Is It Possibly to Study Nursing with A Level 4 Certificate in South Africa?

Yes, it is possible to study nursing in South Africa with a Level 4 certificate, but the specific path you can take will depend on the exact nature of your certificate and your career aspirations.

There are two options to consider;

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Higher Certificate in Nursing

This is a 1-year program that leads to registration as an Auxiliary Nurse with the South African Nursing Council (SANC).

The minimum entry requirement is a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or equivalent qualification at exit level 4, including:

  • Communication (English) – Level 4
  • Mathematical Literacy – Level 4
  • Life Sciences – Level 4
  • Computer Literacy – Level 3 (advantageous but not required)

If your Level 4 certificate meets these requirements, you can apply directly to a Nursing Education Institution (NEI) offering the program.

NOTE: Some institutions may offer Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) pathways, which could grant you exemptions from certain modules based on your existing skills and experience.

Diploma in Nursing

This is a 3-year program that leads to registration as a Staff Nurse with the SANC.

The minimum entry requirement is;

  • An NSC or equivalent qualification at exit levels 3 and 4, including the same subjects as the Higher Certificate.
  • If your Level 4 certificate doesn’t cover all the required subjects, you might need to upgrade your qualifications before applying.

NOTE: Some institutions offer bridging programs that help prepare learners with Level 4 certificates for the Diploma in Nursing program.


  • It’s crucial to check the specific admission requirements of the program you’re interested in, as they may vary slightly between institutions.
  • The competition for nursing programs can be high, so ensure you meet all the entry requirements and have a strong academic record.
  • Consider your career goals and choose a program that aligns with your desired specialization within the nursing field.

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