When it comes to choosing a career path, research is the best way to narrow down your choices. Keep reading to find out helpful information about a career as an Ambulance Driver, including education, training and what skills are needed to succeed.
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What Does an Ambulance Driver Do?
Ambulance Drivers, or Paramedics, provide care for sick or injured people during emergency medical situations that take place outside of a medical facility. A 911 operator dispatches Ambulance Drivers to locations where there are people in need of immediate medical attention. Ambulance Drivers respond quickly to emergency calls, perform medical services and transport sick and injured people to hospitals. They often work closely with police officers and firefighters, depending on the nature of the emergency. They are also called on to transport patients from one medical facility to another, such as an elderly person to a long-term care facility. In the event of transporting a patient with a contagious disease, the Ambulance Driver would have to follow specific infection control protocols and notify the appropriate authorities in certain cases. Overall, the specific nature of an Ambulance Driver’s job depends on the state in which they work and the level of certification they possess.
Some common Ambulance Driver duties and responsibilities include:
Report observations of patients and treatment given to medical facility staff
Assist emergency medical technicians during emergency dispatch calls
Take inventory of supplies and disposable items on ambulances and replace as needed
Report factual information to medical staff or law enforcement personnel about accidents or emergencies
Administer first aid as needed to patients, such as giving oxygen, bandaging wounds or splinting
Ambulance Driver Skills
Some of the most important skills for an Ambulance Driver to possess are the ability to use logic and reasoning to approach problems, give full attention to what other people say, ask questions as needed and demonstrate sound judgment. Social perceptiveness is also helpful because it allows one to observe other people’s reactions and understand them. A willingness to serve others is important because much of the job involves dealing with people in need. In addition, an Ambulance Driver needs to be able to observe details about situations, remember them and report them to the others who need the information to successfully perform their jobs, such as nurses, doctors, police officers and firefighters.
Other key Ambulance Driver skills include:
Problem Sensitivity — Ambulance drivers need to be able to tell when a situation is unstable or is about to be unstable
Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your arm and hand steady when performing different tasks is key
Precise Control— Being able to adjust machines or vehicles in different positions to accomplish the task at hand is critical
How Do You Become an Ambulance Driver?
Education and Training
According to our analysis of online job postings, employers are looking for Ambulance Driver candidates who have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent. In addition, Ambulance Drivers need a valid driver’s license for the state in which they are employed. In some states, a special endorsement on the license may be required. Some employers desire that the Ambulance Driver have at least one to two years of experience driving an Ambulance and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) experience. Current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification may also be required.
Finding a job
Demand for Ambulance Drivers is developing at a much-faster-than-average rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 24 percent growth for the position through 2024, amounting to a total of 58,500 job openings for Ambulance Drivers during that period. The projected job openings will be due to various emergency situations in metropolitan areas, including violent acts, car accidents or natural disasters, which will create a demand for Ambulance Drivers. In addition, rural areas will also have a need for Ambulance Drivers. The middle-aged population will continue to age, which will inevitably lead to increases in health emergencies that plague older generations, such as heart attacks or strokes. In addition, it’s likely that more and more specialized medical care and treatment facilities will continue to appear, which will increase the need for Ambulance Drivers who can transport patients to these facilities or move them in between facilities, as needed, for treatment.
Every well-planned Ambulance Driver’s job search starts with crafting a high-quality resume that highlights your skills and experience. For help creating a resume, take a look at our library of Ambulance Driver’s resume samples.
Once your resume is ready for distribution, search online for Ambulance Driver job opportunities. As you search for openings, be sure to leverage your professional network, including people you worked with in the healthcare industry or during internships in the medical field.
When applying for Ambulance Driver positions, create a cover letter that expresses your interest in the position and highlights your qualifications and what you can bring to the role. Need some inspiration for your cover letter? Check out our collection of cover letter samples.
Insights from an Ambulance Driver
In this section you will find real world answers from some of the Ambulance Drivers we have interviewed. Take a look.
What is the common career path for an Ambulance Driver?
Required education is a high school diploma or equivalent. Apart from that, you need some certifications and licensures. An Emergency Vehicle Operator Course (EVOC) certificate, Basic Life Support (BLS) and CPR certificate are the most required from employers.
What should someone consider before becoming an Ambulance Driver?
Before considering to be an Ambulance Driver you should analyze your ability to drive under pressure in urgent scenarios. Sometimes you're going to have to run through red lights with a patient on board in a life or death situation or you might need to maneuver through cars strategically in order to avoid an accident. Another thing you should consider is if you have the ability to focus and make quick decisions on the fly.
What type of person excels in this job?
Nerves of steel people who don't buckle under high-pressure situations and can think rationally during any situation.
What are some of the most important skills for Ambulance Drivers to have?
The ability to think rationally in situations, have a sense of urgency and not let your feelings get in the way. Other important skills are dexterity, skillful driving, along with life-saving Paramedic techniques.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being an Ambulance Driver?
Being part of a life-saving team of professionals is something to feel very proud of. Being trained to handle life and death situations gives you a sense of self-worth and confidence that other jobs don't. Getting an injured patient to the hospital in time to save his or her life, is very rewarding.
How Much Do Ambulance Drivers Get Paid?
Ambulance Drivers earn a median hourly wage in the United States of over $15. The lowest-paid Ambulance Drivers make around $10 hourly, while the highest-paid can earn more than $36 per hour.
Top 10 States for Ambulance Driver’s Salary
Ambulance Drivers in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.:
Ambulance Driver Resources
Need more information? We put together this list of extra resources to assist you as you continue exploring a career as an Ambulance Driver.
On the Web
the most comprehensive online destination for pre-hospital emergency services
news and information resource for all those in the emergency medical services field
A Paramedic’s Story: Life, Death, and Everything In Between
First-person account of the daily life of a paramedic, Steven “Kelly” Grayson
Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary
a go-to resource for medical terminology and illustrations