Starting your GP training
Navigating the path to general practice can be confusing. We can help you understand the training pathway and program.
Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) is an undergraduate double degree. Gaining acceptance into this is the first step to becoming a GP.
Here is what you need to know about becoming a GP after you graduate:
General practice gives you the freedom to follow your passions, sub-specialise and virtually design the career that’s right for you. Here are just some of the directions you may like to explore:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is part of the training program for all GP registrars. Training posts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care offer unique and challenging opportunities, and allow junior doctors to play a hands-on role in preventing and managing chronic disease in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Sports medicine If you are interested in getting out of the practice setting and onto the field, and have a particular bent towards musculoskeletal injuries and exercise medicine, sports medicine could be for you. You could be providing care for anyone from elite athletes through to weekend warriors or the non-exercising person wanting to improve their exercise level or deal with an injury.
Military medicine Training as a GP registrar in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) offers opportunities and challenges. There is a focus on emergency medicine and similar skills to rural general practice, including self-sufficiency in remote locations.
Academic posts/research Teaching and research can expand your career path in general practice. Research enables you to develop valuable skills to take into your clinical work and could act as a stepping–stone towards an academic career. There is widespread agreement that research in general practice is essential for the improvement of patient health care outcomes.
Rural general practice Doctors undertaking general practice training usually spend some time working in rural areas. Many find the challenging variety of work as a rural GP to be particularly inspiring, and stay on in their communities. As a rural GP registrar, there is a diverse range of presentations to challenge you and opportunities to broaden your clinical skills.
Part-time options The part-time training options and parental leave available to GP registrars make general practice training very flexible and family-friendly. The flexibility of general practice when it comes to working hours is one of the reasons many people choose it as their career path. Flexible working hours are ideal for those with children, and can also give registrars the freedom to take up opportunities such as becoming a Registrar Liaison Officer (RLO) or working in an academic post.
Travel and overseas posts If you enjoy travelling and are keen to gain clinical experience in another country, both RACGP and ACRRM offer opportunities to complete part of your general practice training overseas. International terms have involved many locations including the United Kingdom, Ireland, USA, China, Malaysia and the Middle East. There are also opportunities for travel within Australia, such as Royal Flying Doctors' posts.
Financial incentives beyond salary
Training as a GP, through both the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) and Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS) program, is fully funded by the Australian Government.
As you move through the stages of training, your salary increases. The Australian Government has also developed incentive schemes to promote careers in rural medicine and address the shortage of GPs in rural and remote Australia. These are financial inducements offered over and above your salary income.
The General Practice Rural Incentives Program
The General Practice Rural Incentives Program (GPRIP) provides financial incentives for registrars who undertake part of their general practice training in rural and remote locations. These incentives are generous and paid according to the Australian Standard Geographical Classification Remoteness Areas (ASGC-RA 2-5) location and the length of time in a rural location, with greater incentives paid for more remote locations.
Click here for a map of ASGC-RA 2-5 locations.
Both general pathway and rural pathway registrars are eligible for GPRIP incentives.
Incentive payments are based on the length of time a GP registrar is placed in an ASGC-RA category, on a sliding scale:
HELP/HECS Reimbursement Scheme
The HELP/HECS Reimbursement Scheme applies to Australian medical graduates who choose to undertake postgraduate training or provide medical services for 12 months or longer in designated rural and remote areas. Participants in this scheme can have one-fifth of their HECS fees (from their medical degree) reimbursed for each year of service.
Any questions relating to this scheme should be directed to Medicare Australia on 1800 010 550 or visit health.gov.au/hecs.