Ambulance drivers typically are employed by hospitals and medical or ambulance companies. Their responsibilities include transporting patients quickly and safely and also helping them board and unboard the ambulance. Because they need to lift patients every day, they must be in good physical health and have stamina. While driving through the streets, they must follow all safety protocols around pedestrians and other vehicles on the roads. They also need to know first aid protocol. Other duties may include helping out with other tasks inside the medical facility. In addition, they are expected to maintain the ambulance, keeping it cleaned and fuelled at all times. If you are interested in a career as an ambulance driver in the UK, here is what you need to know.
You need to obtain a driving license in the C1 category for vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg. To get that, you must complete the training course for C1 vehicles for the weight class. This will teach you how to drive a large vehicle in that weight class safely. In addition, you also must complete specialized training for driving an ambulance.
There are two approaches to getting a job as an ambulance driver in the UK.
1) Get the appropriate paramedic’s science degree from a university. The full course teaches you all you need to know in order to get your license. There are different programs and courses available, offered through various methods including online courses. To get your diploma, you must complete three A-levels in science and other related elective courses. The program is demanding, but if you have a strong aptitude in academics and usually do well in your studies, you can be successful with this approach. After you get your degree and license, you will have the qualifications to apply for a job as an ambulance driver.
2) Be an apprentice ambulance driver. As an apprentice, you can learn to be an ambulance driver on the job and get paid at the same time. You are paired with an experienced driver who can train you in all aspects of your career. As mentioned above, there are many other facets to the career in addition to driving. An apprenticeship provides you with an opportunity to work closely with and learn from professional ambulance drivers. During your apprenticeship, your trainer will evaluate your performance and continue to help you improve your skills. If you are looking for event first aid then see here.
A related approach is to apply as a student paramedic while you are still enrolled in the university. This is similar to an apprenticeship. The difference is that you are working in the field while you are still in school. This provides you with an advantage over other students who are just involved with their academics because you are gaining valuable work experience. At the minimum, you must have five GCSEs. These must include math, English, and courses related to science or the healthcare field. These courses will help you become more well-rounded in your knowledge.
Besides education and training, there are other things that you can do to improve your chances of getting hired:
- Get some work experience in a healthcare field or hospital. This can be a part-time job or a volunteer position. The goal is to gain exposure to various aspects of healthcare so you can see what goes on behind the scenes relating to patient care. The more familiar you are with working in healthcare, the more prepared you will be when you apply for the job you want.
- Get any position in an ambulance service. By working there, you can see the daily demands that go with the job. Even though you might not have the licence yet, working there in a support position can open your eyes to world of ambulance driving.