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The South African health sector has evolved over the years and has become a fast-paced and compelling industry that contributes to the nation’s economy and to that of surrounding nations. Taking up medicine in South Africa as a profession is prestigious. It is a significant sector dominated by private players who cater to middle- and high-income households who are probably members of medical schemes who make up about 30% of the economy.
The sector comprises both government and private players. The medical industry also attracts most countries and even the continent’s medical professionals. However, the Health Professions Council of South Africa’s (HPCSA’s) recent regulations could leave many international medical professionals and internationally trained South African doctors unqualified to practice medicine in the country readily.
Though all is not lost according to the HPCSA’s policy guidelines published in July, South African citizens who graduated from foreign qualifications can now apply for one year to a South African university to complete a 12-month internship at local hospitals.
South Africa’s health department has overall responsibility for healthcare in the country. It operates nearly 400 public hospitals, with specific healthcare responsibilities in the public sector. It also regulates 211 private hospitals. The government intends to introduce a system of national health insurance, which was initiated in 2012.
Shortage of Doctors in South Africa
The shortage of doctors and nurses in Africa has been a decade-old problem even cited publicly by the health minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize of South Africa. He also pointed out that this situation can hugely benefit from more doctors reducing the workload for other medical professionals and improving its quality of care.
Many students dream about pursuing Medicine in South Africa. Yet, capable candidates are often denied the chance of pursuing medicine in South Africa due to unstable regulation and a lack of opportunities. Though it is not hard for one can pursue a career in medicine in South Africa, it is a taxing endeavor both mentally and financially. One can easily spend 5–8 years and on average R64,200 just for the first year pursuing medicine in South Africa.
Some of the main reasons why medicine in South Africa is so desirable is because:
- medicine in South Africa is one of the best-paid professions in the country;
- medicine in South Africa is an ever-growing sector with a lot of demand;
- medicine in South Africa is a great way to contribute to the country and its people;
- medicine in South African can open up a wave of opportunities locally and abroad; and
- studying medicine in South Africa will provide desirability and respect among peers.
So, if you wish to contribute to this cause and also place yourself on a successful and well-paid career path, here is how you can practice medicine in South Africa after completing MBChB abroad.
If you are wondering how to become a doctor in South Africa, well, you are in luck, as in this article, we explain in detail on how to become a doctor in South Africa for your convenience.
To become a doctor in South Africa, you must plan your educational journey right from the schooling stage, or you will be required to take up additional courses to make yourself eligible to get into a medical school. Keep reading; this article helps you understand how to become a doctor in South Africa.
- Requirements to Become a Doctor in South Africa
The requirements to become a doctor in South Africa are standard. Here are various requirements to enroll in an MBChB degree in South Africa.
- Educational Requirements to Become a Doctor in South Africa
To build a sound foundation for your medical career, one must graduate their Grade 12 with good marks in Maths, Physics/Chemistry, English, and Life Science.
- National Benchmark Tests Requirements to Become a Doctor in South Africa
Upon graduation, medical aspirants must take up the National Benchmark Test (NBT). This test is a crucial step in the road to medical school in South Africa as only candidates with exemplary scores will secure a medical seat in the country. Apart from academics, the final test scores are also influenced by non-academic achievements by the candidate.
- Score Weightage Requirements to Become a Doctor in South Africa
Medical schools in South Africa have different weightings for the candidates’ various scores, and it is hard to specify what you will get when you apply for a medical school.
The marks needed to become a doctor in South Africa are typically on the higher side, especially in core subjects such as biology, physics, and chemistry. Scores required to become a doctor in South Africa are justified as they help candidates distinguish their intellectual capacity in their medical school applications.
One should not be fazed by the marks needed to become a doctor in South Africa as the best professions require the best minds, and this knowledge forms the foundation for their higher studies.
The marks needed to become a doctor in South Africa will help you work toward during preparation. Your preparation should be based on the general high side of the scores required to become a doctor in South Africa.
- Educational Requirements to Become a Doctor in South Africa
- What If You Don’t Make the Cut?
With so many variables, it may be tough to get into a medical school, and if you don’t make the cut, worry now as there is also another path to get into medical school.
You can also enroll in a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree and get an option to transfer to a medical school after their first year. However, it is a competitive space where you will have to compete for limited seats among many closely matched peers.
- After Joining Your MBChB
An MBChB degree takes six years if you include the foundation program. If you want to specialize in any particular field, it may take an additional 2–4 years, depending on your specialization choice.
- Final Step to Become a Doctor in South Africa
As per the HPCSA requirement, MBChB graduates have to do one-year of community service and an internship in a local hospital for two years before practicing medicine in South Africa.
And after the end of the internship, you will be officially recognized as a licensed doctor in South Africa.
If you have failed to secure a medical seat in medical schools in South Africa, there is no need to discard your dreams. You can still have better opportunities when you expand your search outside the country.
Studying medicine abroad is an exciting and challenging ordeal that brings students more experience and exposure. It can also be an excellent opportunity to explore your options of pursuing a medical career or higher studies abroad.
How Long Will It Take to Become a Doctor in South Africa?
If you are wondering how many years to become a doctor in South Africa, it is a subjective question: it generally takes around 5–10 years after high school.
It is hard to answer how many years to become a doctor in South Africa because there are various routes to pursue medical education. So, if you are wondering how many years to become a doctor in South Africa, you can roughly estimate five years for the base course and 2–3 more years for mandatory practice as per the HPCSA policy, and 2–4 more years if you intend to specialize.
Zambia has become a significant hub for commerce and education in the African continent. Known for its linear economic reforms, growth, and diversity, Zambia is a great place to study and work.
When it comes to medical education, there are a lot of choices for medical schools. Zambia offers some of the highest quality medical education at reasonable costs. Living cost is also affordable, making it an excellent option for students.
There are several public and private medical schools in Zambia that provide good medical educations to students. Texila American University is one of those best medical schools in Lusaka, Zambia, known for its excellent medical training and education, state of the art infrastructure, qualified multicultural faculty, well-equipped laboratories, ample facilities, and international standard curriculum.
The school’s student intakes are solely based on their high school merits and performance throughout the one-on-one interview. This medical university in Zambia is noted for its excellence in developing medical doctors for Zambia and the Southern Africa region. It has produced various high caliber medical professionals who have achieved excellence in the medical sector.
Texila American University has got students from South Africa and is excelling in their academics. Click here to read the learning experience of a South African student doctor, Ms. Alisha Potgieter.
With this excellent opportunity, which is easier to avail while it provides more value to students, it seems like a solid choice for aspirants who wish to become doctors and still not lose out on practicing in South Africa.
With that, we hope that you now know how to practice medicine in South Africa after completing MBCHB abroad and are inspired to do so yourself. Good luck!