What Are The Paramedic Levels In South Africa?

Before you can even think of becoming an”EMT” or paramedic, it’s important to understand the different levels of EMS in South Africa.  They are as follows:

  • BAA (Basic Ambulance Assistant)
  • AEA or ILS (Ambulance Emergency Assistant, which is an ILS or Intermediate Life Support certification)
  • ECT (Emergency Care Technician)
  • CCA/ND (Critical Care Assistant and “National Diploma”)
  • ECP (Emergency Care Practitioner)

Now, let’s go over each of these levels briefly.

The Basic Ambulance Assistant is a Basic Life Support certification.  This is a position that, if you were to compare it to the United States, would be very similar to that of an EMT-Basic.  Training for a BAA can take anywhere from 120 to 160 hours, and requires things like a Matric Certificate (Grade 12) and a certified copy of your ID.  It is said that the BAA will soon be discontinued by the HPCSA in the future, so that’s something to keep an eye on.


The AEA or ILS is equivalent to being an EMT-Intermediate in the United States.

The Critical Care Assistant and National Diploma are both registered as a Paramedic with the Health Professions Council South Africa (HPCSA).  And should you want to obtain your Btech degree, it will require one additional year of post-secondary education.

And lastly is the Bachelor Degree Technology or Bachelor Degree in Emergency Medical Care.  This is a four-year degree where students will be registered as an Emergency Care Practitioner.  Like many programs, students will learn a lot through classroom instruction and textbooks.  You will also gain valuable experience by working in clinics and hospitals, where you can put your education into practice.