician – East of England Ambulance Service

We’ve had the support we’ve needed, and the training has been good. So, for anyone looking to progress, or considering joining the ambulance service, I would recommend it. Absolutely!

Jack Bird, Apprentice Emergency Medical Technician, East of England Ambulance Service

I think the learning is very clear. Direct. All the tutors have been very professional. It’s been all positive experiences.

Keith Stead, Apprentice Emergency Medical Technician, East of England Ambulance Service

I like the practicals. I learn more this way because the job itself is so practical, you gain confidence this way.

Abby Hobbs, Apprentice Emergency Medical Technician, East of England Ambulance Service

I think the course so far has been really good. I’ve liked the practical sessions. It’s clear what we need to learn and there’s a lot of support as well.

Amy Palfreyman, Apprentice Emergency Medical Technician, East of England Ambulance Service

I would definitely recommend you guys to others. I feel like there’s a lot of support when needed. It’s been really enjoyable.

Imogen Fitzgerald, Apprentice Emergency Medical Technician, East of England Ambulance Service

Since I had graduated, I was a little uncertain with the route I would take as my lack of driving experience was holding me back from joining a trust and wanted to find another way, to consolidate my learning. With some background experience in mentoring, I soon enough came across MediPro and applied for the NQP clinical tutor role.

Since then, I have been very fortunate to work with a lovely team that have a similar insight to myself with making student contact count to give back and help students bridge that gap between the classroom and the road. Overall, l’ve felt more confident with deepening my clinical knowledge and helping seal the vast breadth of topics we may not always come across on the road often.

I strongly believe MediPro will play a huge part in this journey with the different opportunities available and I have high hopes for the future.

Pooja Kaur, Clinical Tutor, MediPro

Upon graduating last year, I was surprised to find a job advertised with MediPro in which I could come straight out of university and into training. This opportunity usually only presents itself after years of experience, so I was eager to give it a go. I was welcomed on board and made to feel comfortable by all staff throughout the past 6 months and have already been granted many opportunities as part of the company, including two new qualifications.

I still get time on the road to practice as a HCPC registered Paramedic, although the majority of my role is spent teaching and supporting others. This has gained me more confidence, knowledge, and professional development than I ever thought it would, and I’ve made some great friendships along the way.

Leah Marshall, Clinical Tutor, MediPro

Qualifying as a Paramedic, I feel like I’ve accomplished something I never thought I would be able to. I think it is an amazing job!

At the beginning, I joined MediPro with my FREC 3, which started me off with patient transport. Since then, I’ve progressed into technician and then straight onto paramedic, which I found was a great way of doing things.

The teaching at MediPro was brilliant. I found that it was very hands-on and very adaptable to how I like to learn.

My mentors have been brilliant. I literally wouldn’t have been able to do that without their help and guidance. They haven’t done it for me, but they have definitely helped and supported me to do it and complete this course. I couldn’t thank them more!

Abbi Turnbull, Paramedic, MediPro

My first experience of training with MediPro was just over 5 years ago when I undertook my Ambulance Technician training whilst looking for a change of career. Following the completion of the course, I was offered employment as an ambulance technician, supporting local NHS trusts in providing emergency and urgent care.

Since starting with MediPro I have continued to be supported throughout my career and they have enabled me to continue to develop both personally and professionally, working towards my ambition to qualify as a HCPC registered Paramedic.

Additionally, I have been offered and supported through a level 3 teaching qualification, as well as a mentor qualification. This has allowed me to broaden my practice and develop as a clinician, working in a dual role as an ambulance technician, mentoring students in practice, as well as in a teaching capacity.

Last year I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to apply for the MediPro Level 6 Diploma in Paramedic Practice, as an alternative to university this suited my situation perfectly. Despite being a non-university programme I was still fully supported through every step of my journey & I now work as an HCPC registered Paramedic for MediPro with the ambition to consolidate my practice and develop my teaching skills.

Overall, MediPro has provided me with amazing opportunities and support since starting my career 5 years ago. The knowledge, skills and experiences have enabled me to develop as a professional and as a person, which has been invaluable. I’ve also gained some brilliant working relationships and friendships along the way.

Alex Hutchinson, Clinical Tutor, MediPro

I completed my level 3 CERAD in March of this year, this was the third course I have done with Medipro in the last 14 months. In all of the courses I have done with Medipro I have found nothing but genuine, friendly, top class people. 

The level 3 CERAD was intense and challenging but Colin was excellent in his delivery, explanation and constructive criticism. 

Can not recommend MediPro enough, I have booked onto my Freuc 5 at the end of this year.  

Phil Brazier, Level 3 CERAD

Since graduating from my Sports Science and Injury Rehabilitation degree, I have been desperate to work in the healthcare industry, particularly emergency care. When I came across the MediPro ECA apprenticeship, I knew I had to apply. The opportunity to learn new skills, whilst gaining practical experience in the field, seemed too good to be true – but it has proven to be the opposite! 

The opportunity has not only allowed me to learn more about this complex profession, but grow in confidence as a person. The experience is designed in such a way that I was allowed to gain confidence in my ability, before increasing my responsibility. This was primarily done by working with other welcoming and experienced colleagues, who were all extremely helpful in guiding me through the process. The leadership and mentor team have been with me every step of the way, ensuring that I am well equipped to operate to the high standards that are required, whilst also showing great trust in me to put my skills into practice. 

MediPro has allowed me to access my dream career and have given me an experience so far that has ensured it will be a lifelong journey. 

Emily Bonham, ECA Apprenticeship, MediPro

Medipro is a very responsive apprenticeship training provider. They help us build and retain a very skilled, competent and patient care focused team of Emergency Care Assistants.

They also provide Paramedic training for Ambulance Technicians helping us to develop critical skills for our business.

The programme has helped us train and develop our workforce and has been extremely well organised and facilitated, and I am pleased to say that skills development goes from strength to strength.

We have found our working relationship with MediPro to be a very proactive one and we look forward/ to continuing to work together.

James Tavener
Training Manager, Bristol Ambulance EMS

MediPro have become a key support to our operations, helping us offer a safe, compliant and superior medical response service to our clientele. They have assisted us in the development of new competency programmes for our staff, new documentation flows for our patients and advised on new equipment and practices that improve our immediate treatment delivery. In addition, they have been a consistent and reliable source of guidance and advice throughout our work together. I would highly recommend their services which are operationally outstanding and financially very reasonable.

Peter Burke, Operations Manager, Teesside

I am a commercial Diver from Trinidad and Tobago.

I chose MediPro as it was recommended to me by a friend.

The teacher was very knowledgeable and made the lessons fun so it was easy to absorb. I am new to the Medical Diving field so it was very exciting learning more and going deeper into medical conditions and illnesses specific to diving. Being a diver, it will be a great asset for me to recognise and be able to administer aid should it be needed.

Kevin, Diver Medic Technician

I have been attending training at MediPro for 10 years. The offshore medic and distance learning refresher is great. Lovely people, great attitude, great educators.

Julian Searle
Offshore Medic Refresher
Distance Learning

The clinical placement in the unique Urgent Care Centre, North Tees Hospital, is exactly suited for the Offshore Medic course, allowing me to demonstrate all previous Learnt Theoretical, for urgent Primary care assessments in the field.

The mixture of GPs & Urgent Care Practitioner Nurses provided a 24/7 facility for a diverse range of presentations. I also spent time in the busy accident & emergency department.

Martin Hagues, Offshore Medic