Average Doctors Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average doctor’s salary in South Africa is R81,250 per month. An entry-level Doctor earns a salary range of R42,050, a Mid-career level earns about R84,000, and a senior/experienced level earns R112,000 per month.

Average Doctors Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Doctors 42,050
Mid-Career Doctors 84,000
Experienced Doctors 112,000

Types of Doctors and Their Functions in South Africa

In South Africa, the healthcare system encompasses a diverse array of medical professionals, each specializing in specific fields to address the multifaceted needs of patients. Here is a breakdown of various types of doctors and their functions within the South African healthcare landscape:

1. General Practitioners (GPs)

GPs serve as primary care physicians, providing comprehensive medical care for patients. They diagnose and treat a wide range of illnesses, offer preventive care, and refer patients to specialists when needed.

2. Specialists

South Africa has specialists in various medical disciplines, such as cardiology, dermatology, neurology, and more. These doctors undergo additional training in a specific field, allowing them to focus on particular health conditions or organ systems.

3. Surgeons

Surgeons specialize in performing surgical procedures. They may be general surgeons or have specific specialities like orthopaedic surgery, neurosurgery, or cardiovascular surgery. Surgeons play a crucial role in treating injuries, diseases, and congenital conditions through surgical interventions.

4. Pediatricians

Pediatricians specialize in the healthcare of infants, children, and adolescents. They address issues related to growth and development, administer vaccinations, and manage childhood illnesses. Pediatric specialists further focus on specific pediatric subspecialties.

5. Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

These doctors specialize in women’s reproductive health. Obstetricians manage pregnancy and childbirth, while gynaecologists focus on the female reproductive system’s overall health. They conduct screenings, provide family planning services, and treat various gynaecological conditions.

6. Psychiatrists and Psychologists

Mental health professionals play a crucial role in South Africa’s healthcare system. Psychiatrists are medical doctors specializing in mental health and can prescribe medications. Psychologists, on the other hand, provide counselling and therapy to individuals dealing with mental health issues.

7. Dentists

Dentists focus on oral health, treating issues related to teeth and gums. They perform cleanings, fill cavities, and may specialize in areas such as orthodontics or oral surgery.

8. Ophthalmologists

Ophthalmologists specialize in eye care and vision health. They diagnose and treat eye conditions, perform surgeries like cataract removal, and prescribe corrective lenses.

9. ENT Specialists (Otorhinolaryngologists)

These doctors specialize in treating conditions related to the ear, nose, and throat. They address issues such as hearing loss, sinus problems, and throat disorders.

10. Emergency Medicine Physicians

Working in emergency departments, these doctors handle acute medical conditions, trauma, and critical care situations. They play a vital role in stabilizing patients before they are transferred to specialized departments.

The healthcare system in South Africa benefits from a diverse range of doctors, each contributing uniquely to the well-being of the population. This collaborative and specialized approach ensures that individuals receive comprehensive and targeted care across various medical domains.

Factors Affecting Doctor’s Salaries in South Africa

Several factors can affect a doctor’s salary in South Africa, and these factors can vary widely depending on the doctor’s speciality, experience, location, and other considerations. Here are some key factors that influence doctors’ salaries in South Africa:

1. Specialty

Doctors in different specialities often earn varying salaries. Specialists and subspecialists typically earn more than general practitioners.

2. Experience

The number of years a doctor has been practising can significantly impact their salary. More experienced doctors often earn higher salaries.

3. Location

The location of the healthcare facility or practice can affect salaries. Doctors in urban areas, especially major cities, often earn more than those in rural areas.

4. Type of Employer

Salaries can vary depending on whether a doctor works in the public sector (government hospitals and clinics) or the private sector (private practices and hospitals).

5. Patient Base

The size and demographics of a doctor’s patient base can influence income. Doctors with a larger and more affluent patient base may earn more.

6. Additional Qualifications

Specialized training, certifications, or additional qualifications can lead to higher salaries for doctors.

7. Public vs. Private Practice

Doctors in private practice have the potential to earn more than those in the public sector due to higher fees and patient payments.

8. Economic Conditions

Economic factors, such as inflation and the overall economic health of the country, can influence salary levels.

9. Negotiation Skills

A doctor’s ability to negotiate employment contracts and fee-for-service arrangements can impact their earnings.

10. Government Policies

Government policies and regulations related to healthcare, including reimbursement rates, can affect doctor’s income.

How to Become a Doctor in South Africa

Becoming a doctor in South Africa typically involves several years of education and training. Here are the general steps to become a doctor in South Africa:

1. Complete a Bachelor’s Degree

The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. While there is no specific requirement for the type of bachelor’s degree, many aspiring doctors choose programs in the sciences such as biology, chemistry, or biochemistry. It’s important to maintain a high academic performance during this stage.

2. Medical School Admission

After completing a bachelor’s degree, you need to gain admission to a medical school. South Africa has several medical schools that offer the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree. To be admitted, you typically need to take the National Benchmark Test (NBT) and the Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT).

3. Medical School

Medical school in South Africa usually takes about six years to complete. The curriculum includes both theoretical coursework and clinical training. You’ll learn about various medical specialities and gain practical experience in hospitals and clinics.

4. Internship

After graduating from medical school, you’ll need to complete a two-year internship at a recognized healthcare institution. During this time, you’ll rotate through various medical specialities and gain hands-on experience.

5. Community Service

Following your internship, you are required to complete a year of community service in a government-designated underserved area. This service is mandatory for medical practitioners in South Africa.

6. Register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)

To practice as a doctor in South Africa, you must register with the HPCSA. This process involves meeting specific requirements and passing the HPCSA’s board exam.

7. Specialization (Optional)

If you wish to specialize in a particular field of medicine, you can apply for postgraduate training programs in your chosen speciality. These programs typically take several years to complete and include further examinations.

8. Continuing Education

Medical professionals are required to engage in ongoing professional development and continuing education to maintain their licenses and stay up-to-date with medical advances.



The average doctor’s salary in South Africa is R81,250 per month. Becoming a doctor in South Africa is a rigorous and lengthy process. It involves completing a bachelor’s degree, gaining admission to a medical school, and undergoing six years of medical education. Following graduation, a two-year internship and one year of community service are mandatory.

Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is a crucial step to practice medicine legally. Specialization is optional but requires further training. Continuous learning is essential to maintain one’s medical license and stay updated in the field. The journey to becoming a doctor in South Africa is a significant commitment but offers the opportunity to make a substantial impact on healthcare.