Health Professions Council of South Africa

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is a statutory regulator of healthcare professions in South Africa.[1] The council promotes healthcare, determines standards of education and training, and sets and maintains standards of ethical professional practice for professions incorporated by the Health Professions Act No. 56 of 1974.

Health Professions Council of South Africa
Formation1974 (1974)
TypeStatutory regulator
PurposeProtecting the public and guiding professions
HeadquartersPretoria, South Africa
South Africa


The Health Professions Council of South Africa was established in 1974 under the Health Professions Act No. 56 of 1974.[2] Regulation of medicine and allied professions in South Africa began in the 19th century, with the establishment of the Colonial Medical Council in the Cape Province in 1891. The Natal Medical Council was then established in 1896, followed by the Medical and Pharmacy Council of the Orange River Colony in 1904 and the Transvaal Medical Council in 1905.[2]

Following the formation of the Union of South Africa, the South African Medical and Dental Council (SAMDC) was formed in accordance with Act 13 of 1928 to fulfil the functions of the former provincial councils.[2] Act 56 of 1974 replaced Act 13 of 1928, and the HPCSA as it exists currently was formed. The SAMDC continues as a separate legal entity.

Professions regulated by the HPCSA

The HPCSA regulates 12 categories of healthcare professionals. They are:

Category Protected Titles Number of Registrants[3]
Dental Assisting, Dental Therapy & Oral Hygiene Oral Hygienist

Dental Assistant

Dental Therapist

9 454
Dietetics and Nutrition Dietitian

Student Dietitian

Supplementary Dietitian


Student nutritionist

Supplementary Nutritionist

5 542
Emergency Care Basic Ambulance Assistant

Ambulance Emergency Assistant

Operational Emergency Care Orderly

Emergency Care Assistant


Emergency Care Technician

Emergency Care Practitioner

67 800
Environmental Health Environmental Health Practitioner

Student Environmental Health Practitioner

Food Inspector

Environmental Health Assistant

5 903
Medical and Dental (and medical science) Medical Practitioner

Clinical Associate

Anesthetist's Assistant

Health Assistant


Genetic Counsellor

Medical Physicist

Medical Biological Scientist

Biomedical Engineer (register closed for new registrations)

Clinical Biochemist (register closed for new registrations)

76 445
Medical Technology Medical Laboratory Scientist

Intern Medical Laboratory Scientist

Student Medical Laboratory Scientist

Medical Technologist

Intern Medical Technologist

Student Medical Technologist

Medical Technician

Student Medical Technician

Supplementary Medical Technician

Laboratory Assistant

Student Laboratory Assistant

Supplementary Laboratory Assistant

20 536
Occupational Therapy, Medical Orthotics, Prosthetics & Arts Therapy Occupational Therapist

Supplementary Occupational Therapist

Occupational Therapy Technician

Occupational Therapy Assistant

Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics

Supplementary Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics

Orthopaedic Footwear Technician

Orthopaedic Technical Assistant

Assistant Medical Orthotics and Prosthetics & Leatherworks

Arts Therapist: Drama, Music, Art & Movement

9 324
Optometry & Dispensing Opticians Dispensing Optician

Student Dispensing Optician

Supplementary Optical Dispenser

Student Supplementary Optical Dispenser

Supplementary Optometrist


Student Optometrist


5 331
Physiotherapy, Podiatry and Biokinetics Physiotherapist

Student Physiotherapist

Physiotherapy Technician

Physiotherapy Assistants

Student Physiotherapy Assistant

Remedial Gymnasts

Supplementary Biokineticist

Supplementary Podiatrist

Supplementary Physiotherapist




Biokineticist Intern

Student Biokineticist

Student Podiatrist

14 753
Psychology Psychologist

Intern Psychologist

Student Psychologist

Registered Counsellor


Student Psychometrist


Student Registered Counsellor

19 391
Radiography & Clinical Technology Student Radiographer


Supplementary Diagnostic Radiographer

Clinical Technologist

Encephalographic Technician

12 893
Speech Language and Hearing Professions Speech Therapist

Speech Therapist & Audiologist


Hearing Aid Acoustician


Supplementary Audiologist

Supplementary Hearing Aid Acoustician

Supplementary Speech Therapy and Audiology

Speech Hearing and Correctionist

Community Speech and Hearing Worker

Speech Therapy Assistant

Speech and Hearing Assistant

5 281

All of these professions have at least one professional title that is protected by law, including those shown above. Anyone using these titles must be registered with the HPCSA. It is a criminal offence for someone to claim that they are registered with the HPCSA when they are not or to use a protected title that they are not entitled to use.


  1. "Overview - HPCSA". Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  2. "History - HPCSA". Retrieved 2019-03-12.
  3. "Statistics - HPCSA". Retrieved 2019-03-12.
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