Working as a doctor in Australia

Read our detailed guidance about how to work in Australia as a doctor.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Wednesday 31 January 2024
Career Progression Article Illustration

Finding a position

  • Look for posts advertised in the BMJ or the classified section of the MJA (Medical Journal of Australia).
  • Positions in general practice can be found on AMA Recruit. 


Australia's healthcare system

  • Australia’s public healthcare system is Medicare and provides accessible and affordable healthcare. This is funded by general taxation which includes a Medicare levy based on a person’s taxable income.
  • Medicare is managed by both the Australian Government and the State or Territory Governments.
  • Individuals pay to see their General Practitioner, but they are reimbursed for all or part of the cost via a rebate from Medicare.
  • Doctors practising in the private system (such as general practitioners or specialists), determine the fee they will charge a patient.
  • Doctors need a Provider Number so that patients can claim a rebate from Medicare Australia.



According to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship the preferred temporary visa pathway for doctors is the Temporary Business (Long Stay) visa (Subclass 457) which has a streamlined application process.

Find more information about how to apply for your visa on the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs website.


Medical education

  • Undergraduate programmes last from five to six years.
  • Graduate entry programmes last four years.
  • Medical graduates will take a 12-month internship and after this they are granted full registration with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency and the Medical Board of Australia.
  • Fully registered doctors undertake a pre-vocational on the job training as RMO (Resident Medical Officer) or sometimes known as HMOs (Hospital Medical Officers).
  • After two years of being an RMO or HMO, most junior doctors seek admission to a vocational training programme, following admission they secure a registrar post which is accredited for training.
  • Once they’ve completed their vocational training they are awarded a Fellowship of the College and recognised as a specialist. Additional sub-specialty training may also be undertaken.



All doctors holding registration in Australia can obtain a Medicare Prescriber number from Medicare Australia, enabling them to prescribe pharmaceuticals, order diagnostic tests and refer patients to other doctors.

Doctors employed in general practice or private specialist practice also need a Medicare Provider number. They register with Medicare Australia to participate in the Medicare scheme and to be eligible to have Medicare benefits paid for their professional services or for patients to claim a rebate.

Find out more about  Medicare provider number registration.



Registration is regulated by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency and the Medical Board of Australia which has offices and Medical Boards in each State of Australia.

There are two kinds of registration available:

  • registration without conditions (full registration)
  • registration with conditions (limited registration)

Find more guidance on registration and what doctors with specialist qualifications should do in the registration process from the Australian Medical Council.