Ultimate Guide to Practicing Medicine in Australia

by Dr. Ashwini Bapat and Dr. Marie Shieh

Do you enjoy snorkeling, universal healthcare, and hugging adorable koalas? Here is a guide to help you transition to practicing medicine in Australia!

Healthcare System

Australian citizens, New Zealand citizens and permanent residents living in Australia are automatically enrolled in Australia’s public health insurance program called Medicare. Medicare provides coverage for hospital, mental health, and maternity care and covers a substantial portion of physician and drug costs. Medicare pays for 100% of general practitioner (GP) fees as set by the government though some GP practices do charge $20-40 on top of the Medicare fee.

Medicare typically pays for 85% of private specialist fees and the patient pays the remaining 15% of the specialist fee which is on average 31 AUD (22 USD). Some specialists in the public system are completely covered under Medicare and patients incur no additional out-of-pocket costs.

Approximately 50% of Australians buy private supplementary insurance to pay for private hospital care and other services. Private insurance typically covers out-of-pocket fees, a greater pool of private providers, and faster access to non-emergency care. The federal government expects higher income households to purchase private insurance – the government provides a rebate for the premiums – and applies a tax penalty if private insurance is not purchased. 

Medical Registration/Licensure

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency regulates medical licensure. There are several paths for international medical graduates to obtain a medical license.  For those who have completed medical school and residency training in the US, the most relevant pathway is the Specialist Pathway.

Step One: Apply to the Australian Medical Council for primary source verification of your medical credentials. These credentials are verified via the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC)

Step Two: Apply for the Specialist Pathway. This pathway requires a medical degree from a school recognized by the Australian Medical Council and the World Directory of Medical Schools, and completion of specialist level training and exams to practice as a specialist in the US. The specialist pathway applies to international medical graduates falling into one of the following categories:

Specialist Pathway – Specialist Recognition: Overseas-trained specialists apply directly to their specialty Australian Medical College for assessment of equivalency of their specialty training compared to the Australian specialty standard. The process and requirements depend on your specialty, though it typically involves a detailed application form, references, an in-person interview, and a case log.

If the specialist college decides that your training is comparable you will be granted Specialist Recognition by the Australian Medical Board. If they deem that your experience and training are “partially” or “substantially” comparable you will be granted a Limited registration. Limited registration enables you to secure employment though the Medical Board will likely require a period of supervised practice, workplace assessments, training, or exams, before granting Specialist Recognition by the Australian Medical Board.

Specialist Pathway – Area of Need: This is for overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need specialist position in Australia. An “area of need” is an area in Australia which has a low number of physicians compared to the local population. You will first need to secure a job offer in an “area of need” and then the employer will help you apply to your specialist medical college which will assess whether your training and experience meet the standards for a Specialist in an Area of Need. After completing the application process, you will obtain a Limited Registration specific to the area of need.

This pathway does not result in specialist registration with the Australian Medical Board though you can simultaneously apply for Area of Need and the Specialist Recognition. An employer hiring a foreign physician in an area of need will need to ensure that there are no local Australian applicants to fulfil the vacancy. 

Clinical Supervision: All physicians with limited registration will undergo a period of supervision to ensure that patient care is provided in accordance with Australian standards and that the clinician is educated on how to navigate the Australian healthcare system. The Medical Board determines the level of supervision taking into account a physician’s training, clinical experience, and the risk inherent to their job. There are four levels of supervision corresponding with varying degrees of autonomy for the foreign physician. Level One supervision requires the supervisor to have direct responsibility for the patient, while in Level Four the foreign physician takes full responsibility for the patient. 

Most US-trained doctors will likely require Level 3 or Level 4 supervision – enabling the foreign physician to see patients independently though the supervisor is available for questions. The supervisor will assess your clinical work and share this information with the Medical Board.

Salary & Workplace Culture 

General Practitioners are typically self-employed with an average of 4 GPs in a practice. The average monthly salary is around 12,000 AUD and is typically paid on a fee-for-service model. Specialists earn around 24,000 AUD on average depending on the specialty. Many specialists split their time between the private and public sectors.

The clinical care and the work culture in Australia is similar to that in the US – though Australians have a more “Work to Live” attitude where they enjoy taking holidays and are encouraged to take holidays. Patients often call their doctors by their first name and doctors rarely wear white coats – Australia prides itself in being a more egalitarian and less hierarchical society.

Finding a Job 

You can find a job by browsing our job board or other job boards such as New South Wales Rural Doctors Network or by connecting with an international medical recruitment agency.

There are many recruitment agencies that hire US physicians to work in Australia. An agency’s fees are typically covered by the hospital – not the physician. Below you will find our partner recruitment organizations. For complete transparency, some of the organizations are providing a referral award to Hippocratic Adventures which we will use to cover the costs of building and maintaining this website and to eventually provide an honorarium to our member-authors-speakers who have shared their time and insight with the community.

If inquiring with the organization, please mention that you are with Hippocratic Adventures. You will support our community, website, and blog post authors.

STAT Recruitment has been connecting US physicians, across all specialties, to job opportunities in New Zealand and Australia for more than 20 years. As a preferred supplier to New Zealand’s 20 District Health Boards and on various tenders throughout Australia, they have strong relationships with hospitals and healthcare providers and see the recruitment process as a partnership, ensuring they find the right position for you. Their extensive experience will guide you through the process of registration and immigration. We reached out to STAT Recruitment on behalf of Hippocratic Adventures and they have generously offered to give a sign-on bonus to our members through Hippocratic Adventures.

Head Medical is a leading specialist in international medical recruitment, having helped 1,000s of physicians find new roles in amazing locations including UK,  Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, the Gulf, Canada and Caribbean.  So, if you think you might be interested in a new challenge and a change of scene, please get in touch for a chat with one of their recruitment specialists. Their expert team will support you with your licensing and immigration paperwork and provide practical advice to ensure your relocation goes as smoothly as possible.

 

Immigration

Before applying for a visa ensure that you have medical registration and a job offer in hand. Depending on your situation a work or family or permanent residency visa may apply to you.

The process of moving to Australia, including medical registration, securing a job, and immigration can take up to 18 months.

Additional Resources

We have partnered with ExpatMD, a full service consulting company that can help you transition to Australia or New Zealand. Mention Hippocratic Adventures for a 10% discount on their services. They can help with navigating the medical licensing system, job search, interview preparation, application assistance for Board Certification, CV and cover letter writing, and relocation assistance. They are comprised of  American doctors, armed with over 10 years experience of living and working in both New Zealand and Australia. Here is the affiliate link for the ExpatMD Book (proceeds support the website).

Bottom Line

Practicing medicine in Australia may initially require a period of supervision, additional workplace assessments, training, and/or exams. Securing an opportunity within an Area of Need is one way to move and start working in Australia more quickly. 

Dr. Ashwini Bapat is a palliative care physician, Founder and CEO of EpioneMD, which provides virtual advanced care planning and serious illness coaching to individuals and telepalliative care consultation to healthcare organizations. She resides in Portugal.

Dr Marie Shieh is an American family medicine doctor who has practiced in New Zealand and China and is currently practicing in Australia. Read more about her experience abroad in our post An American Doctor Enjoys Life Down Under! 

For a personalized approach to moving to Australia, learn about how our Guidance Service can help.

Jobs for Doctors in Australia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding a Job

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are several approaches to finding a job. One approach is to make a list of all the hospitals and or clinics in the province and to cold email/call them to find out if they have openings in your specialty and if there is a local supervisor available. You can search Canada-wide job boards like MDwork and drcareers, province-specific job boards like Health Force Ontario or Health Match BC, or utilize an international recruitment agency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you work in an underserved field like psychiatry or family medicine, you will have an easier time finding a job. A highly specialized individual’s job prospects may be limited to the urban areas. That being said, if the province or hospital needs you, it may be possible to practice without completing medical licensing exams or boards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below you will find our partner recruitment organizations. For complete transparency, some of the organizations are providing a referral award to Hippocratic Adventures which we will use to cover the costs of building and maintaining this website and to eventually provide an honorarium to our member-authors-speakers who have shared their time and insight with the community. If inquiring with the organization, mention that you are with Hippocratic Adventures and send us a message via Contact Us. You will support our community, website, and blog post authors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CanAm Physician Recruiting Inc connects US physicians, across specialties, to job opportunities in Canada. CanAm Physician Recruiting will guide you through the process of registration and immigration. We reached out to CanAm on behalf of Hippocratic Adventures and they have generously offered to give a sign on bonus to our members. So if inquiring with them, mention that you’re with Hippocratic Adventures, and send us a message via Contact Us – this will help us advocate for our community and compensate our blog post authors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head Medical is a leading specialist in international medical recruitment, having helped 1,000s of physicians find new roles in amazing locations including UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China, the Gulf, Canada and Caribbean. So, if you think you might be interested in a new challenge and a change of scene, please get in touch for a chat with one of their recruitment specialists. Their expert team will support you with your licensing and immigration paperwork and provide practical advice to ensure your relocation goes as smoothly as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Culture & Salary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canadian Medicare is Canada’s universal, decentralized, publicly funded health system. Canadians are provided a basic level of coverage under Canadian Medicare, and 2/3 of Canadians purchase private insurance to cover other services.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most physicians are independent contractors – they buy their own health insurance, their own malpractice insurance, and contribute to their own retirement plan. Malpractice insurance premiums depend on the specialty, but as a ballpark for palliative care is around 250 CDN per month. Physician services are reimbursed through a fee-for-service model, though there has been movement to alternative payment models. Salaries depend on the specialty, with Family physicians making around 271,000 CAD, medical specialists making around 338,000 CAD, and surgical specialists earning 446,000 CAD.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planning your move? Follow These 3 Steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1: Choose a Province: Decide on the province you want to move to – the process is province specific.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2: Apply for Licensure & Find a Job: Apply for provincial medical registration/licensure and find a job with supervision simultaneously. You can submit credentials for provincial medical licensure at physiciansapply.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3: Immigration: Immigration policies are province dependent. Physicians qualify for Express Entry as a Federal Skilled Worker, and when approved, are invited to apply for permanent residency. You will need to take an English or French Language test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transitioning to Canada can take 6 months of longer, so if you are committed to moving, start this process early.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bottom Line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving to Canada and practicing medicine is doable and does not require repeating training. Depending on the province you may have to take the Canadian Boards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic Lingo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a glossary of terms to know as you navigate a transition to Canada.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Exam (MCCQE) Part 1&2: This is the Canadian Equivalent of the USMLEs. The MCCQE1 is a one-day, computer-based test typically taken in the final year of medical school. The MCCQE2 is a clinical test using standardized patients, typically taken in the first or second year of residency. When a physician has passed both parts of the MCCQE, they are awarded a designation called the Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada (LMCC). Some provinces require these exams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada Board Exam: This is equivalent to the American Board of Medical Specialties and its board certification. This organization administers the Canadian boards for specialties and subspecialties, testing a physician’s skills and knowledge in their area of post-graduate training (residency/fellowship). For more information on how to study for these exams check out 5 Tips for Passing the Canadian Royal College Exams and 6 Study Tools to Pass the Canadian Royal College Exams. The family medicine boards are administered by the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Some provinces require these exams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Provincial Medical License: this is similar to having a state’s medical license. This is provided by each province, often by the College of Physician & Surgeons of [insert province].

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clinical Supervision: This is often required for physicians coming from the US and working in Canada. This helps a US trained physician learn about and navigate the Canadian healthcare system successfully. A physician certified by the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons receives a small stipend to supervise a foreign physician for a period of 12-18 months. The period of supervision involves reviewing together a handful of patient charts and sending summary reports to the provincial College of physicians and surgeons. The frequency of supervision varies, may be more frequent initially, then monthly. At the end of the supervision period, the foreign physician is required to pay the fees for an observer (10,000-15,000 CND), to assess your clinical competence. It can be challenging to find a hospital willing to hire you if you need supervision, though this would depend on the local needs. Having heard from peers who have gone through supervision, this process is not onerous, is helpful, albeit costly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Wolofsky is from Toronto, Canada and completed medical school at the University of Queensland in Brisbane Australia. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at Emory University in Atlanta and did a fellowship in palliative care at Harvard University. She is currently a palliative care physician in Toronto and holds an academic position at the University of Toronto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An American Doctor Enjoys Life Down Under

An American Doctor Enjoys Life Down Under

"We always had a dream," Dr. Shieh grinned, "and we decided to live it." Dr Marie Shieh, a family medicine doctor, was living in La Jolla, California; was married, had children, a beautiful house, and loved her job. One day, she and her husband made good on their...

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