Becoming a doctor of any specialisation demands unwavering dedication, perseverance, and a complete understanding of the path ahead. While the challenges to becoming a doctor are present, they shouldn’t deter you from pursuing an honourable profession.

Australia currently has about 130,000 medical doctors and specialists. However, this is a small number compared to 26 million Australians potentially needing health care. In fact, experts anticipate a worrying deficit of 9,298 full-time GPs, or 24.7% of the GP workforce, by 2030. Indeed, the call for more professionals in the medical scene is becoming more dire.

Before becoming a doctor, there are some questions to answer. One of the most pressing is: How long does it take to become a doctor in Australia?

This article has the information you need regarding the timeline, educational requirements, and essential credentials to successfully become a doctor in Australia.

How to Become a Doctor in Australia

The journey to becoming a doctor is long. You can start by going through the steps, educational pathways, and credentials required to achieve your goal of practising medicine in Australia.

1. Obtain a bachelor’s or undergraduate degree

A bachelor’s or undergraduate degree is necessary. In most countries, biology, chemistry, or biomedical sciences are prerequisites for admission to graduate medical programs. These degrees provide foundational knowledge in areas relevant to medicine and prepare medical students for rigorous academic challenges.

To get into medical schools in Australia, aspiring doctors generally must achieve a minimum grade point average (GPA) of around 5.0 or higher on a 7.0 scale. This GPA requirement may vary slightly among universities and medical schools.

A bachelor’s or undergraduate degree typically takes three to four years of full-time study. During this time, you should focus on coursework related to your chosen field while fulfilling prerequisite courses for medical school admission.

2. Obtain a Doctor of Medicine or graduate degree

After finishing undergraduate studies, you must enroll in a Doctor of Medicine program as the foundational education for your medical career. The top medical schools in Australia to consider include:

The Doctor of Medicine program typically takes four to six years, depending on the additional training or elective opportunities you pursue. This period includes classroom-based learning and practical clinical experience, ensuring ample preparation for a medical career.

Medical school education in Australia is comprehensive, encompassing wide-ranging studies in anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, clinical skills, medical ethics, etc. Be ready to engage in clinical rotations that give you hands-on experience in various specialties under the guidance of experienced practitioners. 

All the knowledge, skills, and clinical understanding you gain from the program are valuable as you transition to the next phase of your medical journey: internship.

3) Undertake internship

After completing your studies in medical school, internship is next. At this point, you must proceed to a mandatory one-year internship at an Australian hospital to attain full medical registration—officially commencing your role as a doctor.

4) Complete residency training

Residency in Australia is also known as prevocational training, where you engage in supervised clinical practice to gain valuable hands-on experience and further hone your clinical skills. This period also provides a crucial transition from internship to complete independent practice so you can explore different areas of medicine and determine your career interests and aspirations.

Residency typically lasts two to three years, depending on the specialty and training program. During this time, you can expect to work closely with senior medical professionals, participate in patient care, and continue developing professionally through ongoing training and education. Residency is vital in preparing you for the challenges and responsibilities of independent medical practice.

5) Choose a specialisation

After completing residency, the next step is vocational training, also known as specialisation. Here, you’ll have a good grasp of how things work in different specialties. Specialisation allows you to focus on a specific area of medicine through accredited specialty colleges. These colleges provide structured training programs and assessments to enhance expertise and proficiency in that specialty.

The duration of specialisation varies depending on the chosen specialty, ranging from three to seven full-time years under the guidance of senior specialists to help you get a sound footing once you complete your training. You will also undergo rigorous examinations and assessments to achieve specialist qualifications and recognition.

Completing your vocational training leads to specialist registration, which allows you to practice independently in your specialised area of medicine.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Doctor in Australia?

Adding up the 3–4 years of undergraduate study, 4–6 years of doctor of medicine degree, 1 year of internship, 2–3 years of residency, and 3–7 years of specialisation gives a range of 13-21 years to become a specialised doctor in Australia.

Fulfil the MD Journey

It takes much dedication and perseverance to become a doctor. The rigorous training and hands-on experience from internship, residency, and specialisation equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver excellent medical care.

With the increasing demand for doctors in Australia, your decision to pursue this path is not only commendable but also crucial in addressing the expanding healthcare needs of Australians. 

Ready to take the next step in your medical career? Connect with a medical recruitment agency like Australian Medical Placements, a trusted partner for over 30 years. Find your dream job and unlock new opportunities in the medical field. Contact us today!

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