Medical Training Review Panel: Seventeenth Report

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Page last updated: 09 April 2014

Training Program

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) provides vocational training programs in the following areas:

  • Adult Medicine;
  • Paediatrics and Child Health;
  • Occupational and Environmental Medicine;
  • Public Health Medicine;
  • Rehabilitation Medicine;
  • Palliative Medicine;
  • Addiction Medicine; and
  • Sexual Health Medicine.

Each of these has separate training programs which vary in length between three to eight years depending on the specialty chosen. Commencing in 2008, the RACP has phased in a common educational framework called Physician Readiness for Expert Practice (PREP). The PREP program is a comprehensive system of formative education throughout Basic and Advanced Training.

The key principles of PREP centre around provision of a supportive learning environment, a physician led, learner-centred approach and reflective practice. Components of the framework include training program curriculum, professional qualities curriculum, formative and summative assessments, teaching and learning tools, comprehensive supervision and an e-learning environment.

Basic Training - Adult Medicine and Paediatrics and Child Health

The Basic Training program is three years in length and is designed to provide trainees with a multi-specialty foundation by introducing and developing the range of core knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours required to become a competent physician or paediatrician.

Advanced Training

Advanced Training is provided in all the specialties listed above and most programs are a minimum of three years in length.

Within adult medicine and paediatrics there are a broad range of specialties not listed which include cardiology, clinical genetics, clinical pharmacology, community child health (paeds only), endocrinology, gastroenterology and hepatology, general and acute care medicine (adult medicine only), general paediatrics (paeds only), geriatric medicine (adult medicine only), clinical haematology, clinical immunology and allergy, infectious diseases, medical oncology, neonatal/perinatal medicine (paeds only), nephrology, neurology, nuclear medicine, palliative medicine, paediatric rehabilitation medicine, respiratory medicine rheumatology and sleep medicine.

There are also specialty advanced training programs which are conducted jointly with other specialist colleges:

  • haematology, immunology and allergy, endocrinology and chemical pathology and infectious diseases and microbiology, with the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA);
  • paediatric emergency medicine with the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM);
  • nuclear medicine with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR); and
  • paediatrics and child and adolescent psychiatry with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP).4

Trainee Selection

Applicants for basic training must have successfully completed a medical degree and an internship year, and be currently employed in a suitable training position in an accredited hospital, as confirmed by the Director of Physician Education within the hospital. There are additional requirements for International Medical Graduates.

Selection into advanced training in a specialty is contingent upon the trainee successfully completing basic training requirements and securing a suitable advanced training position in a hospital prior to submitting an application for approval by the relevant training committee.

Trainee Assessment

Basic trainees undertake a range of workplace based formative assessments during training. Completion of learning needs analyses and summative assessments (such as a centrally administered written and clinical examination and progress reports) must also be successfully completed before progression to advanced training.

Advanced trainees are also required to undertake a range of formative and summative assessments and requirements vary across the specialties.

On satisfactory completion of all training requirements, trainees are admitted to Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP). Trainees enrolled in joint training programs with the RCPA must complete all training requirements of the joint program before FRACP is awarded.

Overseas Trained Specialists

Applications from overseas trained physicians or paediatricians for specialist recognition in Australia are assessed by the College. An assessment of the applicant’s qualifications and experience, including at least two detailed referee reports, is undertaken against the relevant College training program to determine whether they are eligible to proceed. Applicants are interviewed to assess their comparability to Australian-trained physicians and paediatricians. Representatives from the relevant subspecialty are involved at every stage of the process. The documentation and interview report are assessed by the relevant overseas trained physician/paediatrician (OTP) committee, which determines one of three possible outcomes to the assessment:

  • OTP is deemed to be substantially comparable to an Australian-trained physician/paediatrician;
  • OTP is deemed to be partially comparable to an Australian-trained physician/paediatrician; or
  • OTP is deemed to be not comparable to an Australian-trained physician/paediatrician and is advised to complete the AMC examination and apply to join the RACP training program.

If deemed ‘substantially comparable’, the applicant is generally required to complete 12 months of prospectively approved professional supervised peer review before being eligible to apply for fellowship. If deemed ‘partially comparable’, they may be required to successfully complete up to 24 months of peer review, up to 12 months of top up training, the written and/or clinical/oral examination and/or a practice visit.


The college accredits training settings that provide a suitable environment for physician education. Site visits are undertaken as required to verify that criteria relating to the environment for teaching and learning are satisfied. Basic and advanced training specialties all have customised accreditation processes with levels of accreditation depending on the teaching and learning opportunities available at the facility.

Further Information

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians

4) This training program is currently under review and closed to new entrants.