How To Become A Paramedic In SA

How To Become A Paramedic In SA

How To Become A Paramedic

There is a great need for skilled and qualified emergency care providers in South Africa – so let’s go through how to become a paramedic. It is more than a job and a professional calling to commit to patient care, professional integrity and lifelong learning. 

There are various procedures and levels for each paramedic, according to their qualification, explains Emergency Live. These are currently different levels of care which paramedics in South Africa can perform; Basic Life Support (short course), Intermediate Life Support (short course), Emergency care technician, and an Advanced Life Support Paramedic.  

Many young people aspire to become paramedics because of the essential role they play in emergency medical services (EMS). In South Africa, there are specific requirements you need to succeed in this industry. 

What Is A Paramedic

A paramedic is there when an emergency situation occurs – and is trained to sustain life until the patient is taken to a hospital. You need to know how to treat a patient with the equipment in an ambulance and transport that person to the nearest hospital.

Can I Become A Paramedic Without Matric?

According to SA Vacancies, paramedic training colleges in the country are accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). However, there are entry requirements to access HPCSA accredited training institutions. 

Applicants with a National Senior Certificate with a higher certificate endorsement must have two or three ratings. Applicants with a Senior Certificate before 2009 must have a minimum passing of an ‘A on higher grade or a ‘D’ on standard grade for English, Mathematics, Biology and Physical Sciences.

You can have a Rate Code 3 (40%-49%) in your National Senior Certificate for English, Mathematics, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences. An alternative option is a minimum pass rate of 60% in your National Certificate (Vocational) for English, Mathematics and Life Sciences and Physical Sciences. 

There are a few ways to become a paramedic, starting with attaining a Basic Ambulance Assistant (BAA) qualification and registering with HPCSA. After receiving this qualification, you can later train for and enrol as an Ambulance Emergency Assistant (AEA) and Council of Ambulance Authorities (CAA)/BTech EMC.


Can I Study Part-Time or online?


To become an Advanced Life Support ALS) paramedic, you can take short courses or do a four year BTech Degree. You can obtain a BAA at an accredited academy in your area. The four-week course – when you pass – requires you to be active for roughly 1000 hours or six months. 

After six months, you can enrol for the AEA course – it is considered the next level towards becoming an ALS paramedic. The course is four months long and needs you to practice for 1000 hours or six months before joining the ALS course. It is the most advanced course, and if you do it full-time, it takes nine months to complete. 

There is a once-off course you can choose to become ALS at The University of Cape Town. It is full-time, four years long but offers you an immediate BTech in Emergency Medical Care. You can enrol on this programme as soon as you finish high school.

On the HPCSA website, you can download protocols of each level and their capabilities. Other Emergency Courses, such as a two-year new qualification called Emergency Care Technician (ECT). The qualification is not offered at all your academies, but you can bridge the gap and enter a BTech Degree if you choose this option and pass.

The Requirements To Be A Paramedic

If being a paramedic is something you want to be, there are required qualifications, such as a Diploma in Emergency Medical Care (two-year course), 60% in English, 50% in Mathematics, 50% in Physical Sciences, 50% in Life Sciences, and an Admission Point Score (APS) score of 26.

You can also go for a Bachelor of EMC (a total of four years to complete), 60% in English, 50% in Mathematics, 50% in Physical Sciences, 50% in Life Sciences, and an Admission Point Score (APS) score of 26.

It is wise to note that to be a paramedic is more than knowing simple first aid or care. You have to be caring and learn how to make your patient feel confident because, in an emergency, patients feel agitated and nervous. 

As a paramedic, you have to be calm and offer psychological confrontation to your patients. The way you care for a patient carries on in the ambulance van where the paramedic has been trained to take action towards any patient’s reaction.  

The non-technical skills of a paramedic are also self-confidence, sociability, good physical health and thoughtful. 

It Is Worth The Long Hours

A paramedic can work between eight to 12-hour day or night shifts. On average, you can work 36 to 48 hours per week, and there is overtime. The less common schedules include 24 to 48-hour long workdays. 

Paramedic training is challenging because it is physically strenuous and emotionally too. You need the ability to make quick questions but, at the same time, have medical knowledge. The service of paramedics is overly appreciated by every South African. It is arduous work, but somebody has to do it!

How Much Is A Paramedic Course in South Africa?


The cost of your courses depends on which branch of paramedics you want to enter. According to SA Vacancies, for students who wish to enrol in a Basic Ambulance Assistant course, you can expect to pay anything from R8 500 per course. 


How Much Do Paramedics Earn in South Africa?


According to several salary review sources, The average salary for a Paramedic is R 17 079 per month in South Africa. 

Contacting An Ambulance Using The iER App In Emergencies

You can use the iER app to contact an ambulance and paramedics in an emergency. The app will connect you to assistance within minutes.

The iER App is 100% FREE to download and use on your smartphone or device. Please note that minimal mobile usage applies. There are no in-app purchases or adverts.

iER uses your mobile internet connection to receive your alerts, chat with you, and update you with your alert status.


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