Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist

Ear, nose and throat specialists (ENTs) investigate and treat problems or diseases of the ear, nose and throat. They are also known as otorhinolaryngologists.

As qualified medical doctors, they can prescribe medicine, treat and examine patients and perform operations. ENT specialists treat conditions such as deafness, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing noises in the ears) or hearing impairments. They can repair a torn eardrum and even control excessive snoring by means of implants.

They also prescribe hearing aids, do cochlear implants (implanting of electrodes in the inner ear to stimulate nerves which conduct hearing), treat nasal polyps (growths), treat sinusitis and remove tonsils, perform rhinoplasty (an operation to change the shape of a nose) and deal with various other conditions and complaints. Patients make appointments to consult them, and they visit others in hospital and perform surgery.

They normally work in well-equipped, nicely furnished well-lit consulting rooms, and in hospitals.

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
Each institution has its own entry requirements.

Note: Competition to enter medical studies is stiff and there are usually many applicants with excellent grades who would naturally be given preference.

What to Study

MBChB degree at UP, UCT, UFS, Wits, US, UL, UKZN:

  • Theoretical training: 6 years
  • Student internship: 1 year
  • Practical work at a hospital: 1 year (also known as the house doctor year).

Post-graduate study for specialisation as an ENT specialist: 4 years.

Additional Requirements: before commencing post-graduate study for specialisation as an ENT specialist, the candidate must:

  • be in possession of a MBChB degree for 2 years
  • be registered as a medical doctor with the Interim Medical and Dental Council (IMDC) of South Africa for 1 year.

Registration: on successful completion of the examination to qualify as a specialist, the candidate must register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as an ENT specialist.


  • private practice
  • hospitals and other health care facilities
  • medical schools
  • clinics

Further Information

Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
P O Box 205
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 338-9300 Fax: (012) 328-5120
E-mail: hpcsa@hpcsa.co.za

Getting Started

  • do voluntary work for a health care facility
  • try to obtain part-time or voluntary work at a general hospital or other health care facility
  • do first aid courses with such organisations as St John’s Ambulance
  • make an appointment to speak to an ear, nose and throat specialist about this type of career