A day as a paramedic

Today you're on the Saturday evening shift, and arrive at your local hospital at 6pm. Within minutes, your ambulance is called to the centre of town, where two cars have collided, and a passenger has suffered a head injury. You quickly establish the injured passenger's condition isn't life threatening and, with the help of your ambulance technician, treat the head injury at the scene. After police and fire services arrive, you're called to the home of an elderly woman who is suspected to have had a stroke. You carry out preliminary assessment and treatment, then take her to hospital where she can be treated. Every day is varied and fast-paced, and although work is tiring it is very rewarding.

Does this sound like you?

You're calm under pressure, and are good at putting people at ease, even if they're distressed or aggressive. You're responsible, caring and enjoy helping others

What's next after GCSE?

You'll need a minimum of five 9-4 (A*-C) grade GCSEs (or the equivalent), including maths, English and science. If you go onto do further study - such as A levels or an equivalent level 3 qualification, you would have a wider range of options open to you, to become a paramedic.

What's next after A level and beyond?

There are three ways to become a paramedic. You could take a full-time approved foundation degree, diploma of higher education or degree in paramedic science/practice at university. Alternatively, you could apply for a post with an ambulance service trust as a student paramedic or degree apprenticeship in paramedic science (which some ambulance service trusts run) and study part-time while you're working.

For the full-time university route, you'll usually need at least 2 A levels (or equivalent level 3 qualifications), depending on the course. For the student paramedic route, good GCSE grades may be sufficient, and so you may not need A levels. For degree apprenticeships in paramedic science, you'll usually need the same level of GCSEs and A levels or equivalent qualifications as a full-time university course.

However, whichever route you choose, you must check with the university or ambulance service trust to find out what their requirements are, as they set their own.