Ambulance technicians work as part of an emergency team alongside paramedics, responding to emergency calls. They treat patients at the scene of an accident or their home, and decide if they should be transferred to hospital or other medical facility for further treatment.
You could be:
driving an ambulance to emergency calls, both 999 calls and doctors' urgent calls
driving, if necessary, at speed and through red lights while constantly watching for road hazards
assessing the patient’s condition and taking a basic medical history
deciding how to move and treat ill or injured patients
using equipment to help patients breathe or to support broken bones
assisting paramedics with patient care, for example administering drugs
making sure the patient is comfortable and secure at all times
handing over the patient to the medical or nursing staff at the hospital, giving them a factual and accurate verbal report of the patient’s condition
carrying out a daily inspection of the ambulance, ensuring equipment is in working order.
Ambulance staff who work for the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change scales. The current pay scales are from April 2023. Trained technicians start on £23,040 a year, and after successful completion of the Diploma in Emergency Care Support this rises to Band 5, £30,229 to £37,664 a year.
Your base would be the ambulance station or hospital but you would spend most of your time in an ambulance.
You would work shifts including evenings, nights and weekends.
The work can be physically demanding, so you should have a good level of fitness.
You may have to deal with distressing situations.
You have to go out in all weathers and may cover a large geographical area.
You would wear a uniform, or sometimes other protective clothing such as helmet or high visibility jacket.
For entry you would require a minimum of National 4 English and Maths.
All applicants must pass the Scottish Ambulance Service entrance test including occupational fitness test, competency based interview and occupational health screening.
You must have a full current Category C1 driving licence at least 6 weeks before you begin training. You must have no more than 3 penalty points.
You must have some experience working with the public, preferably in a care environment.
You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
Job vacancies appear on the myjobscotland and NHS jobs websites. Most ambulance work is with the NHS, but there are also jobs with the armed services. There are some private ambulance companies around the UK including one or two in Scotland.
able to get on with people from all backgrounds and of all ages
patient and understanding – you will be dealing with patients who may be distressed or in pain
reliable and responsible
able to work well in a team
adaptable and quick-thinking
able to remain calm
able to work well under pressure.
You will be enrolled onto the bespoke clinical programme which will lead to a Diploma for Ambulance Technicians, which is delivered in one of the Scottish Ambulance Service's regional training centres.
Training takes up to 16 months - for the first 14 weeks you will be based at one of the regional centres of the Scottish Ambulance Service, which includes a 4-week Emergency Response Driving Course.
During the placement, you would complete a portfolio of learning to gain the Certificate in Emergency Response Driving (SQCF Level 6).
You could go on to complete the Diploma of Higher Education in Paramedic Practice to qualify as a paramedic.
You might gain promotion to be an Accident and Emergency Team Leader or PTS (Patient Transfer Service) manager.