How To Become A Paramedic In South Africa | Fees & Requirements

Here, you will find updated information on how to become a paramedic in South Africa, the steps you need to take, and so on. You will also find out the cost of the paramedic program in South Africa and the requirements you need to satisfy to gain entry into the program.

If you are looking to become a paramedic in South Africa, this article will guide you through the journey and offer you other helpful recommendations that will make your transition into the career much easier. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

A paramedic is a medical professional who is licensed or certified to offer advanced emergency treatments to patients before they are taken to a hospital for the main treatment by doctors and nurses. Paramedics do not get the kind of education that nurses or doctors get which does not qualify them to offer full treatments to patients.

Even though paramedics are specialists in clinical practices, they can also be involved in education to instruct and train upcoming paramedics, they can also be involved in leadership and research roles. The duties of a paramedic include:

  • Responding to emergency calls
  • Dressing wounds and injuries
  • Providing patient care in hospitals and other medical facilities
  • Using ventilators, defibrillators, and other specialist equipment
  • Driving and staffing emergency vehicles like ambulance
  • Teaching and training members of the public to use first aid techniques correctly
  • Monitoring and administering medication, pain relief, and intravenous infusions

To become a paramedic, you need to have a set of essential skills that qualifies you for the role which is why you must attend an institution that offers the program to get trained by experts. And when you complete your training, you can then go on to take the licensure exam which will offer you a license to start practicing.

If you are in South Africa, this blog post will take you on a step-by-step guide on how to become a paramedic in South Africa, as well as other important details that will ensure you have a smooth journey into this career.

To better prepare yourself for this journey, it is important that you possess some foundational medical care knowledge before you set out. In fact, this is a requirement to be accepted into a paramedic program in South Africa and become a paramedic. You can take some free online first aid courses or you could enroll in some free online health and safety courses and get your certification when you complete a course.

Some students even take online courses in public health, since paramedic is a public health program, to prepare for a career in the emergency health service in South Africa.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Paramedic In South Africa?

It costs around R8,500 to R9,000 to become a paramedic in South Africa. This cost varies based on what you want to achieve.

how to become a paramedic in south Africa

How To Become A Paramedic In South Africa

To become a paramedic in South Africa, there are a number of skill sets that you must acquire. This is why there are paramedic schools and programs to offer you these skills. However, there are some skills that you must have already had on your own before considering pursuing a career as a paramedic.

These skills are known as soft skills or non-technical skills and they are:

  • Effective and strong communication skills
  • Empathy and care for others
  • Be physically fit
  • Navigational and driving skills
  • Resilience
  • Sociability
  • Stamina
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills to make swift decisions and stay calm under pressure.

If you do not have any of these then you shouldn’t consider being a paramedic because you won’t be trained to have these skills in your paramedic program, rather, you’d be trained to make them sharper and how to use them in the right time and at the right place.

South Africa has different levels of care in which paramedics can perform, so, to become a paramedic in South Africa, you have to go for a level you want to work in, and these levels are outlined below:

·       Basic Life Support (BLS)

Basic Life Support is one of the levels that paramedics in South Africa perform and is also known as Basic Ambulance Assistant (BAA). The paramedics in this level offer basic medical care to patients and their tasks include performing CPR, stopping bleeding, helping women in labor, and other non-invasive procedures.

To work as a qualified Basic Life Support paramedic in South Africa, you will need to possess a Matric, code 10 driver’s license, PrDp, and registered with the Health Professional Council of South Africa. The BAA training typically takes 120 to 160 hours to complete.

·       Intermediate Life Support (ILS)

The paramedics at this level perform higher tasks compared to the guys above and it is also known as Ambulance Emergency Assistant (AEA). They can perform the tasks of the Basic Life Support paramedics but they are more into providing intermediate medical intervention. Their duties include providing IV therapy Bronchodilators, defibrillators, and chest compressions.

To work at this level, you need 1000 operational hours as BLS, pass the pre-course exam for entry into ILS, complete the 4 months of ILS training, and register with the Health Professional Council of South Africa.

·       Emergency Care Technician(EMT)

Emergency Care Technician is one of the paramedic levels in South Africa and is above the ILS level. To become an EMT, you must go through 2 years of formal training. To be selected or accepted into the program, you must already be at ILS level then pass a test paper, fitness test, and other entrance exams.

·        Advanced Life Support Paramedic (ALS)

This is the final and highest paramedic level in South Africa. To get to this level, you must be coming from EMT, be skilled in advanced airway management, IV drug therapy up to schedule 7 drugs, advanced midwifery, advanced resuscitation, aviation medicine, and marine medicine.

Paramedics at this level work across diverse healthcare settings due to the multidisciplinary skills they gain during training. You can become an ALS either through a short course or go for the full 4 year BTech degree program. The latter approach does not need you to start from BLS, then go through ILS and EMT before entering ALS. You can just enroll straight after high school.

The University of Cape Town offers a BTech in Emergency Care which prepares you to become an ALS paramedic in South Africa. The degree takes 4 years of full-time study to complete.

With this, you now know all the paramedic levels in South Africa and how you can become the one you want. You must have outstanding academic grades in math, English, biology or life sciences, or physical sciences in order to gain entry into any paramedic programs in South Africa.

Paramedic Salary in South Africa

According to PayScale, the average salary of paramedics in SA is R194,709.

Best South African Colleges for Paramedic Courses

Here, you will find the colleges and other accredited medical institutions in South Africa offering paramedic courses where you can train for any of the levels you want to enter.

1.     Elihle College of Emergency Care

Elihle College of Emergency Care is a medical college in Krugersdorp, SA that specializes in emergency care education and is accredited by the HPCSA. The college offers a Basic Ambulance Assistant (BAA) course that takes 120 hours and 5 weeks to complete and an Ambulance Emergency Assistant (AEA) course.

The course fee for the BAA program at Elihle College of Emergency Care is R11,000 while the fee for the AEA program is R50,000.

2.     Cape Peninsula University of Technology

One of the colleges in SA where you can pursue either a certificate, diploma, or a degree in emergency care (paramedics) is at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The school offers a one-year higher certificate in emergency medical care, a two-year diploma in emergency medical care, a 4-year Bachelor’s degree in emergency medical care, and a master’s degree in emergency medical care.

All of these qualifications are designed to prepare and launch you into a successful career in the emergency care service in SA.

3.     Nelson Mandela University

The Nelson Mandela University at Gqeberha, South Africa is one of the best South African colleges for paramedic courses. The university houses a faculty of Emergency Medical Care that specializes in training paramedics. The faculty only offers a bachelor’s degree and this is best for those looking to work at the ALS paramedics level in SA.

There are certain requirements that you need to meet and several tests that you must pass in order to be accepted into the program. You can find them on the school’s website and other begin your application from there if the program meets your demand.

4.     Northern Cape College of Emergency Care

Northern Cape College of Emergency Care is accredited by HPCSA and is one of the reputable paramedic colleges in SA. The college only offers a BAA course and to enter the program you need a matric certificate and an ID.

5.     Lebone College of Emergency Care

Lebone College of Emergency Care is another college in SA that focuses on training paramedics and other emergency care personnel. The college offers a couple of short courses, a higher certificate in EMC, and a diploma in EMC. The school is located in Gauteng and is the only emergency care college in the region.

6.     Maritzburg Emergency College

Maritzburg Emergency College is one of the colleges in South Africa that trains quality paramedics. The college boasts of highly qualified and dedicated instructors that possess deep experience in training and education as well as in emergency care practice. Through these instructors, students are shaped to become the best emergency care responders in the country.

These are some of the best South African Colleges for paramedic courses and emergency medical care training. And aside from these, there are also other accredited institutions in SA where you can get trained in EMC, check them out below:

  • Srq Ambulance Training College
  • Leximed Training College
  • Action Training Academy
  • Ambutek
  • John Ambulance Training Center
  • Mary Grace Ambulance Academy
  • Academy of Emergency Medical Training
  • Golden Hour Ambulance Academy
  • Free State College of Emergency Care
  • Ingozi Medicals
  • Mankwe Ambulance Training Center

You should take out time to look into these academies to know about their program offering and whether they meet your demand.

How To Become A Paramedic In South Africa – FAQs

Can I study paramedic without matric in South Africa?

You cannot study paramedic in SA without a matric certificate.

How long does it take to become a paramedic in South Africa?

It takes 2 years to become a paramedic in South Africa.

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Thaddaeus is a lead content creator at SAN with over 5 years of experience in the field of professional content creation. He has written several helpful articles for Blockchain projects in the past and even recently but since 2020, he has been more active in creating guides for students who want to study abroad.

When he's not writing, he's either watching anime, making a delicious meal, or definitely swimming.

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