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Ambulance Technician career guide

Ever fancied working on the front line and helping people? You could just cut it as an ambulance technician.

Safeera Sarjoo
16th February 2016
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What is an ambulance technician?

Whether your interest in this line of work stems from your love of medical dramas or an innate desire to help others, ambulance technicians work on the front line alongside paramedics. They respond to accident and emergency calls including planned, unplanned and non emergency cases and provide support to patients they tend to. The nature of this role means that ambulance technicians treat both minor wounds and serious injuries.

On the job you will be expected to wear a uniform consisting of a bright jacket and protective boots. Although the main purpose of an ambulance technician is to help people, there are instances where you will face some difficult situations involving emotionally distressed patients as well as verbally aggressive individuals if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Interestingly enough, though the NHS employs ambulance technicians, it’s no longer possible to enter the industry as an ambulance technician. These roles have been replaced by Emergency Care Assistants who now assist paramedics on calls out. However this role is still very much active in Scotland where you can still enter the industry as an Ambulance Technician.  

What are their responsibilities?

Being an ambulance technician will mean that you have a lot of hands on experience with patients. Some of your responsibilities will involve you

  • Assessing people and taking a basic personal and medical history
  • Identify life and non-life threatening conditions thorough risk assessments
  • Use advanced life support techniques, such as electric shocks to resuscitate patients
  • Dress wounds, control bleeding and apply supports to broken bones
  • Manage a patients airways and support their breathing if they’re having difficulty
  • Provide drugs and fluids if needed by patients
  • Producing thorough notes and reporting patient’s history to hospital staff

In addition to tending to patients, ambulance technicians also make routine checks on their vehicles, ensuring they’re clean as well as store and check equipment. They keep in touch with the ambulance dispatch team while on the road. As an ambulance technician, it is likely that you will be on the road a lot and when tending to patients there is the possibility that there will be heavy lifting and bending required when loading patients into an ambulance or transporting them into a hospital unit.

What charactertistics/skills suit this role?

An essential skill ambulance technicians will need is the ability to drive under emergency conditions as well as manage and respond to a changing workload.

Other characteristics and qualities needed includes,

  • A sincere desire to help and care for other people
  • Good listening, spoken and written communication skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Good decision making skills
  • Remaining calm under pressure
  • Working knowledge of medical practices to treat people
  • Physical and emotional stamina

Entry Requirements and Training

Following a major review, it is increasingly difficult to enter the ambulance service as a trainee ambulance technician.  Most services are phasing out this role altogether and replacing it with Emergency Care Assistants who accompany paramedics when out on the road – very similar to ambulance technicians. Qualified technicians are expected to attend regular training sessions to keep their skills up to date.

As an ambulance technician, there is room for progression. You could take up opportunities in the ambulance control room or progress to a paramedic.

Given that new entrants aren’t able to enter as trainee ambulance technicians, you would need to enter the industry as an emergency care assistant. There are no set requirements to become an ECA, however most employers will expect you to have good standards of literacy and numeracy and you may be asked for qualifications such as GCSEs or NVQs.

Experience is important to gaining entry into this line of work so if you have previously worked with elderly and disabled people in either paid or voluntary environments, this will be useful in working in this industry. 


Check out our Ambulance based training courses and get your career started in this vital role.

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