Here’s What You Need to Know if You Plan to Work Abroad as a Doctor in Australia


People sometimes seek greener pastures, especially to build career expertise. Medical professionals, doctors in particular, are of no exception. In most cases, opportunities for growth are found overseas, typically in first world countries such as Australia.

Doctors who want to work in Australia need to register with the correct medical body. Specialists in particular need to be assessed by The Royal Australasian College of Physicians to determine if the international training is up to the medical standards imposed in Australia. So before even taking the plunge, it is important to know the market such as the specific locations and areas where you can practice, the type of work that needs to be done, the specific skills required, and most importantly, how much you will be paid. Searching for a job as a doctor can be done in various ways and it can be done through a private or a public system.

Why consider working in Australia?

Australia is considered one of the best places in the world to live because of human development factors, healthcare, and civil rights. Because of its growing population and economy, the country has a great need for different professionals in various industries, including the medical field.

Minimum Requirements

In order to practice in the medical field in Australia, you need to have a medical degree from a recognized university. You need to have a job offer, with your skills assessed. You also need to be in a registration pathway with English proficiency. Finally, you need to have a working visa or permanent residency.

Who are eligible to work in Australia?

International medical graduates may work as a doctor anywhere in Australia, either in the city or even in the rural and remote areas, as long as they have a medical degree obtained from a country outside of Australia. In the same manner, a temporary resident currently enrolled in a medical course is also eligible to work in the medical field. Most medical professionals prefer to work in Australia and build their expertise there because Australia is a multicultural city with a high standard of living.

Area Classifications

Distribution Priority Area (DPA). This area classification merely identifies locations in Australia that are most in need of doctors. The community demographics such as gender and age are considered before a location is classified as a DPA. International medical graduates who are general practitioners (GPs) need to work in a DPA classified location to comply with Australia’s Health Insurance Act. Apart from having the capability to work in DPAs, here’s a list of GP jobs available Australia wide. Places such as the Far South Coast of New South Wales is DPA approved. A tranquil place such as this is conducive for learning and enhancing skills necessary in the medical field.

District of Workforce Shortage (DWS). This area classification tags locations in Australia that have a shortage of medical practitioners who are specialists. A main criteria before tagging an area as a DWS is if the ratio of the specialists to the population is typically less than the national average. The specialists usually needed in DWS classified areas are anesthesiologists, cardiologists, diagnostic radiologists, surgeons, obstetrician-gynecologists, ophthalmologists, medical oncologists, and psychiatrists to name a few.

How can doctors find a job?

International medical graduates can find a job in the private system wherein GPs are restricted to work in DPAs. It usually takes a span of ten years working in a DPA before a GP can secure a Medicare provider number. This number will allow you to treat private patients later on. Specialists, on the other hand, should work in DWS-tagged locations. Nevertheless, both these areas are usually in the rural and remote areas. International medical graduates can also find a job through the public system managed by the Australian government. The job openings are usually to fill positions in public hospitals. Even GPs can work in a public hospital and learn a specialization, with competitive training. Employers and private hospitals also hire people to fill jobs through medical recruitment agencies. Most of these agencies list job postings on their websites.

In conclusion, working abroad is not an easy feat. Truth be told, working outside the country you were born and raised in pose many challenges. It greatly helps to be prepared and have a plan, with an end goal in mind. Nevertheless, different professionals, including doctors, will definitely have an advantage of building their expertise while working abroad in first world countries such as Australia.


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