Holders of doctorates and masters degrees have been recruited as ambulance officers. The first batch of 10 officers to complete a 26-week training course included six degree holders, two masters graduates and one with a PhD. Two women were among those selected from 1,589 applicants. The minimum entry requirement for the post was five passes in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination. Ambulance officers had been recruited from outside the Fire Services Department for the first time in five years because of the shortage, Henry Tang Siu, acting Deputy Director of Fire Services, said yesterday. The positions were formerly filled by in-service promotion. Salaries ranging from $20,600 to $26,060 and government fringe benefits were some of the reasons they joined, officers said at their passing-out parade yesterday. It was the first job for biochemistry doctorate holder Jim Ng Ling-jim, 29. 'I consider this a career for life,' he said. The two new women officers will join just three others. Geography graduate Phoebe Fan Tsz-yan, 23, was chosen as the best recruit among the finalists. 'The passage of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance means that we have to undergo the same physical training as our male officers, which is really tough,' she said.