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How Many Years To Become A Pediatrician In South Africa?

Quick Summary

Becoming a pediatrician in South Africa requires several years of study and experience. To become a specialist pediatrician, one must obtain a National Senior Certificate or National Certificate (v) with a Bachelor’s Degree Pass, complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine, and pursue a post-graduate Degree in Pediatrics. This typically takes around 10 years, including theoretical training, post-graduate studies, student internship, and community service. Pediatricians can find employment opportunities in hospitals, clinics, or private practice. For more information, contact the Health Professionals Council of South Africa (HPCSA) or the Pediatrician Management Group.


Becoming a pediatrician is an admirable career choice for those who have a passion for caring for children’s health and well-being. In South Africa, the journey to becoming a specialist pediatrician requires dedication, years of study, and obtaining specific qualifications. If you’re interested in pursuing this rewarding profession, it’s essential to understand the steps involved.

In this article, we will provide comprehensive information on how many years it takes to become a pediatrician in South Africa. We’ll cover the required qualifications and subjects needed to excel in this field as well as explore employment opportunities available after completing your studies. Additionally, we’ll highlight relevant regulatory bodies that oversee professional standards within pediatrics.

So if you’ve ever wondered about embarking on the path towards becoming a specialist pediatrician or simply want more insight into what it entails – keep reading!

Qualifications and Steps to Become A Pediatrician

To become a specialist pediatrician in South Africa, several key qualifications must be obtained along with following certain steps outlined below:

  1. Required Qualifications:
    • Certificate (National Senior Certificate or National Certificate (v) with Bachelor’s Degree Pass)
    • Bachelor’s Degree (Bachelor of Medicine)
    • Postgraduate Degree (Master of Medicine in Pediatrics)
  2. Competence In Required Subjects:

    Pediatricians need competence across various subjects including English language proficiency alongside strong foundations laid by Mathematics & Physical Sciences / Life Sciences knowledge acquisition during their academic pursuits.

  3. Years Of Study And Experience:

    The road toward specialization typically spans around ten years.

    1. The first six years are dedicated primarily towards theoretical training leading up until one obtains both degrees; namely “Bachelor of Medicine” followed closely behind by “Bachelor of Surgery.”
    2. Afterward comes four additional postgraduate studying which culminates when acquiring Master’s degree specifically tailored towards specializing further within Paediatrics.
    3. Furthermore, there exists mandatory student internship lasting twelve months while also serving one year of community service.
  4. Employment Opportunities:

    Specialist pediatricians have the opportunity to work in large hospitals or clinics, providing care and treatment for children. Alternatively, they may choose to establish their own private practice where they can offer specialized services tailored towards young patients’ unique needs.

Relevant Regulatory Bodies

For more information regarding specialist pediatricians within South Africa, it is advisable to reach out directly either Health Professionals Council (HPCSA) or Pediatrician Management Group as both entities are responsible for overseeing professional standards while also ensuring adherence amongst practitioners operating throughout this field locally.

Universities Offering Pediatrician Programs

Several universities across South Africa provide undergraduate and postgraduate programs specifically designed for those aspiring toward a career in pediatrics. Some notable institutions include:

  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Witwatersrand
  • Stellenbosch University
  • University of KwaZulu Natal
  • North West University
  • University of Pretoria
  • University of the Western Cape

These esteemed educational establishments equip students with comprehensive knowledge alongside practical skills necessary when pursuing specialization within child health & development domains. By attending these reputable universities offering dedicated courses related explicitly towards Pediatrics; individuals will be well-prepared upon completion readying themselves adequately before embarking on further steps required during the journey of becoming fully-fledged specialists capable of handling a wide array of medical conditions affecting the younger population segments effectively.

Qualifications and Steps to Become a Pediatrician in South Africa

To become a specialist pediatrician in South Africa, there are specific qualifications and steps that need to be followed. Here is an overview of the requirements:

Required Qualifications:

  • Certificate (National Senior Certificate or National Certificate (v) with Bachelor’s Degree Pass): To pursue a career as a pediatrician, it is essential to have completed your high school education with either the National Senior Certificate or National Certificate (v) qualification.
  • Bachelor’s Degree (Bachelor of Medicine): After completing high school, aspiring pediatricians must enroll in medical school and obtain their bachelor’s degree. The most common degree for this field is the Bachelor of Medicine.
  • Postgraduate Degree (Master of Medicine in Pediatrics): Following completion of their undergraduate studies, individuals interested in becoming specialized pediatricians will need to undertake postgraduate training specifically focused on pediatrics. This involves obtaining a Master of Medicine degree specializing in Pediatrics.

Competence In Required Subjects:

In addition to meeting educational prerequisites, prospective students should demonstrate competence across various subjects including:

  1. English: Proficiency in English language skills such as reading comprehension and written communication.
  2. Math: A solid foundation understanding mathematical concepts relevant within healthcare settings.
  3. Physical Sciences / Life Sciences: Knowledge about physical sciences like physics or chemistry can provide valuable insights into certain aspects related directly or indirectly linked with medicine while life sciences help understand human biology better.

Years Of Study And Experience:

Becoming qualified as a specialist pediatrician typically requires several years dedicated towards study and practical experience:

Specialist Training Duration

Specialist training usually takes around 10 years from start till specialization completion. The first six years involve theoretical training leading up until achieving both degrees – a Bachelors’ of Surgery (BSurg), and Bachelors’ of Medicines (MBBCh). The remaining four-year period focuses solely on acquiring expertise through postgraduate studies culminating in a Master of Medicine degree specializing in Pediatrics.

Internship and Community Service

In addition to the years spent on theoretical training, aspiring pediatricians are also required to complete one year as an intern after obtaining their medical degrees. Following this, they must serve for another year within the community providing healthcare services under supervision.

By following these qualifications and steps diligently, individuals can work towards becoming specialized pediatricians who play a crucial role in ensuring children’s health and well-being.

Employment Opportunities for Pediatricians in South Africa

Once you have completed the necessary qualifications and training to become a specialist pediatrician in South Africa, there are various employment opportunities available. Here are some options:

1. Large Hospitals or Clinics:

Specialist pediatricians can find employment in large hospitals or clinics across the country. These healthcare facilities often have dedicated departments for pediatrics where they provide specialized care to children of all ages.

Working in a hospital setting allows pediatricians to collaborate with other medical professionals, including nurses, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and radiologists. They may also be involved in teaching and mentoring medical students and residents.

2. Private Practice:

Many specialist pediatricians choose to establish their own private practice after gaining experience working at hospitals or clinics. This gives them more control over their schedule and patient load while allowing them to build long-term relationships with families within their community.

In private practice settings, pediatricians offer comprehensive primary care services such as routine check-ups (well-child visits), vaccinations, diagnosis of illnesses/injuries/developmental disorders specific to children’s health needs. They may also refer patients requiring specialized treatment or further investigations beyond what is offered at the clinic/hospital level.

3. Research Institutions/Academia:

Pediatric specialists who have a keen interest in research can explore career opportunities within research institutions/universities that focus on child health studies. They contribute towards advancing knowledge about childhood diseases/disorders through conducting clinical trials/studies aimed at improving treatments/outcomes for young patients.

4. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs):

Some NGOs operating locally/internationally work specifically on issues related to child welfare. These organizations employ pediatric experts who play crucial roles in providing medical assistance and support for underprivileged children or those affected by epidemics/natural disasters. Pediatric doctors working with these organizations may also get involved in advocacy work, policy development, and public health campaigns aimed at improving child healthcare.

It is important to note that employment opportunities for pediatricians may vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and demand. It’s advisable to stay updated with job listings from reputable sources like medical associations or online platforms dedicated to healthcare professionals in South Africa.

Remember that becoming a specialist pediatrician requires dedication and commitment but offers rewarding career prospects where you can make a significant impact on the health and well-being of children in South Africa.

Relevant Regulatory Bodies for Pediatricians in South Africa

When pursuing a career as a pediatrician in South Africa, it is important to be aware of the relevant regulatory bodies that oversee and govern this profession. These organizations play an essential role in ensuring the quality of healthcare services provided by pediatricians across the country.

1. Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA):

The HPCSA is responsible for regulating all health professions, including pediatrics, within South Africa. This council ensures that medical professionals adhere to ethical standards and maintain their competence throughout their careers. The HPCSA sets guidelines for professional conduct, registration requirements, continuing education programs, and disciplinary procedures.

2. Paediatrician Management Group:

The Paediatrician Management Group serves as a representative body specifically focused on supporting and advocating for pediatricians’ interests within the healthcare system in South Africa. They provide resources such as networking opportunities with other specialists and offer guidance on various aspects related to practicing pediatrics effectively.

These regulatory bodies work together to ensure that qualified individuals enter into practice while maintaining high standards of care delivery among existing practitioners. By staying connected with these organizations or seeking information from them directly when considering becoming a specialist pediatrician or during your journey towards specialization can help you navigate through any queries regarding regulations governing this field.

It’s worth noting that keeping up-to-date with changes made by these regulatory bodies will also assist you professionally since they often update policies based on advancements happening globally.

Universities in South Africa Offering Pediatrician Programs

If you are aspiring to become a pediatrician in South Africa, there are several universities that offer undergraduate and post-graduate programs specifically tailored for this field. These institutions provide comprehensive education and training necessary to pursue a career as a specialist pediatrician.

1. University of Cape Town:

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Cape Town offers an undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine (MBChB) program, which serves as the foundation for specialization in pediatrics. After completing your MBChB degree, you can proceed with post-graduate studies specializing in Pediatrics.

2. University of Witwatersrand:

At the School of Clinical Medicine within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Witwatersrand, students have access to various medical programs including those focused on pediatrics. The university provides both undergraduate and post-graduate opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing a career in pediatrics.


  1. https://hw-careers.co.za/career/specialist-paediatrician/
  2. https://safacts.co.za/how-to-become-a-pediatrician-in-south-africa/
  3. https://www.myggsa.co.za/what-to-study-to-become-a-pediatrician-in-south-africa/

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