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.
Read more about the difference between the two colleges below.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) provides GP education and training. They have supported more than 23,000 GPs achieve Fellowship since 1958. They are the larger of the two colleges. Most GPs in metro areas hold a Fellowship from RACGP.
RACGP has four pathways that lead to Fellowship:
- Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP) — for MBBS graduates and experienced doctors. Training is government-funded, as part of the AGPT program, delivered through one of nine Regional Training Organisations (RTO) across Australia. Read more here.
- 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.
- Specialist Pathway Program (SPP) — A pathway to Fellowship for international medical graduates based on previous training and experience in general practice.
- The General Practice Experience (Practice Eligible) pathway — recognises the skills acquired via work experience in Australian and/or overseas general practice and is a way that international medical graduates can gain Fellowship.
RACGP Fellowship exams
Once you have completed two years equivalent of active training time, including all of General Practice Term (GPT) 1 and GPT2, you will be able to sit the RACGP assessment. The RACGP assessment comprises three segments: the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT), the Key Feature Problem (KFP), and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). You will need a pass in both the AKT and KFP exams before you can take the OSCE.
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.
ACRRM has three pathways that lead to Fellowship:
- 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. Read more here.
- Independent Pathway (IP) — Experienced doctors, who prefer self-directed learning. Training is self-funded (approximately $34,290 as of 2018) 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.
- Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) — Experienced doctors, who prefer self-directed learning. You will continue to live and work in your remote location while studying. Training is conducted remotely by RVTS and is government-funded. You apply directly with the RVTS. If you are selected by the RVTS, you may then enrol with ACRRM.
ACRRM Fellowship exams
Fellowship exams test for both clinical and written skills. Read more about ACRRM exams here.
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.