Ambulance Officer

Ambulance officers give transport to accident victims from the scenes of accidents to the nearest hospital or from one hospital to another, and assist paramedics. 

They assist paramedics in trying to determine the nature and extent of the patient’s injuries or illness, and give appropriate emergency care, such as treatment for shock, controlling bleeding, restoring breathing, assisting mothers in childbirth, administering oxygen, bandaging wounds, opening airways, managing emotionally disturbed patients, treating and assisting heart attack victims, administering intravenous fluids and using defibrillators, as well as other intensive care procedures.

Patients have to be transported quickly yet safely. These workers have to be reliable and responsible and never reckless. Sometimes an ambulance officer has to transport emergency equipment to the scene of an accident in cases where many people have to be treated at the same time, for example, given oxygen. Emergency care workers have to be ready at all times to respond quickly.

Ambulance officers work with: ambulances, trolleys, oxygen tanks, clean linen, drips, latex gloves, backboards, defibrillators and a wide variety of other medical equipment and supplies.

Working environments include: indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather, depending on the scene of the accident - vehicle accidents, cave-ins, collapsed buildings, mudslides, earthquake scenes, drowning accidents and fires.

Personal Requirements

  • at least 18 years old
  • have a valid driver’s licence
  • good judgement
  • responsible and dependable
  • good eyesight
  • quick reflexes
  • ability to remain alert during long drives to hospitals

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects
National Senior Certificate (matric), or equivalent with a Diploma pass
Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences 
In addition, check the admission requirements to see if you qualify for the programme you want to do.

What to Study

In-service training:Ambulance and emergency care workers receive in-service training. The Basic Ambulance Course (B.A.C.) extends over four weeks and is offered at various centres country-wide. In this course ambulance and emergency care workers are introduced to and trained in basic life-support and the equipment used in an ambulance. Successful completion of this course serves as admission to the next course.

After a minimum period of six months, ambulance personnel who are interested in improving their knowledge and skills or who would like to be promoted, can apply for the Ambulance Emergency Assistant (A.E.A.) Course. This is an eleven-week course in which advanced training in life-support is offered. After successful completion of the final exam and after the prescribed practical experience has been gained, candidates can register with the INMDC of SA as ambulance emergency assistants.

Further courses with which ambulance and emergency care workers can improve their qualifications, are the Basic Medical Rescue Course, the Critical Care Assistant Course and the Minimum Safety Driving Course.

Diplomas:The N.Dip. Ambulance and Emergency Care is offered at UCT, UJ, CUT, CPUT and DUT. This course includes a great deal of practical training and enables candidates to register as emergency care technologists after completion of the course.


  • hospitals and clinics
  • private clinics
  • privately owned ambulance and rescue companies

Further Information

St John’s Ambulance Foundation
73 King Edward Road
Bloemfontein, 9301
Tel: (051) 444-6276

South African Emergency Services Institute
295 Jorrisen Street, Off Voortrekker Road
Monument, Krugersdorp, 1739
Tel: (011) 660-5672

Getting Started

  • speak to an ambulance officer at your local hospital and observe every aspect of the job, if possible.
  • do a first-aid course to see whether you like this kind of work

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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