Information for specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs)

AOA facilitates Australian specialist recognition for doctors who have obtained their qualifications overseas.

To commence your pathway* to specialist recognition as an overseas trained doctor, these are steps you will need to take prior to AOA involvement in your application:

  1. Decide if you wish to apply for Specialist Assessment or Area of Need Assessment.
    1. For information on short-term supervised training opportunities (this is not a pathway to specialist recognition in Australia), visit the Fellowship programs page.
  2. Apply directly to ECFMG for verification of your medical qualifications.
    You must nominate AMC to receive EPIC verification updates.
  3. Apply online to the AMC to establish AMC portfolio.
  4. Apply to the Royal Australian College of Surgeons (RACS) for specialist assessment (and suitability of Area of Need position as required).

AOA involvement commences at this point in determining whether your applications is deemed: Substantially comparable, partially comparable or not comparable.

This decision is based on a document-based assessment of the submitted documents and if suitable an interview to provide the assessment panel with further clarification of the applicant’s surgical training and education, but also to ascertain specific aspects of the applicant’s surgical practice, such as judgement and clinical decision making.

Fellowship Exam

AOA invites SIMGs to access the following trainee resources when preparing for sitting the Fellowship Exam:

  • Learning Management System (LMS)
  • AOA 21 Curriculum
  • Regional Bone School and national trial exams

For the subsequent steps in the application process, please refer to the Specialist Assessment and Area of Need flow charts published on the RACS website.

Not Comparable Outcomes

If you are deemed by RACS as not comparable, or if you have completed a medical degree overseas but have not yet completed specialist surgical training, you will need to apply to the AOA 21 Training Program.

Detailed information can be found on the RACS website in the first instance. For information on the AOA 21 Training Program Selection process, please visit Becoming an AOA Trainee.

Please note that you must be an Australian citizen or have permanent resident status in Australia and hold unconditional registration as a medical practitioner in Australia for the full duration of the training program. 


General information about working as a doctor in Australia can be found at the Australian government website DoctorConnect.

*Please note that pathway application processing times are currently at 18–24months