Can you think of a nobler profession for a young Australian to consider than becoming a physician? Of course, it requires a serious commitment to education and training, but the rewards, both tangible and psychological, are great.
There are six steps you must negotiate to become a doctor in Australia:
1. Acquire an undergraduate degree in medicine/surgery from an Australian college. This process usually takes four years, but with hard work can be completed in three. Nowadays, some of the preparatory classes may be available online, which helps busy young people manage their time more efficiently.
2. Enroll in an Australian postgraduate medical school. There are about a dozen of these. In order to get into one of them, you need to successfully pass the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT). You can plan on devoting two to three years of your life at medical school.
3. After you receive your postgraduate medical degree, you are ready to begin your residency training as an intern. Such training is provided by an Australian teaching hospital. You will be an intern for a one-year period, during which time you will receive the meager pay given to interns. But hang in there, it gets better.
4. Following your year as an intern, you will continue your residency for another one to four years. Your income will begin to increase, and you will have the opportunity to choose an interesting medical specialty.
5. Acquire specialist training in the area you have chosen. There are many specialties to select from, ranging from dermatology to nephrology to psychiatry, among others. You can expect to devote from three to six years learning your specialty. Some of that time will be spent in the classroom. The remainder of this training occurs in qualified facilities, such as a hospital, a pain management center such as the Atlanta Pain Clinic, a hospice, etc. At the conclusion of your specialist training, you will be required to pass an appropriate examination before you can “hang up your shingle” as a specialist.
6. Congratulations – you can now start working as a doctor! Very often, physicians continue working at the facilities at which they earned their specialties. Another popular alternative is to set up a private practice, either by yourself or within a medical group.
Of course, a doctor’s education never ends. Australian doctors must earn a specified number of continuing education credits to retain their accreditation. But the bulk of education is via real-life experience. The lifestyle of a seasoned doctor is good, and the satisfaction of helping people fight disease and injury is incalculable.