Medical work and continuing education in France

Country facts and demographic data

Area: 672,352 km², population: 64.4 million (as of 2008)
16.20 % are older than 65, 65.20 % are between 15 and 64 years old, 18.60 % are younger than 14. The capital is Paris; the official language is French.

Healthcare system

The general health insurance, called the Régime général d’assurance maladie, is financed by deduction from wages. Most employees are automatically insured via the national health insurance. Most French people, however, have an additional private insurance.

Medical education and further training

The study of medicine takes about nine to twelve years and is offered by about 40 French universities. The practical part of further training is completed at university hospitals (Centres Hospitaliers Universitaires – CHU). There are three parts to the study of medicine, the PCEM, DCEM and Internat (specialist training). After the basic medical education, students can decide between the Residant (specialist training for general medicine, lasting approx. two years) and the Internat (specialist training lasting approx. four to five years).

Specialist training

To be admitted to specialist training, students have to pass the Concours d’internat – the better the result, the more eligible for the preferred place in the preferred city. Medical doctors from the EU are also allowed to take part in the Concours, but must show proof of three years medical practice and are subject to a special selection procedure. The Concours takes place once a year.


Faisant Fonction d’interne (FFI-positions) are positions which were not filled by French trainees. Foreign trainees may apply for such positions (for a period of six months), no exams are necessary. At the end of March and September, prospective trainees may apply for these positions with the Chef de Service (head of the department).


All medical doctors who plan to practice medicine in France have to register with the Ordre National des Médecins.

Important addresses

Personal accounts

My Extraordinary Erasmus Exchange in Paris
by Angelika Starzer
As a person who has always been fond of the idea of studying abroad and experiencing different educational systems I decided to apply for an Erasmus exchange during my 5th year at the medical school in Vienna, Austria.

ERASMUS semester in Paris
by Christoph Wippel
Travelling has always been one of the greatest joys for me. Broadening my horizon by exploring other countries, getting acquainted with new cultures, discovering unfamiliar foods and creating unique memories is a big part of what life is about for me.


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Österreichische Akademie der ÄrzteOÖ Gebietskrankenkasse, Referat für Wissenschaftskooperation Anästhesie in Entwicklungsländern e. V.Ärzte der WeltEuropean Health Forum GasteinAlumni Club Medizinische Universität WienAGEM - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnologie und MedizinÖsterreichisches Rotes Kreuz