How to Become a Doctor in Australia in 2022: What an Expert told me

Becoming a medical doctor in Australia or any other country is beyond wearing a white coat with a stethoscope around your neck. Skills, the right attitude, and expert knowledge are highly needed. In this post, you will discover all you need to know that can help you become an exceptional professional doctor in Australia.

Australia has long been a popular destination for most trained doctors who want to practice overseas. This is because of the country’s standard of living, high salary range, and laid-back lifestyle which is rare to be found in most countries.

This post provides information on how to become a doctor in Australia, admission requirements, Australian schools, and lots more.

You can quickly scroll the table of contents below to get an overview of all that this post entails.

Who is a Doctor?

A doctor is a person who cares for or restores a person’s health through a medical procedure. This person focuses on diagnosing and treating a person’s illness, disease, injury, pain, or other conditions.

He or she attends to the patient, understands their health problem, and uses their scientific expertise to learn the best way to treat the illness or anxiety.

Doctors can be found in many settings, including public health facilities, educational institutions, private practice, group activities, and hospitals. They have some diversity in their form and are now solid and part of a project that is respected around the world.

What are the roles of Doctors?

The role or duty of doctors depends largely on the field of medicine they specialize in. Categorically, there are different types of doctors;

These doctors specialize in the treatment of
immune system malfunctioning such as asthma, eczema, food allergies, insect sting allergies, and some autoimmune diseases.

Doctors in this specialty give pain relief drugs to patients that want to undergo operation, surgery, or childbirth.

As a cardiologist, you will oversee everything that has to do with blood and heart vessels. You will attend to patients with heart failure, attack, or high blood pressure.

As a Rectal Surgeon, you handle problems that have to do with the small intestine, cancer, hemorrhoids, inflammatory bowel disease, colon, and bottom.

They care for people who are critically ill or injured, often heading intensive care units in hospitals. You might see them if your heart or other organs are failing or if you’ve been in an accident.

These doctors specialize in digestive organs, including the stomach, bowels, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. As a Gastroenterologist, you will attend to patients with abdominal pain, ulcers, diarrhea, jaundice, or cancers in your digestive organs.

These doctors care for the elderly. They can treat people in their homes, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, assisted-living centers, and hospitals.

Working as a Family Doctor, your major role will be to take care of the whole family, including children, adults, and the elderly. You can do routine checkups and screening tests, give you flu and immunization shots, and manage diabetes and other ongoing medical conditions.

Why Do I Need to Become a Doctor in Australia?

Though becoming a doctor in countries like the USA, Germany, Canada or any other top countries can be rewarding, Practicing any medical profession in Australia can come with lots of benefits.

To start with, Australia has a high standard of living that makes it possible for doctors to have access to a high quality of life. Aside from that you will be honored and respected because Australia places high value on doctors due to their contributions to the health sector.

Also, there is a wider scope of job opportunities in Australia for medical professions than in some other countries. That means, no matter the area you want to specialize in, you can be sure of securing a job upon graduation.

Australia has a high standard of living that opens to a wider scope of opportunities as medical personnel.

More so, you will earn a fat salary and enjoy excellent job conditions. You and your family may have access to comprehensive public and private health care and world-class education.

When it comes to earnings, Australia is #3 in the list of countries with the highest salary earning after Canada. In Australia, the average yearly salary for a specialist is $260,000 while for a GP is $140,000.

Moreso, as a doctor in any specialty you can always learn and acquire advanced skills and education. Like if you work in private practice, you will need to join a program to gain vocational recognition. This can even land you more job opportunities.

Furthermore, Australia’s job security is one of the best. Australian workplaces encourage staff to support each other. You are also protected by your employment agreement and workplace laws.

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What do I need before I can work as a Doctor in Australia?

To work as an Australian Doctor in the country, you must meet up with the following;

Have a Medical Degree

This is actually the first step. You must have an accredited degree from a recognized school. The school must be recognized by either the Australian Medical Council or the World Directory of Medical Schools.

Have a Job

That you studied a medical course and decide to be administering drugs or treating minor illnesses in your area doesn’t really make you a professional doctor. You must have a job. Either you apply for a job as a non-specialist, specialist, or doctor-in-training.
Only then can you apply for registration or a visa.

Get your Skills Assessed

Your skills will be assessed by The Australian Medical Council which is a part of registration. And to scale through this stage, you need to have a certain standard of English language skills.

Then go for a Visa

To get to this stage, you must have completed the skill assessment and proven good. Note, getting a visa is very important if you must work in Australia.

Where can I work as an Australian Doctor?

There are so many places in Australia you can work. But if you are an international student, you might be restricted to work in certain locations. As your first job in Australia, you will need to work under supervision in an area that needs doctors.

This applies to public and private sector positions. These areas are called Distribution Priority Areas for GPs, or Districts of Workforce Shortage for other specialists.

For instance, if you are working in the private sector, you will need a Medicare Provider Number. Here, you can work as a GP or other specialist, or as a non-specialist. Doctors who are residents of Australia may be able to work in a public hospital without a Medicare provider number.

If you are working in the public system, your salary will depend on your experience and educational qualification. That means it will depend on if you are a working post-graduate trainee or intern, Residential Medical Officer, or Hospital Medical Officer. Also, the hospital you work with may help pay the costs of your move and temporary accommodation.

What Skills Are Required to Function as a Doctor?

If you have all the basic educational requirements without the required skills to work as a Doctor, believe me, you can mess yourself up.

To be an exceptional and professional Doctor in any specialty, it is expected you have particular skills. With these skills, you can go for in this profession.

Here are the key skill sets required to become a Doctor in Australia include;

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  • Ability to work long hours, often under pressure
  • Good practical skills
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Effective decision-making skills
  • Leadership and management skills
  • Communication skills, compassion, and a good bedside manner
  • Drive to continue learning throughout career
  • Analytical ability
  • Time management

How much does a Doctor in Australia make?

One of the advantages of choosing to practice your profession as a doctor in Australia is because Australian doctors earn the highest after Canada.

On a general note, a starting salary of a doctor in Australia ranges from $100,000 up to $400,000 annually. But you can earn higher if you have a higher qualification, years of experience, Employment Status, or work hours.

Another way your salary will be determined is by your specialty. For instance, the salary of a dentist doctor is different from the salary of a Podiatrist.

Salary Estimate

Let’s take a look at the most recent estimated average salaries of Australian doctors by area of specialty;

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  • Neurosurgeon – $288,000
  • Anaesthesiologist – $179,000
  • Psychiatrist – $126,000
  • General physician – $104,000
  • OB/GYN – $141,000
  • Paediatrician – $99,000
  • Dentist – $97,000
  • Optometrist – $86,000
  • Physiotherapist – $64,000
  • Podiatrist – $63,000

Aside from the Salary, there are other benefits doctors in Australia receive. Some of these benefits come as incentives. And they include;

  1. Sick Leave which can be 2 weeks paid per year
  2. Annual Leave which can be a month paid leave per year
  3. Pension
  4. Many hospitals will also provide subsidised meals, free or cheap accommodation and other perks

How Long Does It Take to Become a Doctor Australia?

Becoming a doctor is more than a struggle, it requires a high score to gain a place in Medical School. It’s an absolute minimum of 10 years following entry from high school….. but it’s not unusual to take 12 to 14 years.

Read more: 2021 Jesuit Medical Schools: Requirements, Cost and Programs

How do I become a Doctor in Australia?

You don’t just become a doctor in Australia by mere decision or as a birthright, rather you plan and follow the due process which will take you years to complete.

The process of building a medical professional career is normally competitive and exciting. It is competitive in the sense that it involves rigorous coursework and activities which you must complete successfully.

Here are steps you can take to become a professional medical doctor in Australia:

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  • Meet up with the High School Prerequisites
  • Attend an Accredited 4-year University
  • Take an Entrance Exam
  • Internship
  • Get medical registration through the Medical Board of Australia
  • Obtain fellowship through a specialty medical training program

The first step is…..

#1. Meet up with the High School Prerequisites

In entering medical school, either you go through high school or you use an undergraduate degree. If you are going with a high school degree, you must have achieved a band four in mathematics advanced and have an ATAR of 99.95 in the Higher School Certificate.

#2. Attend an Accredited 4-year University

To become a doctor in Australia if you don’t want o use your high school certificate, you can attend a university or college to get a bachelor’s degree in an accredited medical program. You can study science or pharmacy before studying Medicine.

Upon graduation, you must have up to a grade point average of at least 65 or above (a credit average).

#3. Take an Entrance Exam

Take an Entrance Exam. The exam can be UMAT which is for undergraduate medical students or GAMSAT which is for post-graduate students.

UMAT

UMAT which means Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission Test score is needed if you want to apply for undergraduate admission to 7 of the 19 medical schools in Australia.

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The main focus of these tests is to evaluate your critical thinking, problem-solving, understanding people, and abstract non-verbal reasoning – abilities considered important to the study and later practice of medicine. Once you make a high score here, you have a better chance of being accepted into any medical school in Australia.

As of recent, UMAT has been replaced with University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). So, instead of taking UMAT, you sit for UCAT.

The below universities in Australia require students to sit the UCAT for undergraduate medical admission:

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  • The University of Adelaide
  • Curtin University
  • Flinders University
  • Monash University
  • University of Newcastle
  • The University of New South Wales
  • The University of Queensland
  • University of Tasmania
  • The University of Western Australia
  • Western Sydney University

GAMSAT

The Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) is an Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) graduate test specifically designed to evaluate and ascertain a student’s ability to handle high-level intellectual studies in medical and health professional programs.

Moreso, it aims at assessing your analytical and critical thinking skills as well as how you organize and communicate your ideas in order to select candidates for Graduate Entry Medical Studies.

Basically, this test comprises of 3 sections;

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  • Reasoning in Humanities and Social Sciences – multiple choice questions which are for 110 mins.
  • Written Communication- 30-minute writing tasks
  • Reasoning in Biological and Physical Sciences-

The below universities in Australia require students to sit the GAMSAT for graduate medical admission:

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  • Australian National University
  • Griffith University
  • University of Western Australia
  • Monash University
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Deakin University
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Wollongong
  • Flinders University
  • The University of Sydney

#4. Internship

Whether you are a citizen or an international student, you must complete 1 year of internship in a public hospital before you can obtain full medical registration. You can decide the hospital in which you would like to do your internship program when you are still in medical school.

#5. Get medical registration through the Medical Board of Australia

This is the next step after completing your internship. This medical registration is carried out by the Medical Board of Australia and is renewed every 30th September of every year. If you studied outside Australia, before you get the general registration you must complete 12 months of approved supervised practice in Australia.

Furthermore, you might also go for 1 or 2 years of prevocational training after registration.

Finally…

#6. Obtain fellowship through a specialty medical training program

Once you have completed a sufficient amount of training as an intern and RMO, you will be able to apply for admission into a medical specialty training program via specialty colleges.

This will require the completion of a number of different assessments including written, clinical, and practical examinations which may vary depending on the college.

These vocational training programs can vary in length from three to seven years, after which you will be able to practice medicine independently as a general practitioner specialist physician, or surgeon.

Note, in becoming a doctor in Australia, there is no age limit for medical school. You can become a doctor in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s. The main thing is to ensure you will make a good doctor after acquiring all you need.

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What are the Australian schools that offer Degree Programs for Doctors?

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  • The Australian National University Medical School (ANUMS) 
  • University of Sydney 
  • University of Melbourne 
  • Monash University
  • Flinders University 
  • Deakin University 
  • Tasmania University 
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Western Sydney
  • Bond University
  • University of Newcastle
  • James Cook University
  • Griffith University
  • Notre Dame University, Sydney
  • University of Wollongong
  • University of Sydney
  • Notre Dame University, Fremantle
  • The University of Western Australia
  • University of Adelaide
  • University of New South Wales

Let’s take a brief look at some of these schools

#1. The Australian National University Medical School (ANUMS)

Address: Building 4, The Canberra Hospital, Hospital Rd, Garran ACT 2605, Australia

GAMSAT Cutoff: 63

Accreditation: Department of Education and Training, Australia

Minimum GPA: 5.6

Australian National University is one of the best medical schools for students who wants to become medical doctors. This is because it offers graduate degree programs.

One of the major graduate programs at this prestigious university is The Doctor of Medicine and Surgery.

This program aims at producing graduates who are committed to compassionate, ethical health care and the expansion of medical knowledge. 

Above all, completing this 4-year full-time program requires 192 units, a Weighted Grade Point Average (GPA) of 25%, and GAMSAT score of 25%.

#2. The University of Sydney School of Medicine

Address: Edward Ford Building (A27) Fisher Road

GAMSAT Cutoff: 69

Accreditation: Australian Medical Council

Minimum GPA: 5.0

The Sydney Medical School is one of the highest-rated education and research institutions in the Asia-Pacific region. The school offers programs that can help prepare students for a rich and rewarding career in medicine, surgery, or public health.

It achieves these by giving them a strong foundation of knowledge and skills to

Basically, the Doctor of Medicine (MD) program at Sydney is an excellent training platform on which to build a career in medicine.

Also, it provides extensive clinical training, with exposure to clinical environments, along with research skills training.

 Furthermore, this 7 years MD double degree combines disciplines such as science, commerce, music, economics with medical science.

Aside from this MD double degree course, other course offered includes; Doctor of Medicine (MD), Postgraduate courses in medicine, Postgraduate courses in surgery, Professional development and short courses, Sydney Professional Certificates, Postgraduate research, and Higher doctorate degrees.

#3. University of Melbourne

Address: Parkville VIC 3010, Australia

The University of Melbourn is ranked in the 20 best universities for medicine in the world. The university is known for its excellence and quality programs in health research and practice.

Currently, the UniMelbourne offers a reputed four-year graduate entry MD program with a focus on anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry.

Also, doctor of Medicine program at this school aims at making students gain advanced knowledge through training.

Note, this doctor program is available for both national and international students.

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#4. Monash University

Address: 100 W Broadway #600, Glendale, CA 91210, United States

UCAT: 50

Accreditation: Department of Education and Training, Australia

Minimum GPA: 6.0

Monash School of Medicine provides world-class education with a focus on patient safety and professional practice. Studying here can help prepare you to change lives in communities across Australia and around the world.

Basically, the MU Medical School offers a Bachelor of Medical Science, Doctor of Medicine (MD). Including an MBBS Honors degree with an interdisciplinary program within biomedical sciences.

However, the programs are specifically for students completed their undergraduate studies and are ready to enter professional training to become a doctor. 

More so, this Monash medical program lays emphasis on clinical interaction, with early exposure to clinical environments and case studies. This program’s Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of 70%.

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#5. Flinder University

Address: Sturt Rd, Bedford Park South Australia 5042

GAMSAT Cutoff: 60

Accreditation: Australian Medical Council

Minimum GPA: N/A

Flinder University medical school is another school in Australia that offers medical doctor programs to both national and international students.

This university is ranked #1. in South Australia as the school with the best quality of medicine teaching.

Basically, this school offers 4 year MD graduate-entry degree which is recognized internationally.

However, the program is known for its innovative curriculum that delivers outstanding clinical and academic training, integrating clinical medicine with a strong underpinning in biomedical science.

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#6. Deakin University 

Address: 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125

GAMSAT Cutoff: 58

Accreditation: Department of Education and Training, Australia

Minimum GPA: 5.0

Deakin University is one of Australia’s top-rated universities. It is renowned for its world-class commitment to practical learning. This is one of the schools any student who wants to become a doctor can consider.

Deakin offers a four-year MBBS degree, combined with clinical experiences, and rural health training. The degree program is a 4-year course, with 2 years of pre-clinical education.

Other medical courses at this university includes:

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  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Medical imaging
  • Agricultural health and medicine
  • Health and medical science
  • MBA (Healthcare Management)
  • Master of Philosophy
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#7. University of Tasmania

Address: Sturt Rd, Bedford Park South Australia 5042

UCAT Cutoff: 50

Accreditation: Australian Medical Council

Minimum GPA: 5.0

The University of Tasmania is a public research university established in 1890. This school medical program is one of Australia’s leading medical degrees, with high ratings for the quality of the learning experience as well as the capability of graduates as medical practitioners.

However, the program is a five years degree program that is renowned for its innovative curriculum that delivers outstanding clinical and academic training, integrating clinical medicine with a strong underpinning in biomedical science.

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#8. University of Queensland

Address: Level 6, Oral Health Centre, Herston Road, Herston, QLD, 4006 Australia

GAMSAT Cutoff: 63

Accreditation: Australian Medical Council

Minimum GPA: 5.0

The University of Queensland is one of the most reputed schools that is a leading provider of medical education and research in Queensland. This school has the largest medical degree program in the country. 

Basically, there are a variety of clinical training opportunities within Australia and internationally offered at this institution. The aim of these programs is to help medical students develop a life-long commitment to continuing education with enhanced critical reasoning and communication skills.

Moreso, to enable them to create awareness of their ethical and professional responsibilities to individual patients and to the community at large.

Aside from an MBBS and a Bachelor of Paramedic Science degree, it also offers a number of post-graduate programs. The school also has tie-ups with leading teaching hospitals and research institutes.

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FAQs on how to become a Doctor in Australia

What Skills must you have to become an Australian Doctor?

To become an Australian Doctor, you must have the following skills;

Ability to work long hours, often under pressure
Good practical skills
Ability to solve problems
Effective decision-making skills
Leadership and management skills…..

What is the salary of an Australian Doctor Like?

On a general note, a starting salary of a doctor in Australia ranges from $100,000 up to $400,000 annually. But you can earn higher if you have a higher qualification, years of experience, Employment Status, or work hour.

How do you become a doctor in Australia?

To become a doctor in Australia, following the steps below

Meet up with the High School Prerequisites
Attend an Accredited 4-year University
Take an Entrance Exam
Internship…Read More

Am 45, can I still become a Doctor in Australia?

of course yes.
There is no age limit for becoming a doctor. You can even become a medical doctor at 60.

References

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