How Can A Nurse Become A Doctor In South Africa?

Are you a registered nurse with a deep desire to be a medical doctor? Are you wondering can a nurse become a doctor in South Africa? if you can transition from nursing into medicine here in South Africa? Well, wonder no more because “where there is a will, there is a way”.

So Yeah, as a registered nurse, you can become a Medical Doctor. All you have to do is to go through further education, training, and exams. To become a doctor as a registered nurse in South Africa, there are certain steps you need to take to achieve your dream. 

Hang on, as we navigate those steps together.

How a Nurse can become a Doctor in South Africa 🇿🇦 

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

“The journey of a hundred miles starts with a step.” Your journey into the medical profession starts with obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree. If you already have a Degree in Nursing Sciences, then most of the courses you have studied will be acceptable as a requirement for Medical School.

Set to work on Medical School Admission prerequisites

The South African association of medical colleges (SAAMC) has sufficiently summed up all the application elements you will need to complete.

First on the list is writing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). MCAT is a definitive computer-based exam that evaluates the proficiency of scientific theories and laws. Your former experience as a nurse does not give you an edge over others. The MCAT exam emphasizes more on text understanding than on real-life practical application, which could be a limitation to some nurses.

In addition, letters of recommendation and confidential declaration are also required.

Go for Medical School

To apply to medical school in South Africa, you will apply through the South Africa Medical College application service (SAMCAS). This application system permits you to effortlessly provide your applications to several Medical Schools.

After the MCAT exams, outcomes are sent to the Medical school’s prospects applied to. Some Medical colleges give priority to nurses during admission because of their experience, while some other colleges do not assess applicants that have poorer MCAT scores than the cut-off mark.

Upon collecting your foremost application, the SAMCAS may send you a second one. Your second application may be a sum of queries requiring lengthy responses.

Be present in Medical College

In medical college, you will spend two years in the classroom to address basic sciences and two years in the clinical environment which allows you to gain knowledge from professional doctors and acquire practical experience.

Your preceding experience as a nurse does not reduce the years you are required to spend in Medical College.

Acquire your MD

In Medical College, you will commence the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) series. The majority of students write the USMLE step 1 in their second year and then plan to take the USMLE Step 2 CK and CS in their 3rd or 4th year.

However, your performance in USMLE step 1 is an essential measure that directors specifically use for assessing residency applicants.

Finish your Residency Program

You need to apply for the residency program before you can begin. The residency program ranks applicants by using a computer algorithm that matches residency applicants to programs.

Depending on your area of specialization, you are expected to have three to seven years of training as a resident doctor. You also need to achieve excellence in the USMLE Step 3 and the relevant board certification exam.

Commence practicing

After obtaining your license and passing the USMLE Step 3 and board certification exams, you can commence your career as a licensed practicing medical doctor in South Africa.



As a registered nurse, you can be a medical doctor provided you go through the required extra education, training, and assessment.

The cost of Medical College differs a lot in South Africa and it ranges between $1,850 per year to $15,000. However, the amount of studying at Medical College is a lot more enormous than Nursing School, there might be correspondences in the courses studied but Medical students go into detailed observations. Regardless, a nurse can now become a Doctor in South Africa.