To be a paramedic in Northern Ireland you will have to follow a set career path in order to become fully qualified. According to the NHS, paramedics must have excellent driving skills, be calm and fast thinking, and have a high level of emergency care training. After working as a paramedic the next step will be to take further training, which will qualify you to be an emergency care practitioner (EPC) or work in an air ambulance crew. Though rewarding, being a paramedic is a career decision that should not be taken lightly. A paramedic can be called to the scene of a minor accident or something much more distressing, such as a serious auto accident. You will need to know that you can handle this type of environment and do your job well in it. According to the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, it attends to more than 100,000 calls a year.
Contact the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) to get details on what you'll need to do and to find training and job opportunities. The NIAS regularly advertises its job openings on its own website, in jobs offices and in the Belfast Telegraph.
Check your qualifications. The first step in training to become a paramedic in Northern Ireland is to work as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). The NIAS states that in order to train as an EMT you must have five GCSE's, all of which must be a grade C or higher. The five GSCE's must include English and math. There is a second option if you don't have five GCSE's. This option requires three GCSE's with at least grade of C, maths and English included, plus an Ambulance Care Award. If you go for the second option you will have to take the IHCD/EMT pretest. The final requirement for EMT applicants is to obtain a full driving licence that includes category D1 and C1.
Once your application for an EMT has been accepted by the NIAS you must successfully carry out 11 weeks of training. Two weeks of this training is dedicated to advanced driving. This training is followed by one year of evaluation, which includes an assessment that the trainee must past each quarter.
Work for two years as an EMT. Before you can apply to train as a paramedic in Northern Ireland you need two years of work experience as an EMT.
Apply for paramedic training. Once you have the required work experience you can apply to be a paramedic. Training, which lasts 12 weeks, is held at the Regional Ambulance Training Centre, local training centres and on the job. When you have completed the first 12 weeks of training you will be placed in a hospital for four weeks of assessment. When you pass your training and on the job evaluations you will finally be a fully qualified paramedic.
- Take your time when deciding whether or not your want to pursue a career as a paramedic. It is a job that requires good people skills and the ability to deal with high pressure and traumatic situations.
- Be patient. The NIAS states that it can take six months between the time you submit your application and acceptance.