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M-Z career guide

Click on the career of your choice from the options below.
You can also explore careers categorised as Professional, Practical, and Creative.

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Click on the career of your choice from the options below.
You can also explore careers categorised as Professional, Practical, and Creative.

Subscribe to Long Story Short, a newsletter for the young at heart. Follow us on TikTok and Instagram.

Medical technologist

Medical technologists do professional work in a laboratory following clinical procedures and performing chemical and biological tests on patient specimens to aid medical diagnosis. 

NSC or equivalent. English, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences.

Minimum APS of 30, English (5), Mathematics (4), Physical Sciences (4) , Life Sciences (5). Diplomas on offer at CPUT, CUT, DUT, MUT, NMU, VUT, INTEC

Neurosurgeon

Specialist doctors, neurosurgeons work on preventing, diagnosing and treating disorders of the brain, spine and nerves. They treat and manage conditions that affect the flow of blood to the brain. They perform operations and are involved in the rehabilitation of patients postoperatively.

NSC or equivalent Grade 12 qualification with bachelor’s pass. English, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and two others. Percentages are considered. A National Benchmark Test (NBT) must also be written.

Most universities that offer medicine require APS of at least 38 to 42. This differs depending on the university.

After qualifying as a doctor, time needs to be spent specialising in neurosurgery. This could take another two to three years. Universities that offer neurosurgery: UCT, SU, UCT, UKZN, WITS, UP.

CREATIVE

Make-up artist

They are professionals who apply make-up to change or enhance the appearance of people in productions, fashion shows or movies. They can also work specifically on brides.

No specific subjects, but Visual Arts and Drama are recommendations. NSC or equivalent.

Northlink FET, Prestige Academy, College SA, TUT. 

Master of ceremonies

The MC or various gatherings of people is a programme organiser. They have the presence and confidence to start, conduct and conclude formal ceremonies for a group of people.

No specific requirements. English, especially speaking in public.

Various online courses, Udemy, Toastmasters International short courses.

Network designer

They analyse existing networks and create customised computer systems to meet business needs, intranets, LANs, WANs and components.

NSC or equivalent. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, CAT, IT.

Bachelor’s degree in network engineering, information systems, IT or computer engineering. SU, UCT, WITS, UWC, RU, NMU, UFS, DUT, CUT, VUT, UV, UM, UFH, UL, UNIZULU, WSU, SPU, UP, SMU, College of Cape Town, Helderberg College, MANCOSA. Some TVET colleges.

Nanoscientist

They study the infinitely small – atoms and subatomic particles that make up the universe – to create new materials and make advances in the world of science , biology and chemistry.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, or Life Sciences.

Bachelor of Science degree – at most universities. Then a master’s degree.
UJ, UWC, WITS, UP, Unisa, SU, UKZN, UFS, UCT, TUT

PROFESSIONAL

Mechanical engineer

They work at planning and manufacturing and maintaining new mechanical systems by combining engineering physics and mathematics with materials science.

NSC or equivalent with APS between 26 and 42 depending on the university. Mathematics, Physical Sciences. 

UCT, UP, UKZN, SU, NWU, NMU, WITS, UJ, WSU, Unisa

Also, CPUT, CUT, DUT, MUT, TUT, VUT

They study biological, chemical, physical and geological  oceanography to understand the organisms that live in the sea.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. APS 30. Mathematics (6; Physical Sciences (5).

A specialist doctor that treats disorders of the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and two others. Percentages are considered. A National Benchmark Test (NBT) must also be written. Most universities that offer medicine require APS of at least 38 to 42. This differs depending on the university.

After qualifying as a doctor, you will need to specialise as a neurologist. 

WITS, SU, UP, UCT, UFS, UKZN, UL.

They provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about health conditions and provide advice and emotional support to patients and their families.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s or diploma pass. Mathematics, Life Sciences.

Training can happen on the job, while at a teaching hospital, or at university, interspersed with practical training.

PRACTICAL

They pose for artists, photographers or customers to help advertise a range of products. They also work as fitting or runway models to show off new clothing ranges.

No specific requirements. NSc or equivalent

Reputable modelling agencies. The Modelling Academy, Steele Model Studio, KS Modeling Academy.
University courses: Acting & Dramatics, Fashion & Lifestyle Design, Certificates in Modeling, Acting: LISOF, UJ, TUT, Vega, Damelin, Villioti Fashion Institute, Fedisa, Inscape.

They treat clients by using touch and pressure to manipulate soft tissue muscles to relieve pain, rehabilitate injury and reduce stress.

 

No specific requirement. NSC or equivalent is recommended but not essential.

Also called manicurists or pedicurists, they groom hands and feet.

No specific requirements.

An accredited nail technology course. Some TVET Colleges: TVET Colleges

They take care of one or more children in their homes while parents are at work. They often do household chores, prepare meals and transport children. They could assist with homework.

 

No specific requirements.  

They evaluate and treat people who have injuries, illnesses or disabilities and work with them to meet goals to recover, improve or maintain the skills they need to live and work.

English, Mathematics, Physical Sciences/Life Sciences. National Benchmark Test.

Once you earn a degree in Occupational Therapy at an accredited university, you need to be licensed by the HPCSA as an OT.

Once you earn a degree in Occupational Therapy at an accredited university, you need to be licensed by the HPCSA as an OT.

They are responsible for dispensing and advising on the safe use of prescribed and over-the-counter medication. They control, sell and store medicine. Industrial pharmacists are involved in research, development and manufacturing of drugs.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s or diploma endorsement. Mathematics (5), Life Sciences (5), Physical Sciences (5), English (5)

Entrance to  BPharm degree usually requires an APS of 27 to 32, depending on the university. RU, TUT, NMU, UL, UWC, WITS, UKZN, SMU, NWU, Unisa, UP. 

To practise as a pharmacist, you need a BPharm degree. After that, you need to gain practical experience for one to two years and then register with the SA Pharmacy Council.

Seen as the financial consultants of the construction industry, their training and experience qualify them to advise on costs and contractual arrangements. They are independent experts who are called in to conduct feasibility studies to estimate materials, time and labour costs. 

APs scores between 26 and 42 depending on the university.

Minimum APS of 30, English (5), Mathematics (4), Physical Sciences (4) , Life Sciences (5). Diplomas on offer at CPUT, CUT, DUT, MUT, NMU, VUT, INTEC

A bachelor’s degree in surveying, civil or structural engineering or construction is a good start. Some universities offer a BSc in Quantity Surveying. UJ, CPUT, DUT, UCT, UP, WITS, UFS, NMU. Others offer a specific Honours course upon completion of the bachelor’s degree. Registration is required with the SA Council for the Quantity Surveying Profession.

CREATIVE

They conduct their business on the internet. This can include being a blogger, a content creator, a consultant or owning an e-commerce site.

 

No specific requirements, but NSC or equivalent with English and Business Studies would be a recommendation.

Short courses on entrepreneurship: WITS, Unisa, CPUT, Regent Business School. 



They are shoe and leather workers who specialise in making shoes for people with foot deformities. This is to improve the function of walking, especially through using orthopaedic insoles called plantar orthoses.

No specific requirements.

Footwear Design & Technology School of SA, Style Architects Shoe Design Course, MISA School of Shoemaking & Design, Bonney & Wills School of  Shoemaking & Design. Also, some TVET Colleges: TVET Colleges

They select and review photos, edit them to their best advantage and work on an attractive layout. This can be for promotion, publication or distribution.

 

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s or diploma pass. Visual Arts a recommendation.

A bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, like visual arts, digital media or photojournalism. DUT, UCT, WITS, CPUT, UP, RU. Or a diploma in photo editing. UCT, Vega, Photography Institute of SA, TUT, VUT.

 

They are professionals who create and sell items of pottery, both functional and artistic. 

No specific requirements, but NSc or equivalent if you want to study at university. Visual Arts or Ceramics.

NMU, TUT, UKZN.

Also, pottery courses: Elza van Dyke, Calico Ceramics and many more.

Quilter

They make quilts, either by hand or machine, sewing together fabric and decorating the finished product with particular stitches.

 

No specific requirements. 

SA Quilters Guild has accredited teachers who offer training. SAQG Accredited Quilt Teachers



PROFESSIONAL

They are specialist doctors who provide prenatal care to pregnant women. They diagnose and treat pregnancy complications. They deliver babies and monitor the mother afterwards. 

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and two others. Percentages are considered. A National Benchmark Test (NBT) must also be written. Most universities that offer medicine require APS of at least 38 to 42. This differs depending on the university.

After you qualify as a doctor you need to complete a specialisation in obstetrics. WITS, UCT, SU, UP, UKZN, UFS, UL.

They are specialist dentists who perform surgery to the mouth, jaw and face.

NSC or equivalent Grade 12 qualification with bachelor’s pass. English, Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and two others. Percentages are considered. 

They study all fossilised past life, plants and animals to reconstruct early communities and try to understand the changes in the environment since then.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, Geography.

After a BSc, you need postgraduate qualifications to become a palaeontologist.  WITS, UCT, SU, U, UJ, UFS, RU. 

Palliative care specialist

They are qualified doctors who have specialised in palliative care, i.e. caring for the terminally ill and their families.  

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and two others. Percentages are considered. A National Benchmark Test (NBT) must also be written. Most universities that offer medicine require APS of at least 38 to 42. This differs depending on the university.

After you qualify as a doctor you need to complete a specialisation in palliative care. UCT, UP, SU.



Quantitative researcher

They analyse data for organisations to develop business models and aid in financial decision-making.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Business Studies.

Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, Statistics, Computer Science, or Finance. BSc in Quantitative Risk Management. NWU, WSU, Unisa, UP, UJ, 

PRACTICAL

Office assistant

Well-organised individuals, they take calls and deliver messages, maintain a filing system, organise travel arrangements, manage inventory and do data entry.

NSC is not essential, but is recommended.

Matric College offers various Office Admin courses with or without matric. Boston City Campus, College of Cape Town, Unisa. 

 

Orchid grower/orchidist

They cultivate orchids for the commercial market.

No  specific requirements. 

Various short and online courses. Join an orchid society. 

Plumber

Specialist artisans, plumbers fit, maintain and repair water lines. This includes toilets, baths, showers, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers

No specific subjects, but Mathematics is recommended.

Industry-recognised training is needed (Construction Education Training Authority), you must pass a trade test and register with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board. Some TVET Colleges: TVET Colleges

Specialist artisans, they apply paint, stain and other coatings to walls and ceilings, buildings, large machinery and equipment, bridges and other structures.

No specific subjects. NSC is not essential, but recommended.

Plascon Paint Academy, Northlink College, Protech Training Handyman Courses. Some TVET colleges: TVET Colleges



In the police or army, this is a relatively senior soldier who supervises stores or barracks and distributes supplies and provisions.

NSC or equivalent. English, Mathematics, Physical Sciences.

On-the-job training, gaining experience  and promotion in the army or police. 

The first contact with the public for any organisation, the receptionist helps everything to run smoothly. They greet visitors, answer the phone, run errands and remain professional in their interactions with customers or potential clients.

No specific requirements. NSC is a recommendation. Basic computer skills.

Subjects like Office Administration, Public Relations and Communication are useful. Boston City Campus, and Damelin offer one-year courses. DUT, CPUT, TUT, VUT and Unisa offer Office Management courses. Northlink and Boland FET Colleges offer Secretarial qualifications. You could also focus on becoming a medical receptionist through a Netcare learnership, Cape Town College or Skills Academy.

Getting a job as an office worker might be a good place to start and to gain the experience you need to become a receptionist.

Social workers are professionals who, as counsellors,  provide support and guidance and inform community members of their needs and human rights. As advocates for others, they champion the rights of those who are vulnerable and are unable to speak up for themselves, like children, women and the elderly.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. English and Mathematics.

Usually no fewer than 30 APS points, depending on the university. English HL (4) or FAL( 5), Another language (4), Mathematics (3) or mathematical Literacy (4).

Bachelor of Social Work – SA College of Applied Psychology, UCT, Unisa, UJ, UWC, SU, RU, UKZN, UP.  also, at some TVET Colleges: TVET Colleges

To qualify as a social worker, you need to register for an internship at an approved welfare organisation within the social services sector, where a specified number of hours of field instruction need to be completed. You are required to register with the SA Council for Social Services Professions (SACSSP) in order to practise as a social worker.

A teacher is anyone who provides instruction or education. This can be a very rewarding career because you can make a difference in the lives of your students. In South Africa you can qualify to be a Foundation Phase teacher (Grade R to 3); Intermediate phase(Grade 4 to 6); Senior phase (Gr 7 to 9) or Further education and training phase (Gr 10 to 12).

There are two routes to follow:
· A four-year Bachelor of Education (BEd) degree
· A three-to-four-year Bachelor’s degree, followed by a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE)

Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy. Then, there are other requirements depending on the subjects you want to teach.

Minimum requirements for the BEd degree differ at each university, but you will need to have passed the NSC, IEB or equivalent final school examination with a bachelor’s entrance pass. Minimum APS score is 26
For those who wish to do the degree course followed by the PGCE, they will need to meet the APS requirements for the particular field of study, e.g., Arts, Commerce, Science.

Currently, quite a selection of institutions are available. You can study at university, but also at FET and TVET colleges or even online through distance learning institutions.

https://www.careersportal.co.za/education/requirements-to-study-teaching-in-south-africa
Which Matric Subjects Are Needed For Teaching? https://www.skillsacademy.co.za/where-to-study-teaching-in-south-africa/

They provide tax advice services to clients in a range of industries. This includes the preparation and review of tax returns and reports. They review SARS assessments, manage billing in departments and complete individual tax returns.

NSc or equivalent with bachelor’s endorsement. Mathematics and English. Accounting and Business Studies recommended but not essential.

APS score = 26, depending on the university. Mathematics (3), English (3).

Specific courses on taxation are offered at: CPUT, DUT, VUT, WITS, UJ, UP, Unisa, NMU. Other courses: Credo Business College, SA Institute of Professional Accountants

You qualify if you have a three-year bachelor’s degree with Tax as a major subject and Accounting 3, together with three years of verifiable practical experience in a tax environment, and pass the CoTE Professional Tax Exam. 

CREATIVE

They play music, interact with listeners, interview artists, advertise forthcoming events and discuss current events on broadcast, satellite and internet radio services. They research for and host talk shows or news programmes.

NSC  with bachelor’s or diploma pass, for journalism with broadcasting as a major subject. English, Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy.

WITS, UCT, SU, UKZN, Unisa, UJ, UWC, NMU, RU, UP, WSU, CPUT, DUT, AFDA.

 

In traditional circuses, the ringmaster is the master of ceremonies for each performance, introducing each act. In smaller circuses, they are often the owner and artistic director as well.

No specific subject requirements. NSC or equivalent recommended.

Circus schools: SA National Circus School, Zip-Zap Circus.

Usually trained artists, they create art using metal, wood, wire, glass, plastic, paper, clay, fibreglass or a combination of these, through moulding, cutting or carving.

You can learn sculpting through private classes, but a degree or diploma in Fine Art is excellent grounding in all aspects of art. NSc or equivalent with bachelor’s endorsement.

They write copy for the web, i.e., the text we read on a website, social media or blogs. SEO (search engine optimisation) boosts your site up Google rankings.

NSC or equivalent is always a recommendation. English, CAT. 

Training can occur online but a bachelor’s degree in English, Communications or Journalism is a good foundation. SEO experience is essential to build up a portfolio. SA Writers College, GetSmarter (with UCT), and Jellyfish Training offer online courses.

They troubleshoot to diagnose and resolve the various problems that users of software, hardware and networks encounter.

NSC or equivalent with a bachelor’s or diploma endorsement. Mathematics, CAT, IT.

Berea Technical College, SA College of Technology, Varsity College, Skills Academy, CTU Training Solutions. Some TVET Colleges: TVET Colleges

 

Travelling to various destinations around the world, they experience the culture, food  and tourist attractions – and then they write about their experiences for others who might want to visit the same places.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s or diploma pass. English and Tourism are recommendations.

Bachelor’s degree in English, Communications, Journalism, Travel and Tourism. Specific courses: SA Writers College. Then build up a portfolio of your writing.

PROFESSIONAL

As qualified doctors, they have specialised in radiology, i.e., performing and interpreting diagnostic imaging tests and interventions using X-ray, Ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging equipment.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and two others. Percentages are considered. A National Benchmark Test (NBT) must also be written. Most universities that offer medicine require APS of at least 38 to 42. This differs depending on the university.

Business experts, they are responsible for determining the possible results of performing a specific business action. They analyse data, create visual models to represent possible outcomes and prepare reports about business decisions.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Business Studies, Accounting recommended.

Bachelor’s degree in finance-related subjects. Then about five years’ work experience. Specific diplomas in risk management: Unisa, MANCOSA, UJ, Institute of Risk Management, Milpark Education, WITS.

Also called software developers, they design and create computer systems and software applications in order to solve real-world problems.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s or diploma pass.

A bachelor’s degree in IT, Computer Science, Physics, Design Technology. WITS, UP, SU, UJ, NMU, UCT, RU, NWU, Unisa, CPUT, School of IT.

Some colleges also offer software development courses: Rosebank College, Varsity College, CTU, Academic Institute of Excellence, False Bay College, STADIO. Also, some TVET Colleges: TVET Colleges

 

Speech-language pathologists work at assessing, diagnosing, treating and preventing speech, language, social communication, cognitive- communication, and swallowing disorders in both children and adults.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. 

WITS, UCT, UP, SMU, UFH, SU, UKZN, UL.

They assist in planning the best use of public spaces, land and buildings. To achieve sustainability, they look at balancing social, environmental and economic issues when deciding whether to build in an area or not. 

NSc or equivalent with bachelor’s pass. Mathematics, Geography, Economics recommended. 

A bachelor’s degree in related subjects; then an Honours degree in Economics, Public Administration, Sociology, Statistics, Geography or Mathematics. Bachelor in Urban and Regional Planning: UP, WITS, UJ, UCT, CPUT, SU, TUT, DUT.

 

They are  involved in the planning, design, commissioning and monitoring

of complex telecommunications networks and associated broadcasting equipment.

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass.  Mathematics, Economics, Geography.

CPUT, UJ, UP, WITS, NWU, UFS, DUT, UCT, TUT.

PRACTICAL

They provide assistance to support research teams who are conducting experiments and gathering and analysing data.

 

NSC or equivalent with bachelor’s pass.

Bachelor’s degree in your area of interest, any field. Honours in that subject. Consider a master’s degree. Gain experience by becoming an assistant for doctoral or postdoctoral students. Any university or university of technology.

Usually runners themselves, they train athletes at all levels after having achieved certification.

No specific subject requirement. NSC or equivalent recommended.