There are multiple pathways into general practice in Australia. The most common pathway is through the AGPT program.
Simply, the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program pathway looks like this:
- Graduating from medical school
Four to six years at a university medical school. MBBS or equivalent.
- Completing your hospital training
12 months (minimum) at an accredited hospital. General Registration with Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
- Completing GP registrar training and exams
Three to four years. Pick which endpoint (college Fellowship) (ACRRM or RACGP) and an RTO to deliver your training towards your Fellowship. You will then be employed as a GP registrar at an accredited practice; training must occur at multiple practices, most GP registrars work at three or four different practices throughout their training. Both Fellowships require you to sit both clinical exams and written exams. Once you have passed these exams, you will be qualified to practice as a GP.
The Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program is the most popular pathway for medical graduates to become a GP.
This pathway is open to those holding a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), who have completed (or about to complete) their hospital training.
Training is government-funded, so you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident. There are 1,500 new training places available on the AGPT Program in 2019. Training typically takes three to four years full-time. Applicants can apply for a training place through their preferred college/s. The colleges in Australia are:
- the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM),
resulting in Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM).
- the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP),
resulting in Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP).
Choosing your College
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
RACGP will select 90% of registrars applying for the AGPT program in 2018. You apply with a non-refundable $725 application fee. Candidates sit an online selection exam (Candidate Assessment Applied Knowledge Test - CAAKT). Those who meet or exceed the minimum score will be interviewed by one of their nominated RTOs. (The higher your CAAKT score, the more likely you will get an interview with your preferred RTO).
The RACGP CAAKT selection consists of a knowledge test and a situational judgment test. The knowledge test uses multiple-choice questions to test clinical knowledge. It is focused on acute emergency situations and potentially serious conditions (rather than a broad range of medical knowledge). The situational judgment test assesses judgment in a range of professional scenarios, with a focus on ethical, moral, and legal issues and professionalism. The questions are partly derived from the RACGP competency profile. In preparing for the test, candidates should review how their experience relates to this profile.
The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
ACRRM will select 10% of registrars applying for the AGPT program in 2018. Candidates complete online ACRRM Application (in addition to AGPT application) with a non-refundable $700 application fee. Referee checks are conducted by ACRRM. Successful candidates invited to be interviewed by ACRRM selection team along with their preferred RTO.
ACRRM Selection Criteria is on merit, based on demonstrated: commitment to working in rural or remote Australia, capacity and motivation to acquire skills and knowledge in ACRRM domains of practice, connection with rural communities and commitment to meeting their needs, and personal characteristics suited to rural or remote practice.
Choosing an RTO
The AGPT program is three to four years of full-time training offered in urban, regional and rural locations nationally.
AGPT training can be taken on:
- the general pathway in urban and rural locations
- the rural pathway, where training must occur in regional or rural areas.
Checklist before you apply to the AGPT program
- Make sure you are eligible for the AGPT program. For most, this means that you have graduated with an MBBS and you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
- Make sure you and are ready to apply. As GP training can be intense, many recent graduates take some time off in between graduating.
- Decide if you will take the rural or general pathway.
- Decide which college (ACRRM or RACGP) you will apply to.
- Check the application open and closing dates, these differ depending on which college you apply to.
- Decide which RTO will deliver your training. Check that your preferred RTO can provide training for the pathway, fellowships, training posts and special interests that you want to pursue. When applying for the AGPT program, you will be asked to nominate and rank in order of preference the RTOs.
- Consider any extended skills which you may want to pursue.
Application to the AGPT program
You apply for the AGPT program through your preferred college.
Each college has a different selection process.
To be selected into the RACGP program, candidates sit the Candidate Assessment Applied Knowledge Test (CAAKT) comprising of knowledge test questions and situational judgement questions. The CAAKT is based on the RACGP education framework and the assessment focuses on your current knowledge, skills and attributes in relation to becoming a GP. Applicants will be interviewed by a Regional Training Organisations. Successful candidates will be given a written offer.
To be selected into the ACRRM program, candidates are assessed for eligibility and complete their ACRRM Written Submission. Eligible candidates are notified by their RTO and Multi Mini Interviews and conducted between the candidate and their RTO. Successful candidates will be given a written offer.
RACGP AGPT program structure
AGPT hospital training (first 12 months) The first year of the program is spent in a hospital which can be completed anywhere in Australia, not necessarily in the region of your RTO. You will need to complete the following rotations before starting your general practice training: general medicine, general surgery, emergency, paediatrics, and a range of other rotations to provide a breadth of experience.
Prior to commencing your general practice term, you will need to have completed a basic life support course in the previous 12 months. In certain circumstances, you may be eligible to apply for an exemption for the first year of the program via Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).
General practice placements (18 months) Your training organisation will have a list of the placements you will need to complete. You will receive supervision and teaching from GP supervisors. Registrars in the general pathway need to complete at least 12 months in outer metropolitan, rural or Aboriginal health posts during their training. Registrars in the rural pathway must complete at least 18 months in a rural practice setting.
Extended skills (six months) The six months of extended skills training provides an opportunity to develop your general practice skills and can be completed in a variety of RACGP-accredited settings. There is a range of options for extended skills, including palliative care, sports medicine, sexual health or skin cancer medicine.
Optional advanced rural skills (12 months) This leads to an additional Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP). This training year is undertaken working in accredited rural training posts and accredited advanced rural training posts. There are two core modules which must be completed.
ACRRM AGPT program structure
AGPT hospital training (first 12 months) Core clinical training time working in metropolitan, regional or rural hospitals. You can apply to the training program as an intern and undertake your second year as part of GP training. There are compulsory rotations.
Primary rural and remote training (24 months) Training takes place in rural and remote posts in hospitals, general practice, Aboriginal Health Services, community health services and other posts. You will build clinical and procedural skills, provide comprehensive and continuing care across the primary and secondary continuum. Advanced skills training can be integrated at this stage with ACRRM approval.
Advanced specialised training (12 months) Training in one of 10 ACRRM-specified disciplines, extending your skills and knowledge in one specialised area relevant to rural and remote general practice. Training can occur in metropolitan, rural or remote posts.