There are multiple pathways into general practice in Australia.
There are two medical colleges in Australia through which you can obtain GP fellowship.
The colleges in Australia are:
- the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM),
resulting in Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM).
- the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP),
resulting in Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP).
While the Fellowships from both ACRRM and RACGP allow you to practice as a GP in Australia, each vary on the details. When deciding which college to apply to, be sure to understand these details.
The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) provides a training program that specifically focuses on the needs of rural communities. While an urban general practitioner may refer cases to a specialist or tertiary hospital, a GP in rural or remote communities may not have a specialist hospital close-by. This can mean extending from primary to secondary to ongoing care. In this way, rural or remote GPs need a broader set of procedural and other skills to address the diverse needs of the community.
The ACRRM pathways which lead to Fellowship include:
Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) — for MBBS graduates and experienced doctors who prefer formal, educator-directed learning. Must be an Australian citizen. Training is government-funded, as part of the AGPT program, delivered through one of nine Regional Training Organisations (RTO) across Australia. This is the most common pathway for Australian doctors.
Independent Pathway (IP) — Experienced doctors, who prefer self-directed learning. Training is self-funded (approximately $34,000 as of 2019) and provided by ACRRM. This is a pathway for international medical graduates or Australian citizens who want to get into rural general practice. Application, selection and enrolment are all managed by ACRRM.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) provides GP education and training. For metro and rural GPs. The endpoint qualification is Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP).
The RACGP pathways which lead to Fellowship include:
Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program pathway —for MBBS graduates and experienced doctors who prefer formal, educator-directed learning. Must be an Australian citizen. Training is government-funded, as part of the AGPT program, delivered through one of nine Regional Training Organisations (RTO) across Australia. This is the most common pathway for Australian doctors.
- Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) — a qualification recognising advanced rural skills awarded in addition to FRACGP, this is not a stand-alone qualification, it is an extra year of training completed after you finish your FRACGP.
Specialist Pathway Program (SPP) — A pathway to Fellowship for International Medical Graduates (IMGs) based on previous training and experience in general practice.
The General Practice Experience Pathway (PEP) — recognises the skills acquired via work experience in Australian and/or overseas general practice and is a way that International Medical Graduates (IMGs) can gain Fellowship
Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS)
RVTS is a government-funded GP training program for medical practitioners working in rural and remote communities throughout Australia, and doctors working in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service.
The purpose of the program is to train doctors in remote communities for remote communities.
Through this training scheme, you live and work in your remote location while conducting your GP training remotely, supported by distance education and remote supervision.
Under the training program, you can elect to achieve Fellowship of either ACRRM and/or RACGP. You do not choose an RTO.
The three to four-year program delivers structured distance education and supervision to doctors while they continue to provide general medical services to a remote and/or isolated community.
If you are interested in this program, apply directly with the RVTS. Visit rvts.org.au for more information.
Recognition of prior learning for ACRRM and RACGP
Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is possible, depending on the rotations you have done in your hospital training and the completion of more than one year of hospital training. You must apply for RPL in the first year of general practice training. Make your request for RPL through your regional training provider once you have accepted a training place. Your application will be formally assessed by the regional training provider and the college.