Ambulance drivers are most often among the first to reach a scene where people requires medical attention. The job of an ambulance driver is to drive vehicles that carry ailing people and victims of accidents to hospitals. Apart from hospitals, ambulance drivers may work for the police, fire brigade and first aid squads apart from ambulance stations. They may also work for private ambulance services that provide invalid carrier service. The latter services include bring home a recovering patient from the hospital.
There are many ambulance drivers who work as volunteers or on a part-time basis. In many cases, the ambulance drivers may be trained personnel doubling up to give basic life support to very ill or injured people.
Ambulance drivers normally work about forty hours per week. They work very irregular hours and also on holidays. This profession can be a high pressure one as most ambulance calls normally mean life and death. The work requires a high degree of commitment due to the high pressure, irregular working hours and physically strenuous nature of the work.
Once you have completed the required education and training, you can apply for entry-level jobs in the medical field. Many companies offer on the job training by providing internship programs. Even if you are not able to get entry level jobs as an ambulance driver, you can start with other positions like volunteer fire fighter and emergency services telephone dispatcher etc. and after gaining sufficient experience, attempt the ambulance driver’s job again. Although it is one of the most humble of professions, it is also the noblest.
Ambulance Driver Job Responsibilities
The responsibilities of an ambulance driver include driving an ambulance to ferry sick, injured or convalescent people. They also help in placing the patient on the stretcher and helping to load the stretcher into the ambulance, helped by the ambulance attendant. The ambulance driver drives the patient to the hospital or drives a convalescent patient to his destination. The ambulance driver needs to be a skillful driver who drives carefully avoiding any sudden motion and jerks which may be detrimental to the patient in the vehicle. His job may also include changing soiled linen on the stretcher. If at all first aid is required and there are no paramedics in the team, the ambulance driver will administer first aid for which he is already trained. This may involve bandaging, splinting and administering oxygen. If the need arises, he may have to shackle violent patients. The ambulance drivers are often trained as EMTs or Emergency Medical Technicians.
Among his other duties, an ambulance driver may need to report facts to law enforcement officials concerning the accident site or the state of the person when he went to take him to the hospital. Another responsibility of the Ambulance driver is replace all supplies and disposable items on ambulances and to ensure that the vehicle is fully stocked and is ready to attend an emergency call.
The ambulance driver needs to assess a situation quickly and act accordingly. He should be knowledgeable in customer and personal service. The ambulance driver also should be well-versed in the knowledge of equipment, policies and procedures to effectively help any kind of local or state operation for the purpose of protection of people.
Ambulance Driver Training and Education Requirements
Anybody aspiring to be an ambulance driver must be at least eighteen years old and hold a license to drive a bus and have a good driving or road history. An ambulance driver can also undergo training to become a paramedic in which case he must complete a formal training program and become certified. They then need to get recertified every two years. Some ambulance drivers have a Red Cross First-aid certification.
Ambulance drivers must have completed high school diploma or its equivalent which is the GED (General Educational Development) Test. A college degree is not essential. The candidate should be physically active and fit to perform the various functions of an ambulance driver.
Ambulance Driver Salary and Wages
The average salary expected by an ambulance driver in the United States is around $27,820 per annum. Benefits normally include paid holidays, health insurance and retirement plans.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Ambulance Driver Certifications
Ambulance driver’s certifications depend from state to state and country to country. Some countries like the US require the candidate to complete an Emergency Vehicle Operators course. Other short courses related to health care, community services and reading comprehension are very desirable. A certified course in cardiopulmonary resuscitation is very useful for an Ambulance driver. A course in first aid and lifesaving from any local agency or recreation center adds further value to the candidature.
Ambulance Driver Professional Associations
National association of Emergency Medical Technicians and American Ambulance Association are some of well-known the professional associations of ambulance drivers.