You might be someone who is currently studying medicine and is not yet sure which career path to take. The role of a GP (or general practitioner) is a vital role that has numerous advantages, so becoming a GP might be something to seriously consider.

If you’re wondering how to become a general practitioner and what the process is, those questions will be answered in this article. But first, let’s quickly look at the role of a GP in Australia.

The General Practitioner Job Role

Australian GPs are most commonly found working in private practices, medical clinics or as locum doctors. General practitioners are not specialists, nor are they general physicians (the kind of doctor who regularly works in a hospital environment).

So, what does a GP do?

A general practitioner is charged with treating all types of common medical conditions and are often the first point of contact when someone is seeking medical attention. Because the role of a GP is general in nature, if a patient requires more focused care, a GP will refer the patient to the appropriate specialist. General practitioners treat or prescribe medications for a wide range of medical conditions, but they are not specialists in a specific field of medicine.

Other tasks a GP performs also includes things like administering injections and vaccines, removing skin cancers, applying sutures, dressing wounds and some minor surgical procedures. GPs also can advise patients on exercise routines, maintaining a healthy diet, help with lowering a patient’s cholesterol, improving lifestyle habits and admitting patients to hospital as required.

Some GPs decide to work as locums, as this lifestyle provides a bit more time and location freedom. A locum may work only a few days to fill in for a GP who is off work, or they could work for several months until a full-time replacement is found for a GP who left the practice or retired. Some locums like to travel and work in different locations around the country, where they can earn money while travelling.

How To Become a GP

The first major step in becoming a GP in Australia is to complete a medical degree. This step is absolutely essential. Relevant degrees include:
  • Bachelor of Medical Studies
  • Doctor of Medicine
You also have the option of completing an undergraduate degree followed by a postgraduate qualification.

Following successful completion of the appropriate qualifications, students seeking to become fully qualified GP will then need to complete a 1-year internship in a recognised hospital. This is where most of the vital on the job training takes place and is a necessary prerequisite before budding doctors can apply for registration with the Medical Board of Australia.

Once registered as a doctor with the MBA, the following step is to obtain a GP fellowship with FRACGP (Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners). This general practice training takes a further 3 years on top of the 1-year hospital internship. Participants are required to pass an exam at the end of the 3 years to gain their fellowship and become fully qualified general practitioners.

The Prognosis for General Practitioner Jobs and How To Find One

GPs are always in demand, as it’s one of the most needed and common job roles in the entire medical profession. This is great news for GPs currently seeking employment, or medical students who plan to become a GP. You can also earn as much as $300k per year working as a general practitioner, so it’s a lucrative career path. Many erroneously assume you have to become a specialist or a surgeon to earn that kind of money, but GPs are well paid.

One of the easiest ways to find GP jobs is to search online, either on job boards, or to find recruitment agencies that specialise in recruitment for the medical profession. Try search terms like

And so on...

In Conclusion

Becoming a GP in Australia is a career that will ensure you’ve always got work, experience a rewarding lifestyle on a number of levels and you’ll be making a positive difference in the lives of people on a daily basis.