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So, you want to earn your licence to drive an ambulance. It’s a great career choice and, to a certain extent, a noble calling. But did you know that ambulance driver training is a bit different from the training received to drive a lorry? It’s not necessarily more difficult, just different.

If you are learning to drive a lorry most of your training centres on operating heavy, oversized vehicles safely, balancing loads, vehicle inspections, and general highway safety. If you are earning your licence to drive a bus or coach, you need additional training relating directly to passenger transport and safety. If you want to become an ambulance driver, there is yet more to learn.

Dealing Directly with Patients

Whether an individual drives in an emergency capacity or for casual patient transport, the one thing all ambulance drivers have in common is their “cargo.” They all transport patients to and from healthcare facilities and homes. In almost every case, patients have some sort of medical complication that requires ambulance transport rather than a standard passenger car. This added medical condition requires extra training for a driver.

In addition to the standard HGV/PCV instruction, ambulance driver training also includes at least a minimum of emergency first aid as well as the practical skills of moving, loading, and unloading patients. You will also learn safe driving techniques directly related to the passengers you will one day be carrying.

Who Needs an Ambulance licence

Every ambulance driver needs at least a full, manual licence. Some may not need an HGV licence if the ambulance they will be driving meets certain weight requirements and has limited seating capacity. However, even drivers who do not need an HGV licence may still need certain certifications including NVQ and GCSE.

If the gross weight of an ambulance exceeds 3.5 tonnes, an LGV1 licence will be required. Vehicles in excess of 7.5 tonnes will require an HGV licence. Ambulances with a seating capacity of more than eight passengers require a PCV D1 licence.

Earning your licence

The good news is that earning your licence isn’t difficult. First, you pass a simple medical exam followed by a multiple choice theory exam designed to test your knowledge of highway safety and hazard recognition. Once you pass that test, you will be able to start your ambulance driver training, both in the classroom and behind the wheel. When you are ready, you’ll be able to take your practical test and be on your way.

The key to getting from training into the workforce quickly is to choose a training company with a high pass rate. Ambulance driver training courses are often very intense, packing a lot of training into a very short amount of time. This strategy is employed to increase the chances that you will pass the first time. However, it requires students to buckle down and apply themselves.

Your career as an ambulance driver begins as soon as you make the choice to seek proper training. If all goes well you can earn your licence in about eight weeks.

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