Average Medical Doctor Salary in South Africa (2024)

The average Medical Doctor salary in South Africa is R136,272 per month. An entry-level Medical Doctor earns a salary range of R48,308 a mid-career level earns a salary range of R85,167 and a senior/experienced level earns R114,000 per month.

Average Medical Doctor Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Medical Doctors 48,308
Mid-Career Medical Doctors 85,167
Experienced Medical Doctors 114,000


Types of Medical Doctors and Salary in South Africa Per Month

Type of Medical Doctor Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
General Practitioner 140,297
Specialist Physicians 151,000
Surgeon 206,299
Anaesthesiologist 213,146
Paediatrician 127,216
Obstetricians & Gynecologists 175,000

In South Africa, there are various types of medical doctors, each specializing in different areas of healthcare. Below are some common types of medical doctors. Please note that salaries can vary depending on factors like experience, location, and the specific healthcare facility or organization.

Types of Medical Doctors and Their Functions in South Africa

1. General Practitioners (GPs)

GPs are often the first point of contact for patients and provide primary healthcare services, including diagnosing and treating a wide range of common medical conditions, as well as referrals to specialists when necessary.

2. Specialists

Specialists are medical doctors who have completed additional training in a specific field of medicine. Examples include cardiologists (heart specialists), dermatologists (skin specialists), and neurologists (nervous system specialists). They diagnose and treat complex medical conditions related to their area of expertise.

3. Surgeons

Surgeons are specialized medical doctors who perform surgical procedures. They may include general surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, and various other surgical specialities.

4. Pediatricians

Pediatricians specialize in the care of children and adolescents, providing medical care, vaccinations, and guidance on child health and development.

5. Obstetricians and Gynecologists

These doctors focus on women’s reproductive health, including prenatal care, childbirth, and the treatment of gynaecological conditions.

6. Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who diagnose and treat mental health conditions and can prescribe medications for psychiatric disorders.

7. Anesthetists

Anaesthetists are responsible for administering anaesthesia during surgical procedures to ensure patient comfort and safety.

8. Radiologists

Radiologists use medical imaging technologies like X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans to diagnose and monitor medical conditions.

9. Pathologists

Pathologists are experts in laboratory medicine and analyze blood, tissue, and other samples to diagnose diseases.

10. Emergency Medicine Physicians

These doctors work in emergency departments, providing immediate medical care to patients in critical conditions.

11. Occupational Health Physicians

They focus on employee health, workplace safety, and the prevention of work-related illnesses and injuries.

12. Public Health Physicians

Public health doctors work on the prevention and management of health issues at a population level, such as disease outbreaks and health promotion.

Factors Affecting Medical Doctor Salary in South Africa

The salary of a medical doctor in South Africa can be influenced by several factors, including but not limited to:

1. Specialty

Different medical specialities command different salary ranges. For example, specialists and surgeons typically earn higher salaries compared to general practitioners.

2. Experience

As doctors gain more experience, their salaries tend to increase. More experienced doctors are often paid more for their expertise.

3. Location

The location where a doctor practices can significantly impact their salary. Doctors working in urban areas, especially in private practice, tend to earn more than those in rural areas or public health settings.

4. Type of Employment

Whether a doctor works in the public sector, a private hospital, or runs their private practice can affect their earnings. Private practice doctors often have the potential to earn more, but they also have higher overhead costs.

5. Demand for Specialties

The demand for certain medical specialities can impact salaries. Some specialities are in higher demand and may offer higher compensation due to shortages in specific areas.

6. Qualifications and Training

Doctors with additional qualifications, such as advanced degrees or subspecialty training, may earn higher salaries. Board certification or fellowship training can also lead to increased earning potential.

7. Hours Worked

The number of hours a doctor works, including overtime and on-call hours, can influence their overall income.

8. Employer and Negotiation Skills

Negotiation skills can play a significant role in salary determination. The ability to negotiate a favourable contract or package can lead to higher earnings.

9. Economic Conditions

The overall economic conditions in South Africa can impact salary levels. Inflation and economic stability can affect salary increases and bonuses.

10. Professional Network

Doctors with a strong professional network may have access to better opportunities, which can result in higher-paying positions.

11. Benefits and Bonuses

Additional benefits such as medical insurance, retirement plans, and performance bonuses can add to a doctor’s overall compensation package.

12. Government Regulations

Government regulations and healthcare policies can also affect doctors’ salaries, especially for those working in the public sector.

13. Market Forces

Market forces and competition in the healthcare industry can influence salaries. In areas with more healthcare providers, salaries may be more competitive.

How to Become a Medical Doctor Salary in South Africa

Becoming a medical doctor in South Africa is a rigorous and lengthy process that involves several steps. Here’s an overview of the general pathway to become a medical doctor in South Africa:

1. Obtain a National Senior Certificate (NSC) or Equivalent Qualification

To be eligible for medical school, you should complete your high school education and obtain a National Senior Certificate with good grades in science subjects, particularly Biology and Physical Science.

2. Undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree (MBChB)

Most medical schools in South Africa offer a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree. You’ll need to apply to medical schools and be accepted into a program. The duration of the MBChB program is typically 6 years.

3. Medical School

During the first two years, you will generally focus on foundational science subjects like Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry.
The next three years are typically spent in clinical rotations, where you gain hands-on experience in various medical specialities.
The final year is often an internship or “community service” year, during which you work in public health settings.

4. Internship and Community Service

After graduating from medical school, you must complete a one-year internship at a recognized medical facility.
Following your internship, you must complete a two-year community service period, working in a public health facility to serve the community.

5. Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)

You must register with the HPCSA, which is the regulatory body for healthcare professionals in South Africa, to practice as a medical doctor.

6. Specialization (Optional)

After completing your community service, you have the option to pursue further specialization in a medical field of your choice, such as surgery, paediatrics, or internal medicine. This typically involves several years of additional training.

7. Continuing Medical Education

To maintain your medical license, you’ll need to participate in continuing medical education (CME) and stay up-to-date with the latest medical advancements.



The average Medical Doctor Salary in South Africa is R136,272. Becoming a medical doctor in South Africa is a challenging but rewarding journey. It requires a solid high school education with a focus on science subjects, followed by six years of medical school, including clinical rotations and community service. After graduation, a one-year internship and a two-year community service period are mandatory.

Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa is essential for medical practice. Optional specialization and ongoing education are available for those seeking to further their careers. Aspiring doctors must be committed, competitive, and adaptable, as the medical field is continually evolving, making continuous learning a necessity.