Share this page

Select an icon:

Job Photographs

  • An ambulance parked inside an ambulance unit.

    This is a patient transport service (PTS) ambulance.

  • A man is standing behind an ambulance, guiding it onto a road.

    Guiding the ambulance onto the road.

  • A man is standing next to a patient who's lying down on a stretcher.  The man is holding an oxygen mask over the patient's face.

    Giving the patient oxygen on the ambulance.

  • A man and a woman are standing either side of a stretcher.  They are helping a man to lie down on the stretcher.

    Helping a patient onto a stretcher.

  • A man is sitting up on a stretcher.  A woman is standing behind him, adjusting the stretcher's headrest.  A man is fastening a safety strap around the stretcher.

    Securing the patient to the stretcher.

  • A man and woman are guiding a patient on a stretcher up a ramp and onto the ambulance.

    Loading the patient onto the ambulance.

  • A man and woman are talking on the ambulance.  The woman is standing, while the man is sitting down.

    Reassuring the patient on the ambulance.

  • A woman is sitting behind the steering wheel of an ambulance.  Beside her, a man is talking on a mobile phone.

    Keeping in touch with the control centre.

  • Ambulance Care Assistant

Ambulance Care Assistant


Ambulance care assistants deal with the routine, non-emergency transport of patients to and from hospital. Patients are often older adults or disabled people.

Also known as

  • Patient Transport Service (PTS) Driver
  • Scheduled Care Coordinator

Work Activities

As an Ambulance Care Assistant, you will work on the non-emergency side of the ambulance service. You transport patients to and from hospitals, day centres and clinics for routine appointments. You work in the non-emergency service, known as the patient transport service or PTS.

The patients are usually older adults or disabled people. However, you work with any type of patient, including those with mental health problems and dementia. Ambulance Care Assistants usually drive specially designed vehicles with tail-lifts, although you might also pick up patients in a car.

You start each day at the ambulance station or unit. You stay in touch with the control room by radio all day, so the control room staff know where you are and can give you instructions.

You are responsible for patients' welfare throughout the journey, being able to lift, move and drive them safely and in comfort. You also have to reassure anxious patients, gently explain the situation to patients who are confused, and generally treat each person in a way that enables them to keep their dignity. Sometimes, you might have to gently persuade patients to leave their homes, or to leave the ambulance at the end of the journey.

You might need to lift some patients from wheelchairs. Ambulance Care Assistants must be very skilled in moving and handling techniques, using special equipment when needed.

Ambulance Care Assistants have first aid and basic life-support skills, in case they need to use these while they are driving patients.

You have to check, clean and disinfect the ambulance and restock any supplies. You have to keep up-to-date incident and patient records.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become an Ambulance Care Assistant, you'll need:

  • the ability to get on with people from all backgrounds
  • to be friendly and caring
  • a strong sense of responsibility
  • communication skills, for example, to talk to patients, hospital staff and representatives of other organisations, such as social services
  • patience, sensitivity and tact
  • the ability to reassure anxious patients and explain what's happening to patients who are confused
  • quick, calm reactions in emergency situations
  • physical fitness because this is an active job
  • the ability to use maps and follow directions easily

You must have a full manual driving licence. If you passed your driving test after 1996, you may need to take an extra driving qualification.

Pay and Opportunities


NHS employees are paid on a rising scale within defined pay bands, according to their skills and responsibilities. The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Starting - Band 2: £17,652 - £19,020
  • With experience - Band 3: £18,813 - £20,795

Hours of work

Ambulance Care Assistants usually work 37.5 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

Where could I work?

Employers are NHS and private health company ambulance services.

Opportunities for Ambulance Care Assistants occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on the NHS Jobs website, on job boards, at Jobcentre Plus, on the Find a Job website, and in local newspapers.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

The local ambulance service trusts in England and the national services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each set their own entry requirements.

All applicants must have a full manual driving licence. If you passed your driving test after 1996, you might need to take an extra driving qualification so you can drive larger vehicles or carry passengers. Some services will pay for you to take this extra driving training; you should check the situation with your local ambulance service trust.

All entrants must pass a medical examination.


Ambulance Care Assistants in the NHS have a two to three week training course, learning moving and handling techniques, first aid, basic patient care skills and safe driving techniques. There are assessments and exams.

After your training, you will usually work closely with your Supervisor to start with, before starting to work unsupervised.

In this role you may be required to complete a care certificate before starting work. Take a look at our information article care certificate for more information.


You could take further training to become an Emergency Care Assistant. Then, after more training, experience and entrance exams, it might be possible to apply for a Student Paramedic position.

Work Experience

Some entrants have relevant work experience and/or qualifications in areas such as health and care services.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act

This career is an exception to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that you must supply information to an employer about any spent or unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands or warnings, if they ask you to.

This is different from other careers, where you only have to reveal information on unspent convictions if you are asked to.


Each local or national ambulance service trust sets its own entry requirements.

Many ambulance trusts ask for some GCSEs or similar qualifications at level 2.

It should also help if you can show relevant skills and knowledge gained through work experience.

You must have a full manual driving licence. If you passed your test after 1996, you may need to take an extra driving qualification.

You should contact your local ambulance service trust for their requirements.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.


Some entrants have relevant work experience and/or qualifications in areas such as health and care services.


  • 13% of people in occupations such as ambulance care assistant work part-time.

Further Information

NHS Wales Careers

Publisher: National Leadership and Innovation Agency for Healthcare



Northern Ireland Ambulance Service HSC Trust

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Site 30, Knockbracken Healthcare Park, Saintfield Road, Belfast BT8 8SG

Tel: 028 9040 0999



NHS Jobs


Scottish Ambulance Service

Scottish enquiries

Address: Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB

Tel: 0131 3140000


Step into the NHS

NHS careers

Tel: 0345 6060655


Skills for Health

Skills for the health sector

Address: Goldsmiths House, Broad Plain, Bristol BS2 0JP

Tel: 0117 9221155



The Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust


St John Ambulance Cadets

Address: St John Ambulance, 27 St John's Lane, London EC1M 4BU


People Exchange Cymru (PEC)

Public sector recruitment portal for Wales



Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith


Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language