How To Become A Medical Practitioner In Australia?

Mature students want to know how they can become medical practitioners in Australia from overseas.


Are you thinking of pursuing a career in Medicine in Australia? You're in the right place!

Australia has been a popular choice for many qualified medical professionals who desire to work abroad. This is due to the country's high pay range, high standard of living, and relaxed lifestyle, all of which are rare to find in other nations.

The path to becoming a Medical Practitioner in Australia can be long and challenging, requiring academic and personal commitment. Hence, it is crucial to map out your route ahead of time to ensure a smooth journey.


The post below includes everything you need to know about how to become a Medical Practitioner in Australia and live the life of your dreams.


1. What is a Medical Practitioner in Australia?

In Australia, a Medical Practitioner is a trained and licensed professional who provides treatment and diagnoses for mental and physical illnesses, infections, and diseases. They also prescribe medications and refer patients to other experts as needed.

“Medical specialists” is another term used to describe medical practitioners. These specialist medical practitioners include gynaecologists, cardiologists, paediatricians, obstetricians, dermatologists, allergists, respiratory specialists, pathologists, and emergency medicine specialists.


2. Primary Responsibilities of a Medical Practitioner in Australia


  • Examine the patient to determine the nature of illness or disorder, and keep track of their medical records.

  • Provide overall care for patients, administer treatments, prescribe medications, and conduct other remedial procedures.

  • Perform, order, and analyse X-rays, laboratory tests, and other diagnostic procedures and images.

  • Provide postnatal and prenatal care.

  • Help with disease prevention and disorders by advising patients on hygiene, exercise, diet, and general health.

  • Prescribe, administer, and vaccinate patients to protect them from contagious or infectious diseases.

  • Organise hospital admissions for patients.

  • Report notifiable diseases, deaths, and births to government authorities.

  • Refer patients to other medical professionals and exchange crucial medical information with them.

  • Track patients' responses to treatment and their progress.



3. Pathways to Become a Medical Practitioner in Australia

There are two ways to become a Medical Practitioner in Australia. Let us check them out:


1. Enter Undergraduate Medical Program in Australia

This is one of the most common pathways for students interested in Medicine. To enter the undergraduate medical program, students must study appropriate subjects in school and obtain a sufficient ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank).

Entering the undergraduate medical program also means gaining direct entry to Medicine. It mainly requires you to enrol in an undergraduate medical degree at a recognised Australian university the year after graduating from high school.

Within five to six years of starting this program, you will be an intern and on your road to becoming a medical practitioner in Australia.

If you are wondering which Australian medical school you should enter? Thankfully, you do not have to strive for Australia's top or most competitive medical institutions (unless you really wish to) since they all provide equally suitable programs for training as a medical practitioner.

Every major city in Australia has a university that offers a pathway to Medicine or a degree in Medicine. Also, you will find many regional institutions that provide medical programs. All in all, there are several options available.

Here are a few things you must consider before getting direct entry to Medicine or applying for an undergraduate medical program:


  • Prepare ahead of time: You cannot directly apply for Medicine immediately after school ends. Many application processes may require you to take the UCAT (University Clinical Aptitude Test) while still in school. This test usually takes place in the mid-year of your school.


  • Study the right subjects: While still in school, make sure to study the appropriate subjects like chemistry, mathematics, English, biology, physics and other required subjects that will help you with your medical degree. Discuss which subjects suit you the best with your preferred university or your school Career Advisor.


  • Prepare to be interviewed: Several Australian universities employ an interview procedure to help them evaluate and select suitable candidates. You can prepare for interviews by asking someone else to question you and by getting comfortable talking about your aspirations, accomplishments, and ambitions for your medical career.


  • Consider other options: Some universities may have hundreds of students with good ATARs applying for a limited number of seats, so make sure you have a few backup plans if something does not work out. 

2. Study Postgraduate Medical Degree in Australia

Are you pursuing a degree in information technology, physics, or accountancy and did not consider entering a medical program until now? Don't worry; you can still join a postgraduate program to study Medicine.

Australia and the rest of the world require medical professionals with diverse skills and life experiences. You are likely to have both as a postgraduate applicant who wants to enter a medical school.

In Australia, you will find many postgraduate options to enter the medical field. Many of these options do not even require you to complete specialised healthcare, Medicine, or science-related undergraduate degrees.

Unlike undergraduate medicine programs based on the UCAT or ATAR, postgraduate medicine programs may assess your academic standing, current GPA (Grade Point Average), and GAMSAT (Graduate Medical School Admissions Test) scores.

In certain situations, you'll need to apply through GEMSAS, and you may also be required to pass a candidate selection interview conducted by the university panel. This usually depends on the university to which you are applying.

You will be on your way to becoming a medical intern in an Australian hospital after four years of your postgraduate study.


4. How Can International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Practise Medicine in Australia?

IMGs (International Medical Graduates) who receive their medical degrees from a school situated outside Australia or New Zealand and want to practise Medicine in Australia must show that they are eligible for any one of the following assessment pathways:


  • Standard Pathway 

  • Competent Authority Pathway

  • Specialist Pathway


The assessment processes mentioned above evaluate an IMGs' clinical knowledge and skills that help them qualify for medical registration in Australia. Now let us learn more about these pathways:


The Standard Pathway

IMGs wishing to receive general registration with the Board can choose the Standard pathway. All in all, this pathway is designed for applicants who are not eligible for the Specialist or Competent Authority pathways.

IMGs eligible to apply for assessment through this pathway usually include those who possess primary Medicine or surgery qualifications from a professional training institution recognised by WDOMS (the World Directory of Medical Schools) and the Australian Medical Council.

IMG applicants considering the Standard pathway should directly apply to the AMC (Australian Medical Council).

Note: IMGs must take and pass the AMC Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) MCQ examination before applying to the Board for registration. Find out more about the Standard pathway here.


The Competent Authority Pathway

The Competent Authority pathway is mainly designed for non-specialists who have received their training outside of Australia, but it is also open for some specialists like general practitioners. Overall, this pathway results in general registration.

International Medical Graduates eligible to apply for assessment through this pathway include those applicants who have completed training or passed recognised exams with a board-approved competent authority.

Note: IMGs interested in the Competent Authority pathway must apply directly for provisional registration with the Medical Board of Australia. Get more information about the Competent Authority pathway here.


The Specialist Pathway
The specialist pathway is specially designed for the following International Medical Graduates:


  • Internationally trained specialists applying for specialist level in Australia under the "area of need" position.


  • Internationally trained specialists applying for an assessment of comparability to an Australian-trained specialist in a particular discipline.


IMGs eligible for assessment through this pathway include those who possess a primary qualification in Medicine or surgery from a professional training institution recognised by WDOMS (the World Directory of Medical Schools) and the Australian Medical Council.


Additionally, to practise in their field of specialty, applicants must complete all examination and training requirements in the country where they trained.

Note: IMGs interested in the Specialist pathway should apply directly to the appropriate specialist medical college to get approval to become a specialist. Get more information about the Specialist pathway here.


5. What are the Skills Required to Become a Medical Practitioner in Australia?

If you possess all of the basic educational qualifications but lack the necessary skills to become a medical practitioner in Australia, you may get yourself into a lot of trouble.

It is required that you have specific skills in order to be a competent medical practitioner in any discipline. You can only succeed in this field if you have the necessary skills.

The following are the essential skills needed to become a successful medical practitioner in Australia:


  • Effective decision-making skills

  • Ability to solve problems

  • Good communication skills

  • Effective time management

  • Analytical ability

  • Excellent practical skills

  • Ability to work long hours, often under pressure.

  • Management and leadership skills

  • Ability to put patients at their ease and inspire confidence and trust.

  • A desire to keep learning throughout one's career.

  • A commitment to caring for others.


6. What are Employment Opportunities for a Medical Practitioner in Australia?


Medical practitioners in Australia can work in public hospitals or community health centres. They may also collaborate with another medical practitioner, work in a group setting, or have their private practice. Furthermore, they can be hired by the Australian Defence Force to work as Navy Doctors and provide medical care to personnel both on and off-shore.

Employment opportunities for a medical student may also be determined by other factors, including changing patterns of injury and illnesses, birth and death rates, the trend toward preventive Medicine, population levels and movements, the treatment cost and the patient's health insurance, technological advances in health care, and a lot more.

Even though there are plenty of medical practitioners in big cities and towns of Australia, there are still shortages in isolated and rural areas.



7. How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Practitioner Australia?


Becoming a medical practitioner in Australia is more than a battle.


Firstly, you must have an excellent score to gain a place in Medical School and then it takes a minimum of ten years of full-time study and internship to start practising as a medical professional. Also, it is not unusual if it takes 12 to 14 years to complete the degree.


8. How Much Does a Medical Practitioner Earn in Australia?

One of the most significant benefits of becoming a medical professional in Australia is that they have the highest income compared to other professions in Australia.

In general, a medical practitioner's starting salary in Australia varies between $100,000 and $400,000 per year. However, if you have a higher employment status, better qualifications, and more years of experience, you may earn more.

Your specialisation also plays a massive role in determining your salary. For example, a dental doctor's pay may differ from a Podiatrist's earnings.

Here is the average salary estimate for different areas of speciality in the medical field:


  • Neurosurgeon: $290,000

  • General practitioner: $123,000

  • Psychiatrist: $133,000

  • Dentist: $100,000

  • Anaesthesiologist: $196,000

  • Obstetrician/Gynecologists: $140,000

  • Physiotherapist: $67,000

  • Podiatrist: $65,000

  • Paediatrician: $99,000

  • Optometrist: $87,000


Apart from the salary, medical practitioners in Australia enjoy several other advantages. Some of these advantages are offered as incentives, which include the following:


  • Pension benefits

  • Annual leave: almost a month of paid leave per year.

  • Sick leave: two weeks of paid leave per year.

  • Some hospitals even offer cheap or free accommodation, subsidised meals, and other perks.


Now that you know everything about how to become a medical practitioner in Australia, you are ready to explore your options and begin your medical journey now!


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