Tuesday, September 21, 2021

What careers are available in the ambulance service?

Have you ever considered a career in healthcare? While many aspire to become doctors or nurses, another area worth considering is the ambulance service. If you have good communication and organisational skills and an ability to stay calm under pressure, this career path could be the right one for you.

Your help may be much needed too. Ambulance waiting times soared above the NHS target earlier this year as the UK battled the first wave of the pandemic. The service isn’t limited to drivers and paramedics however, so read more about the roles you could take up below.

Ambulance care assistant and Patient Transport Service (PTS) driver

These professionals drive disabled, sick or vulnerable patients to and from their various medical appointments.

As well as safely driving a minibus, adapted ambulance or other vehicle types, your duties would include providing medical support in case of an emergency, as well as helping patients in and out and keeping them comfortable on route.

Call handler/emergency medical dispatcher

In this role your primary duty would be taking emergency calls from the public and ensuring they get the help they need as quickly as possible.

Call handlers log essential information regarding medical condition and location and pass it on for a medical dispatcher to arrange the right support. Both roles require an ability to stay calm and deal with stressful situations rationally.

Emergency care assistant

As an emergency care assistant you’ll work in ambulance crews sent out to 999 calls. As well as driving as quickly and safely as possible to locate patients, you could be required to carry out emergency care under the instruction of a senior paramedic.

You’ll need to be prepared to handle distressing situations and traumatised patients while making sure your ambulance is clean and fully stocked before each shift.

Emergency medical technician

On a similar level, emergency medical technicians can support paramedics or work alone to respond to emergency calls. You’ll still need safe driving skills and emergency medical knowledge, plus the ability to assess situations and make your own judgements.

PTS call handler

This role involves taking calls and booking transport for frail or vulnerable patients who need transporting to non-emergency health appointments, whether in local clinics, daycare centres or hospitals.

Similar to emergency call handlers, you’ll need to record information accurately and arrange the appropriate response.


Qualified paramedics are often first on the scene in emergency and non-emergency situations. You’ll need to ready to deliver a range of medical treatments in high pressure situations while instructing a support technician or assistant working alongside you.

This role requires the highest level of qualifications – though you could get funding to support your training.


A career in the ambulance service isn’t for the faint-hearted. But if you think you’re up to the task, it could be one of the most rewarding decisions you ever make.

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