The process and pathway to becoming a doctor in Australia part two

December 18, 2014

Part 1

  • Main pathways into medicine
  • Application process for the different pathways

Part 2

  • Entry test for undergraduate and graduate pathways
  • What happens when you graduate from medical school?

Entry Tests For The Undergraduate & Graduate Pathways

  • The Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test (UMAT) – The UMAT forms a part of the selection process for most undergraduate medical courses. Some universities may consider your application without a UMAT score if you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian, but you will have many more options if you sit the UMAT. James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland is the only undergraduate medical course that does not use UMAT to select students.
  • The Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admission Test (GAMSAT) -The Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test is used as part of the selection process for all graduate-entry medical courses in Australia. Here too some universities may consider your application without a GAMSAT score if you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian but for other universities this is a mandatory requirement.

What Happens When You Graduate From Medical School?

Students who complete the six-year undergraduate medical degree and those who complete the four-year graduate medical degree follow the same path after they graduate from medical school. 

1st Step – Internship

All newly qualified medical graduates are required to successfully undertake a minimum one-year supervised practice or internship.  Successful completion of the internship proves that the student is fit to practice and qualifies them to get full registration.

This one-year internship period is done in accredited training hospitals and gives interns the opportunity to go through rotations in various fields so that they can experience all aspects of working as a doctor and perhaps find an area they want to specialise in.

2nd Step – Residency

Residents are doctors who have completed their internship and are employed in a hospital but who have not yet completed their pre-vocational training. After successfully completing your internship you qualify for full registration with the Medical Board in your state and can practice independently. Most people spend around 2 or 3 years working in residency to learn more about being a doctor and to decide which field they would like to specialise in. During this time they are known as either ‘Resident Medical Officers’ (RMOs) or ‘Junior Doctors’. Many people choose to continue working in this area their whole life as they thrive on the diversity it offers.

3rd Step – Specialist Training

Doctors who have completed their training to practise in a particular field of medicine are known as specialists.

Specialist training allows you to specialise in a particular healthcare area, which could be either a specialty practice or a specific part of the health system.

In Australia all specialist training programmes are governed by Medical Colleges. Most of these specialist training programs are very competitive to get a place on. Admissions are given based on a combination of any previous relevant work experience, an interview, and supervisor’s reports of previous training.