Getting Started as a General Practitioner in Australia | EPIC | ECFMG | AMC | Standard | Competent Authority | Specialist

This is a CORE BLOG and you can refer to related blogs in the FAQs at the bottom.

Need help understanding your pathway?


Date Updated: 2024-05-14

We know that there’s a lot of steps and exams you need to take before becoming a GP in Australia, and it can be overwhelming. So, we wrote this blog to make it simple and easy to understand for you!

The Process as an Australian Medical Graduate

After you have completed your medical degree and your internship year, and when you are ready to participate in Fellowship Training, you’ll have a Fellowship training program in your chosen speciality.

To become a General Practitioner in Australia, there are 5 Fellowship program options. We discuss these pathways here.

Note: If you were not an Australian permanent resident upon application to your Australian medical qualification then you will be restricted by 19AB. Please refer below.  

The Process as an International Medical Graduate (IMG)

There are 3 pathways in becoming a GP in Australia as an IMG which are Standard, Competent Authority, and Specialist Pathways.

If you’re taking the Standard Pathway, then you would need to complete your AMC Part 1. It is also optional to complete your AMC Part 2 however; it will support your job applications and is highly recommended. You can read more about it here.

If you’re under the Competent Authority Pathway, then you can go straight to finding a job after having your AMC portfolio established. You can read more about it here.

If you’re on the Specialist Pathway, then you need your comparability assessment. You can read more about it here.

As an overview for all the pathways, you need to create an EPIC account and apply to AMC for primary source verification. You would also need to pass the English Language Test or have English as your primary language. Know if you need to take a test here.

Depending on your pathway, you can find a job offer that suits you and take the PESCI exam to see if you qualify for the position. You’d also need to apply to Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) for medical registration, have a visa, and work in a DPA location or be in a 3GA program to access Medicare benefits. 

To be specific, let’s get started!

Verify your Medical Qualifications (EPIC & AMC)

First, have your medical qualifications assessed. You would need to apply to ECFMG to have your Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) and have your portfolio established at AMC. You will also need to meet the English Language skills standard by AHPRA.

If you’re on the Standard Pathway, then after this step you can apply to AMC Part 1. It is also optional to complete your AMC Part 2 however; it will support your job applications and is highly recommended.

If you’re on the Specialist Pathway and you want RACGP as your relevant specialist medical college for assessment, then you would need to apply for a comparability assessment first before finding a job offer. If you want ACRRM as your relevant specialist medical college for assessment, then you need to find a job offer first before applying for a comparability assessment.

Find a Job Offer

Here are some useful sources for you to check and help you in finding a great job offer that suits you:

Note that prior to accepting a role ensure that the role meets the requirements for AHPRA and Medicare. As an IMG, you will be restricted by 19AB. This means that you have to work in a (Distribution Priority Area) DPA location for 10 years in order to access Medicare benefits. 

Check the Health Workforce Locator to see if the practice you plan to apply to is in a DPA location here.

We also know that 10 years can be a long time, but don’t worry! There are ways to reduce the 10-year period like scaling (which means that the more rurally you work, the quicker your moratorium reduces) and you can have 19AB exemptions that allow you to work in any location. Read more about 19AB here.

Apply for a PESCI

As a GP, you can apply to PESCI once you have a job offer. PESCI stands for Pre-Employment Structured Clinical Interview. (If you’re on the Specialist Pathway, you can skip this step).

This is an assessment to see if you are suitable to practice in the specific position you applied for. The PESCI consists of a clinical interview using scenarios to test your knowledge, skills, and clinical experience.

You can have your PESCI with one of the following providers:

  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
  • Institute of Medical Education (IME)
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)

You can learn more about PESCI at our blog here

Apply for AHPRA registration

If you’re applying for a registration for the first time, there are three types of registration you may be eligible for. Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and the requirements before sitting your PESCI and applying to AHPRA. 

  • Limited Area of Need
  • Limited Post Graduate Training & Supervised Practice
  • Provisional AHPRA Registration

Read more about AHPRA in our blog here.

Please note that you are required to participate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to maintain their registration. This involves attending courses, workshops, and conferences to stay up-to-date with medical advancements. Read more about CPD here.

You must also meet the Recency of Practice registration standard which requires you to work at your practice for a minimum amount of time. You can learn more here.

Apply for a visa if you’re a temporary resident

As an IMG, you would need to have a visa to work in Australia. You can see more about the visa here.

Be in a 3GA Program

If you’re a resident, you can be restricted by 19AA. (If you’re on the Specialist Pathway, you can skip this step).

This means that you need to be in a 3GA program to access Medicare benefits until you achieve Fellowship. You will need to sit for either the ACRRM or RACGP Fellowship Exams to be a Fellowed GP. Read more about 19AA here, and which 3GA program you are eligible for here

Once you have passed, you will be a Vocationally Registered General Practitioner in Australia. Please keep in mind that you will continue to be restricted by 19AB until the end of your moratorium.

Obtain a Provider Number

When you have successfully completed your PESCI and AHPRA has granted you medical registration, then you need to obtain a provider number to bill Medicare for your services.This can be done through Medicare Australia.

Having a provider number is important because it gives Doctors access to Medicare benefits. What is Medicare? It is an insurance project sponsored by the Australian government to financially support people for their medical fees. So to access free or subsidised healthcare, Doctors usually have a provider number that represents them and their practice location.

After this step, congrats! You can start working as a GP in Australia! 

As you go along, you will also encounter various acronyms in the industry that may make your head swirl, so we made a handy guide for you here. It isn’t all inclusive but we will keep adding to it! 

As you continue working as a GP in Australia, it is important to know about the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) which is basically a list of codes that tells you what you’re allowed to bill Medicare for, based on the consult you’ve had. You can also check our handy guide here

If you need help in getting started as a GP in Australia, feel free to reach out to us at help@peoplemedical.com.au 

We Can Help You

Here at People Medical Consulting, we have a passion for guiding medical practitioners through their career pathways to Australia. We have extensive experience in assisting medical facilities in recruiting doctors from local and overseas who will best suit their requirements.

We provide Document Assistance for those requiring support for their PESCI with IME, ACRRM or RACGP, registration and all other mandatory AHPRA requirements, fellowship program related forms and letters, application for Medicare provider and prescriber numbers, application for 19AB or 19AA exemptions and preparation of employment documents.

If you want to talk to someone about your pathway or practice management—book a consultation with us below, or if you need Recruitment or Document Assistance, contact us at help@peoplemedical.com.au or click the buttons below. We’d be glad to help you!

Information from this blog has been taken directly from:

FAQs

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