How To Become A Paramedic
There are 2 main ways to become a paramedic.
1. Train with an ambulance service to obtain your paramedic qualification
2. Train at university to get a Paramedic degree
Train on the job with an ambulance trust.
Initially I was looking to train on the job. It means getting paid whilst you train, which sounded good to me, and also you’ve got a job at the end of it! As with many things, once I did a lot of research I found things are not always what they seem.
Entering the service this way is extremely difficult. I spoke to 3 different ambulance trusts and non had recruited trainees for at least 2 years and none had plans for the next year either. Budget constraints were quoted as being the main reason along with the changes in university courses.
Basically they can get freshly trained paramedic students without having to pay to train them! It seems this trend will grow and trainee positions will become even scarcer, especially over the next few years of budget cuts.
So, after some months of drawing a blank down this route I started to investigate degree courses. Here lie 2 options again.
1. A halfway house – if you can get a job in the ambulance service as something else, e.g. an emergency care assistant or even in the control room, you can then ask the service to sponsor you on a uni course to get your degree.
Of course you’d need to be with the service a while, perhaps a couple of years, and then study part time for a further 3 to 4 years on average. It’s not a bad option as you’re paid but to me it seemed a long way round and also somewhat insecure. I couldn’t be sure they’d train me.
2. Go to uni and get a degree in Paramedic Science or Practise. Each uni seems to have a different title but as long as their course is approved by the HPC then it will give you certification as a paramedic upon completion.
Now, I’m not really the university sort so this didn’t immediately appeal. I thought it would be costly and mean 3 to 4 years of living at uni and not earning. Hhhhmmm.
What I’m Doing
Not to be put off I did more research.
Different universities offer different course structures ranging from 2 to 4 years. After getting all the info from universities within reach (I can’t afford to move out of home whilst I study) I found great differences in their courses. Now another aspect came into the picture
Which trust do you want to train with? I knew I wanted to train with the London Ambulance Service. The’re the busiest service in the country and one of the busiest in the world. Nothing else would do! So that narrowed it down to 3 uni’s who work with the LAS. Of these 2 are within reach and of those 2, one offers a 4 year sandwich course and the other a 2 year ‘all in’ course.
I most definitely want to attend the 2 year ‘all in’ course. The more I found out the better it is for me. The course delivery fits my home educated learning style perfectly. It involves work placements (with the LAS) of 4-6 weeks, then 4-6 weeks of theory work undertaken mostly at home via distance learning and eLearning platforms with 2 days a week in attendance at the uni. A perfect match.
So I have applied for this Paramedic Science course at St. Georges in London and am waiting to hear if I will get an interview.
Another bonus – they are prepared to consider alternative educational achievements rather then the usual standard exams. Important for me having been home educated. See more on my ‘education’ page.
So I’ll let you know on my blog when I hear about my application.