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Thinking about exploring a career as a paramedic? You might be thinking about whether you need a postgraduate degree to work in this field, or whether other types of medical qualification might be a better choice for you. A degree in paramedical science is a requirement to work in paramedic roles, but there are multiple routes in depending on your current level of education.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about studying paramedical science, why you should do a degree in the subject, the entry requirements, and where you could study.
Paramedical science, also known as paramedicine, is a specialist field of medicine that is focused on the provision of emergency medical care outside of a hospital or other clinical environment. Students of paramedicine will be trained in first response and emergency medicine, gaining the knowledge and skills needed to treat patients in a wide variety of environments, or effectively transport them to a medical facility.
You might pursue paramedical science in order to apply for a range of paramedic roles in various settings; you could find yourself saving lives in ambulances, helicopters, police stations and prisons, sports venues, hazardous or remote locations—as well as hospitals and medical practices.
It’s a highly challenging, fast-paced career that offers students the incredibly rewarding opportunity to save lives.
There are several different types of paramedical degrees that you can get at postgraduate level.
For students who have already completed an undergraduate degree in paramedical science, shorter postgraduate courses like the PGCert or PGDip may be an ideal way to gain further specialist knowledge and skills in a short time.
Full master’s paramedical degrees are a popular option. They’re suitable for paramedical graduates who are looking to expand their expertise and gain advanced skills, as well as graduates of other medical or allied disciplines who want to qualify as a paramedic.
Master’s and doctoral level research degrees in paramedical sciences, including the MRes and PhD, are also a possibility. These in-depth research qualifications will allow you to independently conduct research into the field, addressing the challenges that paramedics face around the world.
While the majority of paramedical science graduates will become paramedics, there are a lot of interesting options open to qualified paramedics when it comes to job roles.
You might think exclusively of ambulances but, while this is an essential role carried out by paramedics, you’ll be able to make a difference anywhere medical support might be needed away from hospitals.
Possible paramedical jobs include:
To enrol on a postgraduate paramedicine degree, you’ll typically need to have an undergraduate degree at 2:2 level or above. This may be in paramedical science, but could also be in a human science or healthcare subject—such as midwifery, nursing etc.
It’s also possible to successfully apply as a graduate of an unrelated field, but you’ll normally need to be able to show evidence of sufficient paramedicine knowledge from other sources and evidence of a minimum amount of experience in a direct care setting.
Grade C or above in GCSE science, maths and English may also be required in some cases.
There is a smaller range of paramedical science courses compared to broader areas like medicine, but there are still different options worth considering depending on your circumstances. You can use our course finder tool to explore which programme is most suitable for you.
Possible courses include:
There are various modules that you’ll usually cover as a paramedical science student, as well as a few that will be specific to the focus of your course. You might expect to study topics like:
During your paramedical degree, you’ll develop all the skills and knowledge needed to qualify as a paramedic—in fact, your course will conclude with receiving a professional qualification along with your degree certificate.
You’ll gain a comprehensive set of clinical skills, with a focus on the primary care settings and emergency medicine. Learning to work effectively with patients and other medical staff in high-pressure settings, while conscious of safety, ethics and policies, will stand you apart from other graduates.
Personal and transferable skills such as interpersonal communication, problem solving, leadership and managing others are also core parts of a paramedical science degree.
Some courses will provide specialist knowledge and training around human health and providing medical care in certain settings.
You’ll learn through a blend of classroom and practical learning, with a large amount of placement time being a staple part of nearly all paramedical science degrees.
Each course typically has a block of compulsory modules that cover essential learning and training, along with optional modules that allow you to focus on certain areas of paramedical science. An extended report, research project or dissertation are also options in many courses, allowing you to consolidate advanced learning and build research skills.
Teaching and training is delivered through lectures, workshops, discussions, lab simulations, clinical simulations and real placement experience.
Paramedical science degrees can vary in length. A PGCert qualification can take as little as one semester (a third of a year), while a full master’s degree may take anywhere between one and two years full-time. Part time master’s degrees can take between two and four years, depending on the course.
A doctorate in paramedical science will usually take three to four years, or longer if studied part-time.
There are plenty of options for studying paramedical science in the UK, though not all universities offer postgraduate courses in addition to undergraduate ones. The Postgraduate Search course finder tool is the perfect way to browse through your options.
You can study postgraduate paramedicine at universities including:
You might also be considering other subjects which are close to paramedicine in the type of training or careers they lead to. You could also study:
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