Higher Certificate in Emergency Medical Care

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Programme Duration 

  • Full-time: Minimum 1 year and Maximum 2 years
  • NQF Level 5, 132 Credits


This programme is designed to produce entry-level emergency care providers who are clinical assistants within the emergency medical care environment thereby replacing the Basic Ambulance Assistant Course as the entry qualification for emergency medical services. The qualification provides an entry point into a career in emergency medical services thereby creating access and an opportunity for employment within the emergency services and related industries. The programme will develop the necessary foundational knowledge; skills and attitudes necessary to form the basis for further study in the field of prehospital emergency medical care and will provide access to further study within the HEQSF.

Graduates will practice primarily on ambulances within South Africa in rural and urban contexts that range from sophisticated emergency medical care facilities to remote primary health care settings. This programme also aims to promote an understanding of the multi-disciplinary approach to effective, efficient patient care.


1. Demonstrate effective communication and apply the principles of medical ethics, professional behaviour and the legal framework to the context within which Emergency Care Assistants operate while maintaining personal health, wellness and safety.
2. Demonstrate knowledge of the structure and function of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) systems in South Africa and how they relate to the broader health care structures within the country.
3. Provide healthcare as part of a team within an emergency care environment to all sectors of the community within the Emergency Care Assistant scope of practice.

Rules of Access and Admission Requirements

The minimum entry requirement is the National Senior Certificate with appropriate module combinations and levels of achievement as defined in the Minister’s policy, Minimum Admission Requirements for Higher Certificate, Diploma and Bachelor’s
Degree Programmes Requiring a National Senior Certificate, Government Gazette, Vol. 482, 27961, 18 August 2005.

In addition to adherence to the University’s student admission policy the Department has the following requirements:

The applicant with a Senior Certificate (Prior to 2009) must have at least a minimum of an E symbol on Higher Grade or a D symbol on Standard Grade pass for all of the following subjects:

• English
• Mathematics
• Biology or Physical Sciences

For applicants who obtained a Grade 12 during or after 2009:

A National Senior Certificate (NSC) – APS Score with minimum requirements as shown below: (Exclude Life Orientation when calculating APS)
Minimum APS: 21
Language of teaching and Learning (English): 5
Mathematics: 3
Mathematical Literacy: Not Accepted
Physical Sciences: 3
Life Sciences: 4

Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on:

• academic merit; APS
• a structured personal interview;
• a phobia evaluation;
• medical examination;
• physical fitness and swimming proficiency evaluation;
• an English proficiency evaluation;
• previous appropriate experience (a recommendation).

Pass Requirements

1. Students may graduate once they have passed all of the modules.
2. Due to the integrated nature of certain modules, individual credits are NOT retained unless all modules are passed within the same academic year. This ruling applies to the following modules:

H.Cert EMC


3. If students fail any of the modules within the programme, they need to register for, and pass the physical preparedness module again.
4. 100% attendance of all theory lectures, practicals, experiential or clinical components as well as tutorials is compulsory.
5. In order to gain readmission to the programme, students must pass a minimum of 60% of the modules.
6. Students may not register for the same module for a third time without permission from the Head of Department and Executive Dean.
7. Students have a maximum of two years to complete the qualification.

Practical Training (Clinical Learning)

1 Students must, by the end of the year, complete the Clinical Learning requirements which are detailed in the relevant study guides in order to be granted a credit for the clinical practice module.
2 Clinical practice is rostered at set periods during the academic year in conjunction with cooperative partners and cannot be personalised.
3 100% attendance of all rostered shifts is compulsory. Students who miss shifts due to illness or injury will be required make up the missed shifts prior to the end of the academic year if they are to be granted a credit for the practical training modules.

Specific Rules and Regulations for Emergency Medical Care Students

1. Students must familiarize themselves with the internal rules and regulations of the Department of Emergency Medical Care. These rules and regulations, as set out in the Departmental policy document, are binding.
2. Students who fail to attend theory classes will be requested to provide in writing reasons for their non-attendance.
3. The programme is not offered as a limited contact or distance- learning programme. Students who elect to leave the country will be unable to continue with their studies.
4. All students (even if not registered for Clinical Practice within that academic year) are required to see a minimum number of patients each year as determined by the department whilst they are registered. This is a requirement to ensure that clinical competencies are retained.
5. All registered students are required to attend physical training sessions as rostered.
6. Students may not register for a third time for the same module unless allowed by the Head of Department and Executive Dean of the Faculty.
7. Students are required to adhere to the requirements of the department relating to uniform and personal appearance.

Curriculum: All modules are Continuous Evaluation modules.