If you train as a paramedic, you can rest assured that you’ll be doing a very worthwhile job in society. You will literally be saving people’s lives on a daily basis in emergency situations.
What is a paramedic?
A paramedic is a highly trained healthcare professional who plays a vital role in the medical emergency medical services, or EMS, outside of a hospital. Most paramedics operate as part of an ambulance crew. The job carries great responsibility and making decisions in life-threatening situations.
How do I become a paramedic in South Africa, what are the requirements, and how long is the paramedic training?
All those factors depend on the level of paramedic you want to become. Each level carries its own procedures, requirements for admittance, and qualification at the end of it. These are some of the different paramedic levels South Africans can qualify at:
Basic Life Support
This is a short 1-month course that includes interventions like CPR, stopping bleeding, assisting women in labour, and other noninvasive treatments. To be admitted, you’ll need a matric certificate, a Code 10 driver’s license and a professional driving permit or PrDP.
Intermediate Life Support
This course will train you to provide intermediate medical interventions like. setting up drips to provide IV therapy, utilising bronchodilators, administering defibrillation shock treatments and doing chest decompressions. To be admitted you’ll need to have worked 1,000 hours as a Basic Life Support paramedic, pass a pre-course exam, and then complete a further 4-month training course.
Emergency Care Technician
To qualify at this level requires two years of formal training. Candidates must already be an ambulance emergency assistant, pass several other entrance exams, submit a test paper and pass a fitness test. After admittance to the course the candidates need to complete a further 2-year course.
Advanced Life Support Paramedic
This is the highest level of paramedic training and includes advanced airway management, advanced resuscitation, advanced midwifery, IV drug therapy, as well as aviation and marine medicine. South African ALS paramedics are highly sought after internationally.
How much do paramedic courses cost in South Africa?
With the different paramedic training courses on offer, the cost of your course will depend on what course you enrol for and the length of the course. It will also vary depending on whether you’re full-time or part-time. A Basic Ambulance Assistant’s course will cost you about R8,500 – R9,000.
Is there an age limit to be admitted to paramedic training?
Yes, nobody younger than 18 will be admitted to any paramedic training school.
How do I choose a good paramedic school in South Africa?
Your first step will be to find out which schools are the closest to you. Secondly, make sure the school you choose is accredited to the Health Professions Council of South Africa, or HPCSA. This will ensure you receive a high standard of tuition.
Where can I do paramedic training in SA?
As said above, there are many paramedic schools and you can find a comprehensive list of all the schools here. We have also highlighted two in each of the provinces:
Paramedic Training in Eastern Cape:
- The Eastern Cape College of Emergency Care, or ECCOEC, is the official Emergency Care College of the Eastern Cape Department of Health. They pride themselves on training paramedics to a high standard.
- Alderson Medical Training Eastern Cape, or MTEC, is a paramedic training facility in East London. Their experienced team trains more than 1000 students per year. They also offer training at clients’ premises. Courses are available in Xhosa, English and Afrikaans.
Paramedic Training in Free State
- Free State College of Emergency Care
Their Emergency Care Technician is a 2-year course. It is offered on Level 5, of the National Qualification Framework. The course carries 240 credits and 2,400 service hours.
Netcare offers an advanced cardiac life support course for experienced paramedics. The challenging 2-day course is designed for healthcare providers with previous experience in cardiac life support. It covers emergency resuscitation processes in the case of drowning, hypothermia, lightning strikes, asthma, anaphylactic shock, poisoning and metabolic emergencies.
Paramedic Training in Gauteng
- Lebone College of Emergency CareThe Lebone College of Emergency Care offers short courses in-house, as well as the Emergency Medical Care and Diploma in Emergency Medical Care in conjunction with the Sefako Makgatho University.
- Faculty of Emergency and Critical CareNetcare Education of Emergency and Critical Care leads the way in paramedic and emergency teaching, state-of-the-art technology and world-class practical training in emergency medical practice.
Paramedic Training in KwaZulu-Natal
- KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services
The KwaZulu Natal Emergency Medical Services provides a high level of training to respond to a wide range of medical emergencies.
- EMCARE KZN
EMCARE is an accredited provider of Occupational Health and Safety Management training in firefighting, health and safety, first aid and emergency evacuation.
Paramedic Courses in Limpopo
- EMCARE Limpopo aims to provide their paramedic students the highest quality training in first aid, emergency medicine, firefighting, as well as occupational health and safety.
- P.L.K Emergency Medical Services
Established 23 years ago, the EMCARE Polokwane branch offers a range of training courses in Fire Fighter Levels 1 and 2, as well as first aid, HIV/AIDS awareness, safety emergency evacuation and accident investigation
- OHS AcademyThe OHS Academy’s staff are experts in the safety, health, environmental and quality training fields, otherwise known as SHERQ, as well as occupational health and safety.
- Emergency and Health Care Training Academy
The Emergency and Health Care Training Academy in Nelspruit offers training in first aid, first aid for children, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, basic life support, automated external defibrillator training and Basic Ambulance Assistant refresher courses.
- Northern Cape College of Emergency Care
The Northern Cape College of Emergency Care offers courses in pre-hospital emergency care. including Basic Ambulance Assistant as well as the Diploma in Operating Department Assistance and the Diploma in Emergency Medical Care.
- The St John Ambulance Kimberley Centre
With a 130-year history in South Africa, St John has long been a leader in first aid courses and home-based, occupational health and community health training as well as basic fire fighting.
- The Mankwe Ambulance Training CentreThe Mankwe Ambulance Training Centre offers the courses of Basic Ambulance Assistant, Ambulance Emergency Assistant, and courses in all first aid levels.
- Bokone Bophirima Ambulance Training College
The Bokone Bophirima Ambulance Training College has been offering Basic Ambulance Assistant Courses since the mid-90s.
- ER24 Training Academy
The ER24 Training Academy, under the auspices of Mediclinic Southern Africa, offers courses on Advanced Life Support, Emergency Care Technician, Basic Ambulance Assistant – Basic Life Support, and Ambulance Emergency Assistant – Intermediate Life Support.
- Provincial Government of the Western Cape College of Emergency Care
This outstanding paramedic training facility offers courses in Basic Ambulance Assistant, Ambulance Emergency Assistant and Critical Care Assistant.
If you like working with and caring for people, becoming a highly skilled paramedic could offer you an excellent, challenging and very rewarding career!