Medical work and continuing education in Australia

Country facts and demographic data

Area: 7,692,030 km², population: 21 million (as of 2008).
13.20 % are older than 65, 67.40 % are between 15 and 64 years old, 19.30 % are younger than 14. Australia consists of 8 states: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, Australia Capital Territory, North Territory. The capital is Canberra. The official language is English.

Healthcare system

In Australia there is a national health insurance called Medicare, which is financed by premiums. Medicare Australia guarantees free medical treatment for all citizens. The rate of premiums and taxes residents have to pay is determined by their income. Medicare offers free treatment in public hospitals, free or subsidised treatments from general practitioners and specialists, ophthalmologists and dentists.

Medical education and further training

The study of medicine at medical schools takes about four to six years, followed by a twelve month internship at a public hospital. Interns get to know different areas in the hospital by going through several rotations. On completion of the internship, Australian citizens receive full registration – full licence to practice medicine and have to work for at least a year as a resident or resident medical officer (RMO) in a public hospital, after which follows the specialist training.

Specialist training

Specialist training takes between three and eight years, depending on the field of medicine.

Requirements for medical practice

To practice medicine in Australia, it is necessary to register with the medical board in the state in which one wishes to practice.

Furthermore, doctors are required to pass two exams: the Australian Medical Council Exam (multiple choice computer test, consisting of two parts with 125 questions each, taking about three hours each) and the Clinical Examination (practical exam). More information at under “International Medical Graduates”.

Proof of English language skills via the IELTS examination is also required. Information about registering can be found here.


Registration is required at the state or territory board in which one wishes to practice. There are different forms of registration and the process of registration can differ from region to region.

On the website of the Department of Health and Ageing there are links to the different medical boards in Australia.

With full registration, one is allowed to practice medicine anywhere in Australia. To be able to fully register, doctors have to pass the AMC exams.

Important addresses


Personal accounts

Experience Report - Sydney
by Sina Manthey
During my final year at university medical school I completed a two months elective in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, Australia. The Westmead Hospital is a teaching hospital in the west of the city of Sydney, about a 45 minutes train ride from central station.

Working in Australia
by Dr. Renate Mundl
"I have seen so many disease patterns (multicultural in all aspects) that I only knew from text books, psychiatric as well as about Aboriginals and Torres Straight Islander with their spiritual belief system which is so contrary to westernized society."


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