When it comes to general practice training, there are two colleges that set the curriculum: the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) or the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).
Both colleges are accredited by the Australian Medical Council which means they’re the official colleges to deliver GP training in Australia. It also means when you’re done training, you’re a fully qualified GP who can practice safely, unsupervised, anywhere in Australia. Choosing which college you want to undertake your GP training through is the first step in the application process and will determine the college with which you’ll fellow once you’ve completed your training.
Here’s a quick snapshot of both the RACGP and ACRRM.
The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
The RACGP has been around since 1958 and is the biggest player in GP training. It also the biggest player in the ongoing training of GPs and the connectedness of GPs in Australia with close to 40,000 members.
RACGP offers two kinds of fellowship training:
1. Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (FRACGP)
The generalist pathway is the most popular way for people to train to be a GP in Australia, and is a three-year, full-time equivalent qualification.
2. Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP)
This is an additional qualification in advanced rural training available to RACGP registrars and is completed alongside the FRACGP. It has an extra year of advanced skills training which brings training duration up to four years full time.
RACGP describes the FARGP as a specialist general practice qualification. FARGP fellows are competent to deliver safe, specialised and high-quality general practice care in Australia’s metropolitan rural, remote and very remote communities. Check out the RACGP FAQs for more detail.
RACGP registrars must sit and pass three exams to achieve fellowship: Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE), Applied Knowledge Test (AKT) and Key Feature Problem (KFP). These exams are a combination of practical and written assessments. For more information on the assessments see the RACGP examinations guide.
Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
ACRRM is 20 years old and, as the name suggests, specialises in rural and remote general practice. This college packs a real punch for its size of 5000 members and remains passionate about the right doctors, in the right places, with the right skills.
One fellowship option
Fellowship of the Australian College Rural and Remote Medicine (FACRRM) is the only option available for people who are training with ACRRM. This four-year, full-time course has three components: clinical training, education and assessments.
FACRRM is the perfect option for doctors who want to live in rural areas and become a skilled generalist GP who can do a bit of everything: surgery, obstetrics and anesthetics for example. It offers registration to work as a GP anywhere in Australia. Check out the ACRRM FAQs for more detail.
ACRRM assessments are completed progressively throughout four years and feature a combination of practical, theory and on-the-job assessments.
- Mini Clinical Evaluation Exercise
- Multi-Source Feedback
- Multiple Choice Questions
- Case Based Discussion
- Structured Assessment using Multiple Patient Scenarios
- Procedural Logbook
For more information visit the ACRRM website.
The college you choose at the beginning of your GP career will stay with you for the duration of your training. When making your selection, consider not only the curriculum for training, but also the ongoing training, support and education opportunities you’ll be offered by your college as a qualified GP.