If you watch a lot of movies, you must have seen a lot of scenes with paramedics. Don’t they just look attractive in their uniforms and the way they dispatch their duties? This is probably why many people want to become paramedics.
The truth is if you are a person with a passion for saving lives then you may have a future as a paramedic. Even though passion may fuel your desire to become a paramedic, you also must be concerned about the pay. This is why many people ask the question, how much do paramedics earn in South Africa?
In this post, we will provide an answer to this question as well as tell you how to become a paramedic in South Africa. If you are ready, let’s dive straight in.
Becoming a Paramedic in South Africa
The first thing you should know is that there are several levels of paramedics in South Africa. By the way, paramedics are also referred to as EMS or EMT. The different levels of paramedics in South Africa include:
- ECP – Emergency Care Practitioner
- CCA/ND – Critical Care Assistant and National Diploma
- ECT – Emergency Care Technician
- AEA/ILS – Ambulance Emergency Assistant/Intermediate Life Support
- BAA – Basic Ambulance Assistant
Let’s try to go over these briefly so you can understand each. The BAA is actually a Basic Life Support certification. You can compare this to the EMT-Basic of the United States. The training for this position requires between 120 and 160 hours. It also requires the candidate to have a Grade 12 Matric Certificate and an official ID card.
Already, there are rumors that the HPCSA will discontinue the BAA very soon. The AEA/ILS is the equivalent of the EMT-Intermediate you have in the United States. CCA/ND is registered with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Paramedic. To enroll in this, you need to have a B.Tech degree and an extra year of post-secondary education.
There is also a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Medical Care. This runs for a period of four years during which students become registered as Emergency Care Practitioners. This training period offers students the opportunity to learn a lot in the classroom as well as practically. Practical experience is gained at hospitals and clinics where students are posted for attachment purposes.
How long does it take to become a paramedic?
This is a very important question you need an answer to before you step into this profession fully. To be honest, each school has its own length of time which may be slightly different from other schools.
However, an entry-level course for the basic BAA should take around six weeks. The Ambulance Emergency Assistant course takes about 12 weeks. To complete your CCA training, you will spend about 11 months.
There is also the option of postgraduate studies as a paramedic. This gives you an edge with patient care and earns you Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. If you want to run a Bachelor’s degree course in Emergency Medical Care, then it will take you about four years.
What is the cost of Paramedic Training in South Africa?
This is another factor that is not constant. Different schools and different certifications come at different costs. However, we have done the homework on your behalf and will present you with the average figures.
For a Basic Ambulance Assistant course, you will be spending between R8,500 and R9,000 depending on whether you study full-time or not.
To run a degree program, it will cost you far more than this. For this, we may not be able to offer a specific price range. We advise that you check with the institution of your choice to find how what they charge for the training.
Salary of Paramedics in South Africa
This is the juicy part when you are seeking how much you will earn per month as a paramedic in South Africa. Again, the amount paramedics make monthly in South Africa varies depending on several factors. Firstly, the variation may be a result of the organization they work with. The second factor is the qualification and experience they have acquired.
Salary may also be dependent on the region where you reside as well as how many hours you work daily. The annual salary range for paramedics is between R100,000 and R250,000. As you will expect, some paramedics will earn slightly more or less than this.
Getting a job as a paramedic in South Africa
There are several openings for paramedics at different levels. One thing you must know is that you have better opportunities with higher qualifications. This will also open you up to earning more money per hour. Paramedics can work with any of the following establishments:
- Hospitals and clinics
- Ambulance services
- Sports clubs
- Private companies
- Educational institutions, etc.
Job requirements for paramedics
As you know, every job has its specific requirements. In South Africa, your choice of job will provide you a different set of requirements. It is important that while you are applying, you check for the specific requirements for the role so you know exactly what you are getting into.
Some of the skills you are expected to have as a paramedic include:
- Good communication skills
- Physical fitness
- Caring and outgoing personality
- Ability to stay calm in the face of daunting situations
- Good driving and navigational skills
- Ability to multitask
Duties of paramedics
Listed below are some of the duties you need to carry out as a paramedic:
- Responding to emergency calls.
- Assessing patients and providing first aid treatment.
- Using specialist equipment like defibrillators and ventilators.
- Furnishing hospital staff with needed patient information.
- Helping to care for patients both in transit and in the hospital.
- Teaching members of the general public about basic first aid steps.
- Driving ambulances or any other emergency vehicle at their disposal.
Now, you know how much a paramedic earns in South Africa. You also know the different levels of paramedics as well as the roles paramedics play. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments section.