Information for specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs)

For SIMGs who are looking for short-term training in an orthopaedic specialty pathway to advance their training in Australia, please visit the fellowships programs page.

(This pathway does not lead to registration as a specialist in Australia).

SIMGs with formal postgraduate specialist qualifications in surgery who wish to work in Australia can apply to Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) for an assessment of their qualifications and experience for comparability with Australian-trained surgeons. SIMGs applying for assessment of comparability will be assessed according to the standard of a specialist trained in that specialty in Australia (specialist recognition) or applying for an area of need specialist level position in Australia (area of need). 

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) is responsible for medical registration and is supported by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The Australian Medical Council (AMC) is an independent national standards body for medical education and assessment in Australia. It oversees the process for accreditation of primary medical programs and providers. It also assesses international medical graduates seeking registration to practise medicine in Australia. 

The process for SIMGs

The steps below outline the process you will need to take to commence your pathway to specialist recognition as an overseas trained doctor prior to AOA involvement in your application. 

  1. Apply directly to Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) for verification of your medical qualifications.
  2. 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).

RACS manages the *assessment of your qualifications and experience.

MBA will then receive the outcome of the RACS assessment and determine the type of registration you are eligible for. MBA makes the final decision on whether to grant registration. Information on registration categories and types of positions medical practitioners in the specialist pathway can apply for is available on the MBA website

*AOA involvement commences at this point with the RACS SIMG Department, to determine whether your application is deemed substantially comparable, partially comparable or not comparable.

This decision is based firstly on a document-based assessment of your initial application as per the assessment standards. If deemed suitable, you will be required to attend an interview with an SIMG assessment panel to provide further clarification relating to your surgical training, education, and to ascertain specific aspects of your surgical practice, such as judgement and clinical decision making.

Partially comparable pathway — AOA educational resources

AOA invites SIMGs to access the following trainee resources in preparation for sitting the fellowship exam:

AOA Bone School educational program

Bone School is an integral resource in your preparation for the fellowship exam (FEX) and continuing professional development.

  • Bone School is a major instructional program in the AOA national education calendar. It includes weekly lectures and tutorials, conducted in six different training regions with the support of AOA staff.
  • Strong focus on the curriculum and exam preparation in the lead up to the FEX.
  • You gain access to all national online accessible (recorded) tutorials and trainee learning resources on the learning management system (LMS).
  • You have access to regional clinical sessions and trial exams.
  • You are invited to participate in the national trial exam.
  • Study group connections also tend to evolve out of Bone School. 

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.

For information on the AOA 21 Training Program Selection process, please visit the Becoming an AOA Trainee page.

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 18–24 months.