Short course training
The South African short courses are divided into 3 levels: BAA - Basic Ambulance Assistant AEA - Ambulance Emergency Assistant CCA - Critical Care Assistant - Paramedic.
Someone who is starting out in a career in EMS (Emergency Medical Services) will begin as a BAA, which consists of a 5 - 6 week course that covers that basics of anatomy, ambulance theory and BLS - Basic Life Support skills, incl CPR, choking, etc. This qualification is also referred to as BLS (basic life support) and equates to a level 5 qualification. This level is a supervised practice and a BAA practitioner must work under someone of a higher qualification.
AEA or ambulance emergency assistant is the next level up and requires that the candidate have completed 1000 experimental hours working on the road (the exact hours to be worked is often debated and may very from college to college). At this level the practitioner performs ILS - intermediate life support skills and includes, defribilation, IV access, basic drug administration, etc. This qualification is often referred to as EMT (emergency medical technician) or EMP-I (emergency medical practitioner - intermediate) in the US. This is an inderpendant practise and the practitioner may operate un-supervised. This course usually takes around 18 weeks and includes both theory and road practicals
CCA - Critical care assistant or Paramedic, requires that the candidate be a registered AEA and have completed a further 1000 experimental hours on the road (again this may be more or less depending on the college you attend). Once qualified at this level you will be able to perform ALS (advanced life support) skills, including pharmocology, intubation, other invasive procedures. IN the states this qualification is often referred to as EMP-A (emergency medical practitioner - advanced). The CCA course will take approx 10 months to completed, although there are only 2 colleges in the country that offers the CCA course, this includes NetCare 911 and Metro college.
The HPCSA is has given an ultimatum to stop these short courses and to replace these with tertiary qualifications, including nCERT mid level program and nDIP / BTech qualifications.