Working as a Doctor in Australia | Academically

Know All About Working as a Doctor in Australia

Mar 16, 2024 3 min read
Working as a Doctor in Australia

Key Takeaways: 

  • IMGs should carefully plan their approach, considering the unique requirements and processes of each pathway, to ensure a smooth transition into the Australian medical landscape.
  • These exams, comprising CAT MCQ and Clinical Examination or Workplace-Based Assessment, assess knowledge, clinical skills, and attitudes in line with Australian standards.

In the vast landscape of global healthcare, few destinations captivate the imagination of medical professionals quite like Australia. Australia, with its diverse landscapes and vibrant cities, offers an attractive destination for medical professionals seeking international opportunities. However, before practising medicine there, doctors must navigate through specific registration pathways. This overview sheds light on the three primary registration pathways for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) and the associated application process.

Overview of Working as a Doctor in Australia

Australia offers a robust healthcare system, making it an attractive destination for medical professionals. To practise as a doctor, registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is mandatory. This involves thorough documentation of qualifications, work experience, and language proficiency. Australia has a diverse range of medical specialties and a high demand for skilled healthcare professionals.

Registration Pathways

Global doctors planning to practise medicine in Australia have different pathways to choose from. Let us understand each of them in detail.

1. Standard Pathway

The Standard Pathway evaluates clinical skills and knowledge through an AMC-accredited authority. There are two routes within this pathway:

  • AMC exams: Primarily involving the AMC CAT MCQ Examination and the AMC Clinical Examination, this method is headed towards non-specialist applications.
  • Workplace-based assessment: This is a combination of the AMC CAT MCQ Examination and workplace-based assessment conducted by an accredited authority. Currently, four states offer accredited programs for workplace-based assessments.

2. Competent Authority Pathway

Designed for IMGs seeking general registration, whether specialists or non-specialists, this pathway involves assessments by international authorities recognised by the Medical Board of Australia. Approved competent authorities include:

  • General Medical Council (United Kingdom)
  • Medical Council of Canada
  • Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates of the United States
  • Medical Council of New Zealand
  • Medical Council of Ireland
  • National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (COMLEX-USA)

3. Specialist Pathway

Tailored for specific categories, the Specialist Pathway is for:

  • Overseas-trained specialists seeking recognition comparable to Australian standards.
  • Overseas-trained specialists applying for positions in areas of need.
  • Overseas-trained specialists or specialists-in-training desiring short-term advanced training in Australia.
  • IMGs interested in this pathway should check eligibility and requirements with the relevant Australian Specialist Medical College.

The Procedure for Working as a Doctor in Australia

  1. Eligibility and assessment: International medical graduates (IMGs) need to assess their qualifications through the Australian Medical Council (AMC). The process involves background verification of educational qualifications and experience and assessments to ensure compatibility with Australian standards.
  2. English language proficiency: Sufficient English proficiency is an important aspect. IMGs may need to undertake exams like IELTS or OET.
  3. AHPRA registration: After successful assessments, doctors apply for registration with AHPRA, which grants them the legal right to practise in Australia.
  4. Specialist pathway: For those pursuing specialisation, additional training and assessments through relevant colleges are required.

Life of a Doctor in Australia

  1. Work environment: Doctors in Australia work in a variety of settings, including public hospitals, private practices, and research institutions.
  2. Work-life balance: Australia emphasises work-life balance, and doctors usually have reasonable working hours. The country's lifestyle encourages outdoor activities and recreation.
  3. Continuing professional development: Doctors are expected to engage in ongoing learning and continued professional development to stay updated with medical advancements.
  4. Cultural diversity: Australia's multicultural society contributes to a diverse patient population, offering doctors exposure to various medical cases.

AMC Examinations

The AMC examinations play a pivotal role in the assessment process. These exams gauge the level of medical knowledge, clinical skills, and attitudes expected from newly qualified graduates of Australian medical schools. The examinations consist of:

  • AMC CAT MCQ Examination: A computer adaptive test (CAT) that evaluates knowledge in general practice, internal medicine, paediatrics, psychiatry, surgery, obstetrics, and gynaecology.
  • AMC Clinical Examination: Assesses clinical skills in various medical fields and evaluates the ability to communicate effectively with patients, their families, and other healthcare professionals.
  • AMC Workplace-Based Assessment (WBA): Available after passing the AMC CAT MCQ Examination and obtaining registration from the Medical Board of Australia. The WBA assesses clinical skills in a workplace setting.

Application Process

To begin the journey towards practising medicine in Australia, IMGs must follow a structured application process.

Primary source verification: All IMGs must apply for the primary source verification of their medical qualifications through the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC).

Choose a pathway: Select the most appropriate pathway based on qualifications and training.

AMC examinations: Prepare for and undertake the necessary AMC examinations based on the chosen pathway.

Workplace-based assessment (if preferred): Complete workplace-based assessments if pursuing the Standard Pathway with this additional component.

Apply for registration: Once all assessments are successfully completed, apply for registration with the Medical Board of Australia.

Begin Practising: Upon receiving registration, doctors can start their medical practice in Australia.

Benefits of Becoming a Doctor in Australia

High-quality healthcare system: Australia's healthcare system is world-renowned, providing doctors with access to state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge medical technology.

Competitive salaries: Doctors in Australia receive competitive salaries, with variations based on experience, specialisation, and location.

Quality of life: Australia consistently ranks high in global quality of life indices, offering a safe and pleasant environment for doctors and their families.

Research opportunities: The country encourages medical research, providing doctors with opportunities to contribute to advancements in their field.

For IMGs looking to enhance their chances of success, Academically offers the best AMC preparation course that will help them navigate through the rigorous assessment processes. The course covers everything from the initial documentation to a smooth migration. For more information, visit

In conclusion, the journey of working as a doctor in Australia involves a systematic approach, ensuring that international medical professionals meet the high standards set by the Australian healthcare system. With commitment and dedication, doctors can contribute to the health and well-being of the Australian population while embracing the unique opportunities the country has to offer.


Q: What are the three main registration pathways for IMGs in Australia?

Ans: The three primary pathways are the Standard Pathway, Competent Authority Pathway, and Specialist Pathway.

Q: What makes Australia an attractive destination for medical professionals?

Ans: Australia's diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, robust healthcare system, emphasis on work-life balance, and opportunities for professional development make it an attractive destination for doctors seeking international opportunities.

Q: What is the Specialist Pathway for doctors in Australia?

Ans: The Specialist Pathway is for overseas-trained specialists seeking recognition comparable to Australian standards, those applying for positions in areas of need, or those desiring short-term advanced training.