The Med Shed
What NHS career would suit you?

Assistant Ambulance Practitioner


Assistant Ambulance Practitioners respond in ambulances beside a paramedic or another suitably qualified member of staff and delivers urgent and emergency care to a wide range of patient groups.

Paramedics are usually the senior member of a two-person ambulance crew, with an Emergency Care Assistant or Technician to support them. You might work on your own, using a motorbike, emergency response car or you could work to provide advice over the telephone from a control room or clinical ‘hub’. In this role you could be:

  • checking a patient’s condition to decide what action to take
  • using electric shock equipment (a defibrillator) to resuscitate patients
  • carrying out surgical procedures like inserting a breathing tube
  • giving medicines and injections
  • dressing wounds and applying supports for broken bones
  • delivering a baby
  • working closely with the police and fire services
  • keeping accurate records and checking equipment


You will need to be able to understand a situation quickly, be confident, reassuring and calm in stressful situations.
You need to be resilient in dealing with other people’s strong emotions, be able to follow procedures, to work alone or in a team, to work quickly and carefully and be prepared to go into unknown situations.


To practise as an assistant ambulance practitioner, you must be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
To register you need to successfully complete an approved qualification in paramedic science.

There are three different routes to studying and qualifying as a paramedic. You can:

  • become a student paramedic with an ambulance service and study while you work
  • apply for a higher apprenticeship in paramedic science
  • take a full-time approved qualification in paramedic science (at a university, for example) and then apply to an ambulance service as a qualified paramedic. There are many local education providers where you can undertake qualifications.

You could start as a support role such as driver in the Patient Transport Service (PTS). Then with further training and experience you could apply for a training scheme as an assistant ambulance practitioner.

Entry is very competitive. It may help if you have volunteered with St John Ambulance, as a community first responder (known as a CFR) with an NHS ambulance trust or already worked in a supporting role.

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