How to become an urgent care desk paramedic: Becky's story

Meet Becky and learn more about life as an urgent care desk paramedic, helping patients over the phone. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Being on the road, I was able to help patients on a face-to-face basis. I'm now able to help them over the phone. It's a completely different job, but I still get the same satisfaction.

  • Becky is a senior paramedic within the Clinical Hub. 999 calls that don't require an emergency ambulance are directed to the Clinical Hub. Specialists such as mental health nurses, pharmacists or paramedics like Becky then work out the best way to help the patient
  • She compares her job to a private investigator. When you're a paramedic on the road, you can see a patient face-to-face but, on the phone, you need to ask the right questions to work out how to help them
  • Her journey to being a senior paramedic in the Clinical Hub began in college on a BTEC in Health Studies course followed by Paramedic Studies at university and time on the road as a paramedic.
Watch Becky's colleagues in action on BBC One's Ambulance.

Before being able to become a specialist paramedic, you will need to be a qualified paramedic and have at least two years' experience on the road. For more information about the opportunities for experienced paramedics to develop into more senior roles, check out NHS Health Careers.

What to expect if you want to become a paramedic

  • Paramedic average salary: NHS band 5-6. Read more about NHS bands. Salaries will differ in private healthcare.

  • Paramedic typical working hours: 36 to 38 hours per week. You work shifts, which could include evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

What qualifications do you need to be a paramedic?

  • Typical entry requirements:

    • You can train at university by doing a paramedic science degree that is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Full-time courses usually last three years and typically require two to three A-levels (or equivalent) to secure a place
    • You can also get into this role through a paramedic degree apprenticeship. There are no set entry requirements, but having four or five GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications such as A-levels (or equivalent) may help
    • Another option is to start as an ambulance care assistant and, with experience, apply for a place on a paramedic training scheme. If you apply for a training scheme as a student paramedic with an ambulance service, you would do your university paramedic qualification on the job
    • You could build experience by volunteering as a community first responder with an organisation like St John Ambulance or an NHS ambulance trust, or by completing a first aid certificate
    • Paramedics also drive ambulances. If you're old enough and legally able to do so, learning to drive would be a useful step towards this role.

Check out the NHS Health Careers website for more information about working as a paramedic.

This information is a guide and is constantly changing. Please check the National Careers Service website for the latest information and all the qualifications needed. (Sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service, NHS Health Careers).

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: National Careers service (England), nidirect (Northern Ireland), My World of Work (Scotland) and Careers Wales (Wales).

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