Overseas Trained Doctors (OTDs) (referred to as international medical graduates by the Medical Board of Australia) whose medical qualifications are from a medical school outside of Australia or New Zealand and who are seeking registration to practise medicine in Australia must provide evidence of eligibility to undertake one of the following assessment pathways:
- Competent Authority pathway;
- Standard pathway; or
- Specialist pathway.
Competent Authority pathwayThe Competent Authority pathway is for overseas-trained non-specialists, but is also available to specialists, including general practitioners. This pathway leads to general registration.
OTDs who have passed recognised examinations or have completed training through a Medical Board of Australia (MBA) approved competent authority, can apply for assessment under this pathway.
OTDs applying for the Competent Authority pathway should apply directly to the MBA for provisional registration. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the MBA assess OTDs in the Competent Authority pathway.
Standard pathwayThe Standard pathway is for OTDs seeking general registration with the MBA. This pathway applies to OTDs who are not eligible for the Competent Authority pathway or the Specialist pathway.
The Australian Medical Council (AMC) assesses OTDs in the Standard pathway through one of the following:
- Standard pathway (AMC examinations): Assessment is by examination only—the AMC Computer Adaptive Test Multiple Choice Question (CAT MCQ) Examination and the AMC Clinical Examination. Most non-specialist applicants will be assessed through this method.
- Standard pathway (workplace-based assessment): Assessment is by examination (the AMC CAT MCQ Examination) and a program of workplace-based assessment of clinical skills and knowledge by an AMC-accredited authority. Currently, assessment programs in four states have been accredited to conduct workplace-based assessment. Relatively few applicants are assessed through this pathway.
Non-specialist OTDs can check their skill levels by taking the AMC Trial Exam online. It includes 50 multiple choice questions and the standard is set at the level of a graduating Australian medical student.
Specialist pathwayThe Specialist pathway is for the following OTDs:
- overseas-trained specialists applying for assessment of comparability to the standard of a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia (specialist recognition); and
- overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need specialist level position in Australia (area of need).
All OTDs, regardless of registration pathway, must apply to the AMC for primary source verification of their medical qualifications.
English language proficiencyYou need to demonstrate proficiency in English by meeting the requirements of the MBA’s English language skills registration standard.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
IELTS tests are administered at accredited testing centres throughout the world. The IELTS website provides all the information you need to prepare and undertake an examination.
Occupational English Test
OET is a healthcare specific English proficiency test. The OET website provides information on testing procedures, preparation for examinations, cost, and test dates.
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic
The PTE Academic test can be taken in over 50 countries/regions worldwide. More information about the test, testing centres, fees and preparation is provided on the Pearson PTE Academic website.
Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Test (TOEFL iBT)
The TOEFL iBT is delivered via the internet and measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. The TOEFL website provides more information about the test, including fees and how to prepare.
English language trainingMany educational institutions in Australia offer preparatory courses for English language exams, for example:
Sydney, New South WalesUniversity of New South Wales, Institute of Languages
Melbourne, VictoriaRoyal Melbourne Institute of Technology
Victoria University, Occupational English Test (OET) Preparation Course
Perth, Western AustraliaPerth Institute of Business and Technology
Hobart and Launceston, TasmaniaUniversity of Tasmania, English Language Centre
Robina, QueenslandBond University, English Language Institute
Online English programs:Learning English
Improve your English in a fun and interesting way with the ABC’s Learning English programs for a range of levels.
RegistrationMedical Board of Australia
The Medical Board of Australia, supported by Boards in each State and Territory, registers all medical practitioners and medical students.
Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
AHPRA supports the 15 National Health Practitioner Boards to implement the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.
AHPRA Registration Process
AHPRA Common Application Forms
Specialist skills assessment
Specialist Medical CollegesOTDs seeking recognition as a specialist must be assessed by the relevant specialist medical college to determine whether they are substantially, partially or not comparable with a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia. The Board will consider an application for registration after the college has made the assessment.
Applications for specialist assessment are submitted directly to the relevant specialist medical college.
The process for applying for specialist assessment is outlined on the MBA’s website.
Australasian College for Emergency Medicine
Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists
Royal Australasian College of Physicians (including the Paediatrics and Child Health Division)
Australasian College of Dermatologists
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia
Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine
Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons
College of Intensive Care Medicine of Australia and New Zealand
Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators
Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine
Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
Pre-Employment Structured Clinical InterviewOTDs applying for limited registration or provisional registration may be required to undergo a pre-employment structured clinical interview (PESCI). The information obtained from the PESCI is considered by the MBA when it decides whether to grant registration.
A PESCI is an objective assessment of your knowledge, skills, clinical experience and attributes to determine whether you are suitable to practise in a specific position. The PESCI consists of a structured clinical interview using scenarios.
In order to determine whether you are required to undertake a PESCI, and for more information regarding the PESCI process, visit the MBA website.