What are the Requirements for Nursing Courses in South Africa

If you aspire to enter the noble and selfless profession of nursing, it is essential to understand the requirements and qualifications involved. A nursing career offers a range of opportunities for personal growth and for making a positive impact on the lives of others. It is a profession that demands dedication, empathy, and the desire to serve others during times of illness and vulnerability. In South Africa, where there is a pressing need for skilled nurses, pursuing a nursing career can be both rewarding and fulfilling.

Requirements For Nursing Courses In South Africa

School Subject Requirements

Nursing calls for proficiency in Biology, Maths, and Life Science since it is a science-based profession. These subjects will improve your understanding of nursing concepts and equip you with the necessary tools to effectively perform calculations and analyses. If you are planning or preparing for matriculation, these are the subjects you should focus your studies on. They will help you achieve the proficiency in human anatomy and physiology required when taking nursing courses.

Types of Nursing Courses

In South Africa, there are different nursing courses you can pursue, depending on your career goals and aspirations. The basic ones will give you a general idea of what is required for these courses. They include:

Senior Certificate in Nursing

A Senior Certificate of Nursing equips you with the necessary skills to become a competent nurse. It is typically a shorter course option compared to a diploma or degree. To gain admission to this course, you must have met the following requirements:

  • Successful completion of the National Senior Certificate (NSC) with an overall score of 16 points.
  • A minimum of 40% in English or home language.
  • A minimum of 50% for Life Science or Biology.

Diploma in Nursing

A Diploma in Nursing provides comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge to prepare you for a range of nursing roles. This qualification offers a broader scope of study and prepares you for more advanced responsibilities than a Senior Certificate in Nursing. Requirements for admission into a Diploma in Nursing course in South Africa include:

  • Matriculation or an equivalent qualification.
  • Passes in subjects such as Mathematics, English, a First/Home Language, Life Orientation, and Life Science.
  • Enrollment as a nurse with the South African Nursing Council.

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

A Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing is a four-year program that offers a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of nursing theory, research, and practice. This certification is ideal for those who wish to pursue leadership roles or specialize in specific areas of nursing. To pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in South African institutions of Higher Learning, you must have met the following criteria:

  • Matriculation or an equivalent qualification.
  • Passes in subjects such as Mathematics, English, a First/Home Language, Life Orientation, and Life Science.
  • Enrollment as a nurse with the South African Nursing Council.

Additional Degrees

Apart from the traditional nursing qualifications, there is also a Bachelor of Nursing (Baccalaureus Curationis) degree available, which provides an alternative path to becoming a qualified nurse.

Where to Study Nursing in South Africa

South Africa offers various institutions where you can pursue nursing courses. Apart from nursing colleges, public universities, and private colleges, there are other options available for aspiring nurses:

Nursing Colleges

  • Ann Latsky Nursing College
  • Ga Rankuwa Nursing College,
  • Lilitha Nursing College,
  • Worcester Nursing School,
  • Netcare Education, and more.

Public Institutions

  • Chatsmed Candlight
  • Life College—Pretoria Learning Centre
  • Thohoyandou Nursing School
  • University of Pretoria’s Department of Nursing
  • The University of South Africa (Unisa)
  • University of Free State’s School of Nursing and other public universities.

Private Colleges

  • Netcare Education,
  • Ithemba Nursing Academy, and
  • Thuto Bophelo Nursing Academy, among others.

It is advisable to review the specific admission requirements of the institution you wish to apply to, as these requirements may vary.

What to Expect from a Career in Nursing

A nursing career demands a combination of classroom learning and practical experience. Nurses play a crucial role in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, corporations, sports clubs, and schools. Depending on your qualifications and experience, you can work as a Registered Nurse, Enrolled Nurse, or Enrolled Nursing Auxiliary.

Nursing salaries in South Africa vary depending on factors such as your position, level, qualifications, and experience. Your salary will also depend on whether you work in a public or private healthcare setting. Generally, the more you gain experience and advance in your nursing career, the more your earning potential increases.


Nursing is a field that demands compassion, dedication, and a strong commitment to caring for the ill. Should you have a genuine passion for taking care of patients and improving their well-being, a career in nursing may be the perfect choice for you. The requirements in this article will help you plan your enrollment for a nursing course that will make your dream career a reality.

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