Specialist medical colleges are responsible for the education and training of doctors in specialist medical practice.
College training programs vary in duration and each College sets its own entry requirements, application process, training curriculum, program of study, supervision requirements and assessments.
Training (except for general practice) is predominantly undertaken in public hospitals where trainees (registrars) work in training positions and are supervised and mentored by appropriately qualified specialists.
Training positions must be accredited by the relevant specialist college against a set of standards and criteria.
The time required to complete a specialist training program varies between three to seven full-time years, depending upon the chosen specialty.
Entry into a training program is via a competitive selection process through which doctors apply for a fixed number of accredited training positions (posts).
The number of training positions available is dependent on the health services’ capacity to accept trainees.
Some colleges require applicants to secure a position at an accredited facility before applying to enter a training program. Others operate in reverse.
Some colleges (e.g. RACP) also differentiate their training programs into basic and advanced components. Where required, basic training is the entry point for specialist training and must be completed before progressing to advanced training.
Specialist colleges assess their trainees at multiple time-points during training with a range of assessment methods. Most colleges use written, oral and/or clinical examinations and the majority have an exit or final examination.
A range of other in-training assessments of both a formative and summative nature are also utilised.