Education and Training: License and training
Salary: Median—$24,722 per year
Employment Outlook: Excellent
Definition and Nature of the Work
Ambulance drivers and other ambulance personnel are often the first members of the medical team to reach a person in need of medical attention. Ambulance drivers operate vehicles that carry sick people and accident victims to hospitals. Ambulance drivers work for hospitals and for police, fire, and community first aid squads. They also work for private ambulance companies that provide emergency or invalid carrier service. Invalid carrier service is provided in a variety of situations, such as bringing a recovering patient from a hospital to a nursing home. In some communities, a large percentage of the ambulance drivers are volunteers. Some drivers, however, are salaried.
Ambulance drivers are often trained to serve as emergency medical technicians (EMTs). EMTs are able to give certain kinds of emergency care, which is called basic life support, when they reach a patient. Various levels of EMT training provide workers with basic, intermediate, or advanced skills. The most highly skilled EMTs are called paramedics.
Education and Training Requirements
Ambulance drivers must be at least eighteen years old, licensed to drive a bus, and have a good driving record. Some are required to have the Red Cross first-aid training certificate. To become an EMT or paramedic as well, ambulance drivers must complete a formal training program and become certified. They must be recertified every two years.
Getting the Job
You can apply directly to your local ambulance service or hospital for a job. If you are in school, ask your school's placement office for help in finding a job.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Ambulance drivers can advance to become EMTs or paramedics with the appropriate training and certification.
The employment of ambulance drivers, EMTs, and paramedics is expected to grow much faster than average through 2014. Municipal government and private ambulance services will provide the best opportunities for qualified ambulance drivers.
Ambulance drivers usually work forty hours a week. They work irregular hours including nights, weekends, and holidays. Since many ambulance calls involve matters of life and death, drivers work under intense pressure. Ambulance drivers may have to perform physically strenuous duties. The work is demanding and requires a high degree of commitment.
Where to Go for More Information
American Ambulance Association
8201 Greensboro Dr., Ste. 300
McLean, VA 22102
National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians
PO Box 1400
Clinton, MS 39060-1400
Earnings and Benefits
In early 2006 ambulance drivers earned a median salary of $24,722. Benefits usually include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans.