How Many Years To Become A Pediatrician In South Africa

How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Pediatrician in South Africa?

Aspiring pediatricians in South Africa need to undergo extensive education and training before they can practice as qualified professionals. Becoming a pediatrician is a rewarding but challenging journey that requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for caring for children’s health. In this article, we will explore the educational path to becoming a pediatrician in South Africa, including the required qualifications, training programs, and the length of time it takes to achieve this career goal.

1. Bachelor’s Degree (4 years)

The first step towards becoming a pediatrician in South Africa is to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as Medicine, Health Sciences, or Biological Sciences. This typically takes around four years to complete and provides the foundational knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in medicine.

2. Medical School (6 years)

After completing a Bachelor’s degree, aspiring pediatricians must enroll in a medical school program, which usually takes six years to complete. During medical school, students undergo rigorous training in various medical disciplines, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and pathology. They also gain practical experience through clinical rotations in different healthcare settings.

How Many Years To Become A Pediatrician In South Africa

3. Internship and Community Service (1 year)

Upon completing medical school, graduates are required to undergo a one-year internship at a recognized healthcare facility. This internship provides valuable hands-on experience and allows aspiring pediatricians to apply their medical knowledge in a real-world setting. After completing their internship, graduates must also complete a year of community service to fulfill the requirements set by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

4. Residency Training (4-6 years)

Once the internship and community service requirements are fulfilled, aspiring pediatricians must undergo specialized training in pediatric medicine through a residency program. This residency training typically lasts for four to six years and includes rotations in various pediatric sub-specialties, such as neonatology, cardiology, and oncology. During this time, residents work under the supervision of experienced pediatricians and gain practical skills in diagnosing and treating pediatric patients.

5. Fellowship Training (optional)

After completing their residency training, some pediatricians may choose to pursue additional fellowship training in a specific pediatric sub-specialty. This optional training typically lasts for one to two years and provides pediatricians with specialized knowledge and skills in areas such as pediatric surgery, pediatric neurology, or pediatric critical care.

6. Medical Board Certification

Once all the required training and educational requirements are met, aspiring pediatricians must pass the Medical and Dental Council of South Africa (MDCSA) examination to obtain their medical board certification. This certification is necessary to practice as a qualified pediatrician in South Africa and demonstrates that the individual has met the standards set by the regulatory body.


Becoming a pediatrician in South Africa is a lengthy and demanding process that requires a significant investment of time and effort. However, for those passionate about caring for children’s health and well-being, the journey to becoming a pediatrician is incredibly rewarding. By following the educational path outlined in this article and completing the necessary training programs and certifications, aspiring pediatricians can achieve their career goal and make a meaningful impact on the lives of their young patients.