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What Qualifications Do You Need to be an Ambulance Driver?

HGV Training Centre

In these uncertain times, thousands of people are opting to change careers and flock to support the NHS in any way they can. If you’re a keen driver, then you might decide now is the perfect time to retrain and become an ambulance driver. And you’re not wrong! Being an ambulance driver is an incredibly rewarding career choice, as anyone who drives one will tell you. It’s one of those jobs where no two days are ever the same (really, and not just on paper), you’re always learning new skills, and while there may be some lows along the way, you also get some incredible highs. And with Covid-19 shining a light on just how valuable medical staff – including paramedics and ambulance drivers – are, there has never been a better time to start your new career.

How Long Does It Take To Become An Ambulance Driver?

So, unlike some other careers where you can hop from one to the other and pick things up quickly, becoming an ambulance driver is a pretty slow process. For one, you need to be a trained paramedic, and unless you have these skills already, they take time to pick up. The medical training to become a paramedic is usually split into parts – some of it is done in a traditional medical school setting, while some are done on the job part-time, to help you gain experience. This means you’ll have the knowledge to help patients, and the ability to handle stressful situations calmly. On average, it takes around 5 years to complete paramedic training, and by the end of it, you have either degree or a diploma of higher education in paramedic science. 

Do I Need A HGV Licence?

Yes. No two ways around it I’m afraid. Even if you want to focus on the medical idea of being a paramedic, you will still be required to take your turn behind the wheel and drive the ambulance. And since modern ambulances weigh around 5 tonnes, that puts it into the HGV class. That means you need a Cat1 licence, which lets you drive any vehicle up to 7.5 tonnes. This will allow you to understand and operate your ambulance safely, which is a pretty key part of being an ambulance driver! The best way to get this qualification is to sign up with a reputable HGV driving school, who will be able to guide you through every element, from gaining your Driver CPC to studying and training for your Cat 1 licence.

What Could I Earn?

That’s the question, isn’t it? Knowing how much you’ll earn before moving careers is smart, and the good news is that ambulance drivers and technical staff do attract a pretty decent salary. Generally, a paramedic driver can expect to ear around £29K a year fresh out of training, and up to £36K once you have a little more experience. So not only is driving an ambulance a rewarding career, but it pays well too.

At The HGV Training Centre, we work closely with people who want to take the first steps on a new HGV journey. While you might not think of an ambulance as an HGV, you are still required to hold a Driver CPC and a Cat 1 licence if you want to work in the ambulance service. That’s where we can help. We provide in-depth training, guidance and support through your journey, and celebrate with you as you become an ambulance driver. If you would like to know more about our HGV training services, just get in touch with the team today.

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