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In the UK, paramedics hold an important job of ensuring the general public receive immediate response and care in medical emergencies. The role of a paramedic is not easy or for everyone, so this guide will help you determine whether it’s a job for you and what an average paramedic salary and benefits package looks like.

Average paramedic salary ranges

When training to become a paramedic, most professionals move up the ranks as they gain more experience and education in the field. Consequently, they begin their career as a student paramedic or trainee, then progress to a more specialised paramedic, or even consultant. Therefore, those working in the sector begin on a student paramedic salary as they learn, then progress to a full paramedic starting salary once they have qualified, before moving up to more advanced paramedic salary ranges.

Paramedics in the UK typically work for the National Health Service (NHS) and therefore their salaries are banded by the ‘agenda for change’ pay scale. Usually, a paramedic’s starting salary will begin at band five and progress to band six after two years in the role.

The annual average NHS paramedic salaries across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are:

  • Trainee paramedic salary - £24,907 to £31,365 (band 5)

  • Newly qualified paramedic salary - £31,365 to £38,890 (band 6)

  • Team leaders or senior paramedics who have undertaken extensive skills training in critical care - £38,890 to £45,753 (band 7)

  • Consultant paramedic salary - £45,753 to £75,914 (band 8)

The annual average NHS paramedic salaries across Scotland are:

  • Trainee paramedic salary - £25,100 to £31,800 (band 5)

  • Newly qualified paramedic salary - £31,800 to £39,300 (band 6)

  • Team leaders or senior paramedics - £39,300 to £49,480 (band 7)

  • Consultant paramedic salary - £49,480 to £85,811 (band 8)

Paramedic salaries outside of the NHS may vary depending on the organisation and sector.

Paramedic salaries in London

The elevated cost of living associated with living in and around the capital means that paramedics working in the London area receive higher salaries.

The region is split into three areas for salary purposes – inner London, outer London and ‘fringe’. Paramedics working in these bands receive the following:

  • Inner London: an extra 20% of basic salary, with a minimum of £4,608 and a maximum of £7,097

  • Outer London: an extra 15% of basic salary, with a minimum of £3,898 and a maximum of £4,967

  • Fringe: an extra 5% of basic salary, with a minimum of £1,066 and a maximum of £1,845

Annual leave entitlement

As the emergency ambulance service operates all day, every day, a paramedic normally works on a shift basis, which consists of on average four days on that span approximately 37.5 hours, followed by four or five days off. Likewise, it is part of the duties to work weekends, night shifts and bank holidays, as well as undertake on-call duties.

Typically, a paramedic receives 27 days of annual leave from their employer in addition to the time they are off shift, which would include bank holidays. However, this may be subject to change depending on time in lieu, hours worked, job sharing (which is usual in this field) and increased days due to length of service.

Paramedic benefits

Alongside salary, NHS paramedics generally have the opportunity to benefit from the following perks:

  • Enrolment on the NHS pension scheme which follows a final salary programme that pays out on the average career earnings when you retire

  • Access to the NHS discounts platform

  • Relocation packages (if eligible)

  • Opportunities for study leave to improve skills and training

  • Access to occupational health and counselling services

Professional development

When paramedics start their career, typically they’ll be provided with on-the-job training to help them become familiar with the role and service - this also includes having a more experienced or senior colleague as a mentor.

UK rules stipulate you must be registered to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) to practise as a paramedic - complying with its regulations. As part of this, paramedics have to regularly carry out continuing professional development (CPD), which can include:

  • Work-based learning, such as shadowing senior team members

  • Independent learning, such as reading professional publications or joining interest groups

  • Undertaking a formal education programme

By participating in these activities, it allows paramedics to progress into a specialist role or management position.

Career progression

Paramedics can move into more senior or other medical roles depending on experience and further training. Pursuing this not only allows for an increase in salary and responsibilities but enables you to work as an emergency care practitioner (ECP), where you could work in the following environments:

  • GP surgeries

  • Hospital A&E departments

  • Minor injury units

  • Health centres

Likewise, there are also opportunities to move into a managerial role in the emergency services control room or, with further training, move to specialist work with air ambulance or critical care and trauma units.

To find out more about salaries for roles across a variety of sectors, download our salary guides now.