Requirements to Study Nursing in South Africa (FAQs, Schools) | 202213 min read

Studying Nursing in South Africa is an amazing experience that comes with a few requirements that will make your learning process easier and more efficient.

Nursing is more of a calling than a job for most people in this field. However, before you decide to become a nurse in South Africa, you need to know what training is required.

Nursing involves the independent and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, and communities, whether they are sick or healthy, in whatever environment. Health promotion, disease prevention, and patient care are all included in nursing.

To study nursing in South Africa, you’ll need to know about the educational requirements and courses available. All of these will be our focus in this article.

Study Nursing in South Africa:

Before beginning a nursing program in South Africa, there are a few things aspiring nursing students should be aware of.

Depending on the institution, you need a bachelor’s degree that can be completed in four to five years. In addition, in psychiatric nursing, general nursing, and midwifery, nurses with a bachelor’s degree in nursing science can pursue a master’s degree in one of these specialties.

To become a nurse, a student must complete a specific training program. Some programs are completed in a year, while others take up to three years.

Can I study Nursing in South Africa as an international student?

Yes, it is possible. To begin any practical requirements for an International student, the South African Nursing Council requires that they get Limited Registration.

When the registration is complete, the Department of Nursing Education will assist the procedure with the South African Nursing Council.

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How much do South African nurses make?

In South Africa, the average salary a registered nurse receives is R18,874 per month, but this varies depending on the institution or organization where you work and the location.

Categories of Nursing in South Africa:

Nurses in South Africa might fall under one of three categories:

Registered Nurses:

Health care providers can’t function without registered nurses. With their hands-on patient care in a wide range of settings, from hospitals and doctors’ offices to assisted living and outpatient health clinics, they are on the front lines of medical treatment.

Preventative and primary care, disease prevention education, equipment operation, and prescription administration are just a few of the services provided by the RN as a member of the healthcare team.

These enrolled and auxiliary nurses are under the supervision and training of this group of nurses.

Auxiliary Nurses:

These nurses work closely with doctors and nurses to care for patients admitted, ensuring that they receive adequate attention until they are released. They also aid registered or qualified nursing practitioners in their duties.

Patients who are unable to feed, dress, or wash are cared for by auxiliary nurses. Additionally, auxiliary nurses assist elderly patients who cannot perform basic tasks on their own, such as getting in and out of the bathtub or toilet.

Enrolled Nurses:

Enrolled nurses do not have the same level of responsibility as the auxiliary nurses, as they only have a limited role in attending to patients’ requirements.

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Steps to Become a Registered Nurse in South Africa:

To become a licensed nurse in South Africa, you must go through the following two steps:


To study nursing in South Africa, you must have a degree from an accredited college or university.

This institution may be a private nursing institution or a state-run institution. You can get the same degrees and diplomas regardless of the university you attend.


It is a legal requirement to be registered with the South African Nursing Council (SANC). Before joining the South African Nursing Council, you must submit several documents for verification and approval. These are the files:

  • Identity documentation.
  • A letter certifying one’s good reputation.
  • Evidence that you’re qualified.
  • Registration fee receipt.
  • The registrar may request further reports and information related to your application.
  • Students must also take the SANC-administered nursing exam that matches the specific certification they are seeking before they can graduate. Nursing certification tests are available for a variety of nursing specialties.

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What Qualifications Are Needed to Become a Nurse in South Africa?

A Four-year Bachelor of Nursing degree:

South African state colleges provide bachelor’s degrees in nursing, typically last four years. Students must complete both a clinical practicum and a written examination to get the degree.

Practical and theoretical aspects of nursing will be taught to students to become competent and successful health care professionals in the future.

The theoretical aspects teach students how a nurse works, while the practical component teaches them how to do their job.

To be eligible for a bachelor’s degree in nursing, students must earn an overall grade of at least 59–59% in the following subjects:

  • Life sciences
  • Mathematics
  • English
  • Physics
  • Life Orientation
  • Additional/Home language

In addition, a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or any equivalent exit level 4 qualifications are required. As a general rule, a Bachelor of Nursing degree would prepare students to work in four distinct fields:

  • Common Nursing
  • General Nursing
  • Midwifery
  • Psychiatric Nursing

The SANC will allow the student to register as a professional nurse or midwife after completing this degree program.

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A three-year Nursing Diploma:

Like a bachelor’s degree program, a nursing diploma program has both theoretical and practical aspects.

In addition, students offering a nursing diploma course will do equal learning and tasks similar to that which would be done in a Bachelor of Nursing degree program.

As the course progresses toward its conclusion, the student will spend less time working on the assignments for this degree.

When the student is finished with the program, they will be prepared to enter the workforce as licensed practical or vocational nurse.

As soon as the student has finished this program and earned this credential, they will be qualified to work as licensed practical nurses or vocational nurses.

National Senior Certificate (NSC) or equivalent level 3 or 4 certificates are required for admission. However, mathematics or any other physical science is of no relevance in comparison to a Bachelor of Nursing degree program, yet you will undoubtedly require the following:

  • English
  • Life orientation
  • Additional/Home language
  • 4 other Subjects

The subject listed above also requires a passing grade of 50% to 59%.

An Auxiliary Nursing Diploma That Lasts One Year:

This one-year program is designed to teach students the essential nursing skills needed to care for patients in a hospital setting.

After completing this program, the student will be allowed to work under a registered nurse with either a Bachelor of Nursing degree or a diploma.

This training aims to bolster and enhance one’s nursing and midwifery skills. One of two nursing or midwifery specializations is available to students in this program.

This course, in contrast to others, only provides theoretical training. For both individuals and groups, this course will teach you how to apply theoretical knowledge, practice basic nursing, and evaluate and administer basic nursing care systematically.

The student will be more motivated to pursue a career in Nursing Management due to this course. Moreover, it is possible to work as an enrolled auxiliary nurse once the student has earned this certification.

The following are the requirements for admission:

A National Senior Certificate (NSC) or its equivalent at exit levels 3 or 4 is required for admission to this program. It doesn’t matter if you’ve studied math, physics, biology, or English.

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More so, a grade between 50 and 59 percent must be earned in the preceding subjects.

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A one-year post-graduate advanced course in nursing and midwifery:

If you want to work in Nursing Management, you’ll need to get an advanced degree after earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree in nursing. Additionally, the student must have at least two years of midwifery or nursing experience.

Depending on your preferences, you can earn your diploma from a public or private nursing school.

Many South Africa’s private universities and technical institutions, such as Mediclinic, Netcare Education, and Life College, provide the same degrees and diplomas as public universities.

There are a number of prerequisites that must be accomplished before one can enroll in his program:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing or (equivalent) or a combination of a degree and a comprehensive diploma.
  • Nursing and midwifery diplomas.
  • Advanced Nursing and Midwifery Diploma.

Top 10 Nursing Schools in South Africa | 2022

Thuto Bophelo Nursing Academy:

Thuto Bophelo Nursing Academy is one of the best Nursing schools in South Africa.

Pretoria Heart Mediclinic Hospital, Muelmed, and the South African Nursing Council are some of the health facilities that provide quality practical nursing services at the academy.

Nurses at the Thuto Bophelo Nursing Academy are trained for two years to become generalists.

For admission to higher certificate or diploma programs, prospective students must achieve the statutory minimum requirements based on the National Senior Certificate (NSC) or an equivalent school leaving certificate, as well as the candidate’s educational certificate.

Future Nurses Nursing School:

Future Nurses Nursing School (Pty) Ltd was established in November 2003 as a Private Nursing Higher Education Institution.

It is accredited by the Council of Higher Education and is recognized by the Department of Higher Education and Training (CHE).

Additionally, the South African Quality Assurance (SAQA) agency has registered it. The coaching approach and the accessibility of nursing facilities distinguish it from the competition.

It is one of the best nursing schools in South Africa.

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Netcare Education’s Faculty of Nursing and Ancillary Healthcare (FNAH):

The Faculty of Nursing and Ancillary Healthcare (FNAH) at Netcare Education is dedicated to educating nurses about the necessary skills and clinical knowledge for nursing students.

It offers a bridge course as well as an advanced diploma / post-basic diploma in medical-surgical nursing.

The Faculty of Nursing and Ancillary Healthcare (FNAH) at Netcare Education is dedicated to the development of nursing’s clinical knowledge and practical abilities.

They offer formal and non-formal education and training for enrolled and registered nurses, as well as informal programs for auxiliary nurses.

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Ann Latsky Nursing College:

Ann Latsky Nursing College is one of the best nursing schools in South Africa. The College is located in the Hurst Hill and Auckland Park areas of Johannesburg, next to the Helen Joseph Hospital and the University of Johannesburg.

The College is one of the Gauteng Department of Health’s directorates. The University of Johannesburg provides all education and training.

The government established the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to aid students with the cost of registration, tuition, and allowances for books, food, transportation, and housing.

Africa Health Care (AHC) Nursing College:

Africa Health Care Nursing College is a South African Nursing Council-accredited school of higher learning and is recognized by the Department of Higher Education and Training. It is one of the best medical schools in South Africa.

It has a 60-year history of training exceptional pupils by a staff of competent and experienced educators and facilitators.

They currently have several hundred students enrolled in their system, and this number continues to expand each year. It is a healthcare company that provides health solutions and care to the public.

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Chatsmed Candlelight Nursing School:

The South African Nursing Council granted accreditation to Chatsmed Candlelight Nursing School in 1997, allowing it to offer public nursing classes. However, the first certified nursing program was launched in 2002.

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South African Nursing Council recognized Chatsmed Candlelight Nursing School (Pty) Ltd, a 100% black-owned nursing education institution.

UKWAZl of Nursing PTY LTD:

UKWAZI SCHOOL OF NURSING pty ltd is a licensed private higher education institution with the department of higher education and training. The South African Qualifications Authority has registered its nursing qualifications.

The council on higher education and the South African Nursing Council both accredit the program.

UKWAZI SCHOOL OF NURSING began offering the Higher Certificate in Nursing (R169) and the Diploma in Nursing (General Nurse) (R171) in 2020, making it one of the few institutions licensed and certified to provide the new courses in the country.

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Lilitha College of Nursing:

Lilitha College of Nursing offers both entry-level and post-graduate nursing programs, as well as specialty programs. It is one of the best nursing schools in South Africa.

It has continuously generated a considerable number of nurses who are permanently assigned to the province’s clinical services.

The college values academic excellence in education by entrusting generations of disciplinary knowledge to nursing practice, research on human experiences of health, illness, and healing, and by utilizing community-based and evidence-based practices that emphasize holistic relationships centered on a caring approach that promotes individual well-being.

Mpilo Royal College of Health Education:

Mpilo Royal College of Health Education was formed in 2006 with the goal of improving nursing in South Africa’s health sector. It is certified by a number of South African authorities.

They offer a Diploma in Nursing NQF Level 6 and an Advanced Diploma in Midwifery NQF Level 7.

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Letjhabile-Libalele Nursing College:

Letjhabile-Libalele Nursing College is a private-public hybrid college located in Althea Estates, Walkerville, South Africa.

It was accredited by the South African Nursing Council in 1996 and began offering educational services in 1997 with a two-year Registered Nurse certification.

It offers full-time courses and admission to the college is determined by an entrance exam.

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Frequently Asked Questions on the Requirements to Study Nursing in South Africa:

How much does it cost to study nursing in South Africa?

Diploma in Nursing (General. Community, Psychiatry) and Midwifery: Four Years: R425

How long does it take to become a nurse in South Africa?

4 Years

Are nurses in demand in SA?

In South Africa, this is a highly sought-after job path right now. Because of the often-difficult patients they encounter, nurses must be selfless learners with plenty of compassion and patience on their side.

Is nursing easy to study?

Exams are difficult, timetables are convoluted, and homework keeps stacking up. There’s a lot to learn. As a student, you may find it challenging to cope with any of these issues. Getting into nursing is a highly competitive procedure, and the competition doesn’t let up until you’ve earned your nursing degree.


The qualifications to pursue a career in nursing in South Africa are neither impossible nor difficult to meet. However, if you desire to become a nurse in South Africa, you will succeed.

The Council does not usually register international students who have finished their nursing programs. Their native council of nurses requires that they return to their own country before they can be registered.

Students from outside of South Africa who want to work in the country need to undergo the standard immigration procedures to obtain a work visa before returning to South Africa.

Because of their experience with South Africa’s nursing setting, this will usually be hastened rapidly.

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