Becoming a Paramedic

Routes to Entry

There are three routes into paramedicine:

  • BSc. in Paramedic Science
  • Student Paramedic
  • Apprenticeship

BSc. in Paramedic Science

Costs £9,250/yr for three years (total £27,750).

Options:

  • BSc. (Hons) at University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), Preston
  • BSc. (Hons) at University of Cumbria (UCum), Lancaster
  • BSc. at University of East Anglia (UEA), Norwich

Pros:

  • Student benefits for three years
  • [UCum & UCLan] Stay in Lancaster

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • [UCum] Requires A-Level (+£395) and provisional C1
  • [UEA] Requires Open Univeristy Certificate in Health Sciences course
  • [UEA] Not an Honours degree

Student Paramedic

Salary of £21,089/yr (band 4) for 3 years.

Options:

Pros:

  • Learn on the job
  • No cost
  • [NWAS] Stay in Lancaster

Cons:

  • [WMAS] Must be able to demonstrate strong links to the West Midlands geographic area, almost always demonstrated by living within the area for 5 years
  • [EEAS] Don’t seem to have offered this since 2014
  • [EEAS] Have a bad rep as a trust to work for
  • [EMAS, NWAS] Internal only

Degree Apprenticeship

Recently approved, no examples exist yet. Maybe band 2 salary (£17,652/yr)?

Options:

  • NWAS

Pros:

  • Learn on the job
  • No cost
  • [NWAS] Stay in Lancaster

Cons:

  • [NWAS] Likely to require AAP as a pre-requisite. Associate Ambulance Practitioner (AAP) is a 1-yr course that costs ~£6,000.

Alternatives

  • St John Ambulance (SJA) Emergency Care Assistant (ECA)
  • NHS Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • NHS ECA

SJA ECA

Salary £20,333/yr (£8.75 probation, £9.31 qualified).

Options:

  • Norwich (current listing closes before I’ll be an EMT)
    • reqs emergency driving quals
  • Bicester (ditto)
    • reqs C1 license

Cons:

  • [Norwich] Reqs emergency driving quals
  • [Bicester] Reqs C1 license

NHS EMT

Salary £21,089–23,761/yr (band 4)

Options:

  • A few

Cons:

  • Reqs ICHD Level 3/BTEC

NHS ECA

Salary £16,053.48/yr plus unsocial enhancements (band 3).

  • A few

Financing

This section will detail how to get around the issue of funding a BSc.—£9,250/yr with no student loan available is nothing to sniff at.

More detail on my personal finances and budgeting is available here. In short, I would need to reduce my variable expenses to -£12,748.28/yr (-£1,062.36/mo) to save £9,250 for a year’s tuition. After deducting my fixed costs, that leaves me with -£284.21/mo, or just over -£70/wk, for everything else. As luck would have it, I’m currently managing to hit almost exactly that target and plan to whittle myself down to -£50.00/wk.

During first year I would have to make an average of £177.88/wk (£770.83/mo) after rent, bills and subsistence to have enough to pay for second year by the start of it, assuming no loans or other financial assistance. This is unlikely to be possible with part-time work.

I can do 1 year of full-time reserve service (FTRS) with 335 Medical Evacuation Regiment (335 MER) in place of the third year, with a salary of £18,000 (£22,000 if LCpl by that point).

The Army will also give me £175/yr for up to 80% of a course through the Standard Learning Credits (SLC) scheme.

So the big sticking point would be getting that money for the second year.

Courses of Action

  1. Apply for uni by mid-Jan 2020. Get C1 license. Continue to do KTP to save up money. Resign in Aug. Start course in Sep. Figure out how to afford second year during first year. Do Army FTRS for third year.
    Result: Registered paramedic by Sep 2023 (27yo).
  2. Apply for uni by mid-Jan 2020. Get C1 license. Resign from KTP. Find work until Sep. Start course. Figure out how to afford second year during first year. Do Army FTRS for third year.
    Result: Registered paramedic by Sep 2023 (27yo).
  3. Apply for uni by mid-Jan 2021. Get C1 license. Continue KTP to completion. Start course. Do Army FTRS for third year.
    Result: Registered paramedic by Sep 2024 (28yo).
  4. Abandon paramedicine. Get C1 license. Get a job as an SJA ECA.
    Result: ECA by Sep 2021 (25yo). No obvious path to paramedicine.
  5. Get C1 license. Complete/resign from KTP. Start an AAP course instead for one year. Get a job as an NHS EMT. With my foot in the door of an ambulance service, look for opportunities to elevate to paramedic on the job (e.g., degree apprenticeship). I could even see if they’d let me do the final year with the Army, as from their point of view it’ll basically be them not having to pay me for a year.
    Result: EMT by Sep 2022 (26yo). Potential for paramedicine without uni.
  6. Complete/resign from KTP. Do a moblisation with the Army Reserves.
    Result: Working in pre-hospital care by Sep 2021 (25yo). No obvious path to paramedicine.
  7. Abandon pre-hospital care. Continue with information security and doing St John Ambulance on the side.
    Result: Ambulance work immediately, but only part-time.

Regardless of the course of action chosen, all require the acquisition of a C1 driving license.