Medical work and continuing education in Italy

Country facts and demographic data

Area: 301,336 km², population: 59.6 million (as of 2008)
19.90 % are older than 65, 66.40 % are between 15 and 64 years old, 13.80 % are younger than 14. The capital is Rome. The official language is Italian, with regional official languages in South Tyrol (German, Ladin), Aosta valley (French) and in Trieste and Gorizia (Slovenian).

Healthcare system

Italy has a national healthcare system. The national healthcare service Servizio Sanitario Nazionale (SSN) guarantees free medical treatment for all citizens. The Ministry of Health is responsible for the health plan, while the regional governments are responsible for planning, financing, control and supervision.

Medical education and further training

The study of medicine takes six years. To complete one’s degree students have to pass a state exam. After its completion, students receive the licence to practice. For the state exam, a six-month practical internship is required, which can be completed alongside the course of studies.
Italy produces a great number of medical doctors; it is therefore not easy to find a permanent position. 


It is necessary to register with the Ministry of Health, which is also jointly responsible with the Ministry of Education for the approval of foreign degrees. Further information at:

Important addresses

Personal accounts

Naples elective - experience report
by Marie Kaltenbrunner
Some time ago I had the fantastic opportunity to spend three months in beautiful Italy. During my 5th year of medical school I decided to visit a great city in the south of Italy called Naples. I completed three months elective in the subjects Gynaecology, Ophthalmology/ENT and Neurology at Medical University of Naples


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AGEM - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnologie und MedizinHilfswerk AustriaOÖ Gebietskrankenkasse, Referat für Wissenschaftskooperation Ärzte der WeltEuropean Public Health Association (EUPHA)AMREF - African Medical and Research FoundationCentro per la Formazione Permanente e l'Aggiornamento del Personale del Servizio SanitarionewTree