SPECIALIST VS GENERAL PATHWAY
The Specialist Pathway and General Pathway (e.g- going through the training pathway via gaining general registration then joining a training program) are two different things.
The specialist pathway entails having had previous training from your country AND being recognized by the specialty college (e.g. Royal Australasian College of Surgery/ Physicians/ EM/ GP). Being recognized as a specialist by the various colleges is very difficult, but NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
The steps involved: (from what I have seen with my friends who came here as specialists and have been recognized by the colleges)
1. Obtain a fellowship in one of the hospitals under your speciality. (This is perhaps one of the most important because it allows you to meet the big bosses of the colleges who will ultimately decide if you are comparable to the rest of the graduates in Australia. Fellowships may take 1 or 2 years, but most will be paid work. Some hospitals now require you to pass the AMC MCQ before you can apply (similar to the US where the USMLE step 1 is required).
2. Submit your credentials to the specialty college who will either do one of 2 things:
a. Approve you outright as a comparable specialist but you need to take the specialty boards
b. Ask you to train a bit more (another 1 or 2 years more) but then you still need to take the specialty boards
3. After the specialty college gives you full accreditation, you can then apply for the Specialist Pathway via the AMC.
4. Once you get the Specialist Certificate from the AMC, you can then apply for permanent residency.
This process may take around 3 to 4 years… if everything goes well!
GENERAL PATHWAY (a.k.a – going through general registration and then applying to a specialist college for further training)
Compared to the specialist pathway, the general pathway involves having to go through the bottom rung (e.g. – junior doctor) and then qualifying for general registration through the AMC and then applying for the specialty of your choice.
- Apply for and pass the AMC MCQ and IELTS (all bands above 7.5).
- Apply to an Australian hospital and start work as a junior doctor. Being a junior doctor can mean just finished internship (Post-graduate year 2) OR you already have previous training in a specialty and the hospital is accepting you as a registrar in a specialty (commonly medicine and emergency medicine, but people get into surgery and paediatrics as well)
- Ask for rotations in Emergency Medicine, Medicine and Surgery – the 3 required specialties for general registration with APHRA.
- Pass the AMC Clinicals exam! (It takes 1 to 1.5 years to get a schedule, but some people have passed the AMC clinical exams first before doing the required rotations in number 3 above.
- Obtain permanent residency. This may not apply to some of you who might have received your permanent residency through other means.
- Apply to the specialty college of your choice. (Most colleges now are asking for full registration, hence this is step 6, but previously, you could apply to the college of physicians and college of emergency medicine before you pass the AMC exams and obtain full registration.) The College of Surgery and College of Anaesthetics require permanent residency. It is one of the first questions on their application.
- Pass the specialty primary and then fellowship exams. Some of the colleges only have 1 exam (RACP) some have the primary and fellowship (ACEM).
This process, from passing the AMC exams to becoming a consultant specialist may take around 10 years… or more!Share on Facebook
- written by an IMG who has firsthand experience
- in-depth step-by-step explanation of pathways
- insider tips on writing a curriculum vitae