METC Institute Blog

IMG Blog: Understanding the Specialist Pathway as an IMG

Posted by Kristie on Mar 22, 2019 2:40:25 PM

 

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With so many different pathways to registration in Australia available, it can sometimes be confusing for International Medical Graduate (IMGs) as to which pathway is the best option for them as an individual.

This article covers everything you need to know about the Specialist Pathway, from eligibility and application, to training and registration.

 

Who is the Specialist pathway suitable for?

This particular pathway is suitable for IMGs who are:

  • overseas-trained specialists applying for assessment of comparability to the standard of a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia (specialist recognition), or;

  • overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need specialist level position in Australia (area of need).

Who is eligible to apply for the Specialist pathway?

IMGs who have;

  1. a primary qualification in medicine and surgery awarded by a training institution recognised by both the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS) and;

  2. satisfied all the training and examination requirements to practise in their field of specialty in their country of training, can apply for assessment under this pathway.

If you currently hold, or previously held, general registration you are not eligible to apply for the specialist pathway. Whilst IMGs can complete the requirements for specialist registration while holding general registration, this is done via a separate process to the Specialist pathway.

It’s also important to note that before applying for this pathway, IMGs must apply to the AMC for primary source verification of their qualifications. These qualifications are verified by the AMC via the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials.

There are currently two pathways, within the Specialist pathway:

  1. Specialist Recognition

This option is for IMGs seeking Specialist Registration, who are overseas-trained specialists applying for assessment of comparability to the standard of a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia. Through this pathway the IMG must apply to the AMC for primary source verification of their medical qualifications, then apply directly to the relevant specialist medical college. The college then assesses comparability against the criteria for an Australian-trained specialist in the same field of speciality practice, and assesses the IMG as:

  • not comparable, or;

  • substantially comparable, or;

  • partially comparable.

Following this assessment, the IMG may be required to undertake a period of peer review, which could involve the completion of workplace based assessment(s) OR a period of supervised practice and further training.

After the IMG has completed all the college requirements, the college can recommend that the IMG be granted recognition as a specialist.

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2.  Area of Need

This option is for IMGs seeking Limited or Provisional Registration, who are overseas-trained specialists applying for an area of need specialist level position in Australia.

Through this pathway the IMG must apply to the AMC for primary source verification of their medical qualifications, then apply directly to the specialist medical college who assess qualifications and relevant experience against the specified requirements of a position in a confirmed area of need.

Whilst this pathway does not lead to specialist registration, IMGs can complete the requirements for specialist recognition while working in an area of need position.

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Where do IMGs go to apply for the Specialist pathway?

To apply for the Specialist pathway, IMGs must apply directly to the specialist medical college, and all application forms for the Specialist pathway (both specialist recognition and area of need) are available on the relevant college websites.

Which organisation grants final registration?

The outcome of a specialist medical college’s assessment of the IMG’s application for the Specialist pathway will determine the type of registration the IMG may apply for with the Medical Board of Australia, with the Board making the final decision on whether to grant registration.

Below is the list of registration types for IMGs on the Specialist pathway according to the Medical Board of Australia.

Pathway

Assessment outcome

Registration type

Specialist pathway – specialist recognition

IMGs who have been assessed by the college as substantially comparable or partially comparable and are working towards specialist recognition

Limited registration for postgraduate training or supervised practice

OR

Provisional registration (for IMGs qualified for the Competent Authority pathway)

Specialist pathway – area of need

IMGs who have been assessed by the college as suitable for an area of need position

Limited registration for area of need

OR

Provisional registration (for IMGs qualified for the Competent Authority pathway)

Specialist pathway – specialist recognition and area of need

IMGs who have been assessed by the college for specialist recognition and an area of need position

Limited registration for area of need

OR

Provisional registration (for IMGs qualified for the Competent Authority pathway)

Specialist pathway – specialist recognition

IMGs who have been admitted as Fellows of an AMC accredited specialist medical college, or who have been advised by the college that they are eligible for fellowship

Specialist registration


What training programs are available for IMGs?


The METC Institute currently offers a Specialist Recognition Registrar Training Program that allows IMGs pursuing the General Practice Specialist Pathway a structured, a formalised program to attain specialist registration in Australia as a specialist General Practitioner through Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP). This program is available for IMGs who are already experienced General Practitioners with a valid Comparability Assessment from the RACGP with ‘Substantially Comparable’ or ‘Partially Comparable’ ratings.


In addition, the METC Institute also offers the General Practice Experience Pathway Registrar Training Program which offers a structured, formalised program, to allow international General Practitioners a training pathway to attaining specialist registration in Australia as a specialist General Practitioner through Fellowship of the RACGP.  This program provides vocational training in AGPAL (Australian General Practice Accreditation Limited) or QPA (Quality Practice Accreditation) accredited General Practice positions, combined with formal teaching to prepare registrars for the RACGP Fellowship Exams. Registrars completing this program also receive a competitive salary from employment in an accredited General Practice.

Topics: IMG