Become a Paramedic
PARAMEDIC HIGHER EDUCATION (University) PROGRAMMES - Direct Entry - Leading to eligibility to register as a Paramedic
The introduction of the Health Professions Order (2001) required certain health care professionals including 'Paramedics' to register with the regulatory body the Health Professions Council with effect from July 2003. Since then all programmes of education that lead to eligibility to apply to the register have been approved by the [now] Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC Standards of Education and Training (2017) currently sets the entry level to the register at ‘equivalent to Certificate of Higher Education for Paramedics' (HE level 4/SCQF level 7). However, the Paramedic Evidence Based Education Project (PEEP) Report recommended that the threshold entry level to the Paramedic Register is raised to BSc (Hons) degree by 2019. The HCPC will be conducting a consultation on SET 1 from October 2017 – January 2018 regarding this. Most BSc (Hons) degree programmes are three years in duration and students undertake academic study in each year at the following levels:
- 120 credits HE Level 4/SCQF level 7 - Certificate
- 120 credits HE Level 5/SCQF level 8 - Diploma
- 120 credits HE Level 6/SCQF level 9/10 - Degree
During the past decade, Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) have developed Paramedic Science programmes in partnership with Ambulance Services that exceed the HCPC academic entry level, and are described below.
Foundation Degree (FD or FdSc) in Paramedic Science or Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) in Paramedic Science
These programmes are generally of two years, full-time duration and academically equate to HE level 5/SCQF level 8. In year 1 students undertake academic study and vocational placements at level 4/SCQF level 7. In year 2 they continue the academic study and vocational placements at level 5/SCQF level 8.
Bachelor of Science, (BSc) or Bachelor of Science with Honours, BSc (Hons)
These programmes are generally three years, full-time duration and include academic study and vocational placements at level 4/SCQF level 7 in year 1, academic study and vocational placements at level 5/SCQF level 7 in year 2 and then academic study and vocational placements at level 6/SCQF level 9 in year 3. Currently in Scotland, a BSc (Hons) is of four-year duration and requires study at SCQF level 10.
A full list of current approved programmes leading to eligibility for Paramedic registration can be found at:
Academic & Vocational Entry Requirements
For individuals that do not have the appropriate academic credits several institutions accept various access qualifications, including undertaking appropriate access qualifications (Check individual University entry criteria). Due to the nature of paramedic practice there will be a requirement to undertake a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in England and Wales, Access Northern Ireland or the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme Scotland, and an occupational health assessment. Some education providers also require individuals to complete a fitness test. Others require the applicant to hold a full UK manual driving licence with either C1 or Provisional C1 status.
Applying for a Higher Education (University) Paramedic Programme
After selecting an appropriate programme(s) of study an application would be submitted via the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service UCAS system at: www.ucas.com
PARAMEDIC HIGHER EDUCATION PROGRAMMES - Ambulance Clinicians - Leading to eligibility to register as a Paramedic
Existing Ambulance Clinicians
Some Higher Education Institutions (universities) deliver the afore mentioned programmes; Foundation Degree, Diploma of Higher Education, BSc and BSc (Hons) degree’s either on a part-time or flexible learning basis for existing ambulance clinical staff who wish to develop and become a Paramedic. Due to previous education and experience individuals may be eligible to apply for Recognised Prior Learning (RPL), previously also known as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) / Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). On successful completion of the programme they would be eligible to apply to the HCPC register as a Paramedic. A significant number of these programmes are sponsored /supported by employing trusts.
PARAMEDIC HIGHER EDUCATION (HE) PROGRAMMES - Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
Registered - Health and Care Professions Council - Paramedics - (Without an HE qualification)
For registered Paramedics without a higher educational qualification, Higher Education Institutions (universities) throughout the UK provide a range of professional continuing professional development programmes; including BSc (Hons) degrees. Similar to the afore mentioned, individuals may be eligible to apply for Recognised Prior Learning (RPL), previously also known as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) / Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). Pending on the level of RPL awarded they register onto the BSc (Hons) degree, and undertake module/courses at the appropriate academic level. These programmes are usually part-time and are 'accredited' by the University; on successful completion individuals are awarded the appropriate HE/SCQF qualification.
Registered - Health and Care Professions Council - Paramedics - (With an HE qualification)
For registered paramedics with a higher educational qualification, Higher Education Institutions (universities) throughout the UK provide a range of professional continuing professional development programmes; including BSc (Hons) degrees, Masters Degree (MSc), and professional doctorates (PhD). An example of this would be a registrant who graduated with a BSc (Hons), and decides to develop as a Specialist Paramedic in Urgent and Emergency Care. They undertake the appropriate studies at HE level 7/SCQF level 11, studying part-time and achieve a Post-Graduate Diploma (PGDip) on successful acquisition of 120 credits at HE level 7/SCQF level 11. Alternatively, an existing Specialist Paramedic may decide to continue their CPD and complete an appropriate MSc degree in their area of speciality to be eligible to apply for an Advanced Paramedic position.