How to become a Specialist Doctor

How to become a Specialist Doctor

Specialists are fully qualified Medical Doctors who have decided on a particular area of medicine that they are passionate about and would like to focus on within their career.

If you’re really interested in a specific area of medicine, have all the qualities of a great Doctor, and are committed and passionate, then you might like to consider your options to specialise within the medical profession.


About you:


  • excellent communicators
  • good leadership skills
  • able to solve problems under stress and in emergency situations.
  • compassionate
  • attention to detail
  • organisational skills
  • good record keeping
  • patience
  • stamina to work long hours and handle emotional stress
  • dexterity to work with medical equipment and tools


The job:


Duties can vary widely according to speciality undertaken, but examples include:

  • undertaking patient consultations and physical examinations
  • admit or refer patients to hospitals
  • consult other medical specialists
  • using technical equipment to undertake laboratory tests and diagnostic procedures
  • analysing test results and other medical information to make diagnoses
  • assessing and planning treatment requirements
  • prescribing, administering and monitoring medication, remedial and therapeutic treatment and procedures
  • writing reports, referral letters, recording medical information and data
  • reporting specified contagious and notifiable diseases to government health and immigration authorities
  • organising workloads
  • performing surgical procedures
  • providing general pre- and post-operative care
  • liaising daily with staff including other doctors, non-medical management staff and healthcare professionals
  • promoting health education
  • managing a department
  • leading a medical team
  • keeping GPs informed about the care of their patients
  • teaching and supervising trainee doctors


Lifestyle Impact: High


  • Part Time opportunities: Varies depending on your chosen speciality.
  • Average hours for full-time workers: Varies depending on your chosen speciality.
  • Specialist Doctors’ salary (average): Varies depending on your chosen speciality.
  • Future career growth: Very strong (source:
  • You will be doing most of your work indoors, in clinics and labs.
  • You will most likely need to be prepared to work long hours, including on weekends and holidays.


Specialist Doctors are most in demand in these locations:


Because there are so many different specialties, it’s difficult to determine an exact amount of Specialist Doctors. They are needed all across Australia, particularly in regional and rural areas where there are shortages of healthcare workers. Most Specialist Doctors work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.


How to become a Specialist Doctor in Australia


You will need to complete both university-level study and further practical training in order to work as a Specialist Doctor in Australia.


Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English and Maths.


Step 2 – Complete an accredited medical program in Australia – this can be either undergraduate or postgraduate. You can see all of the Ahpra-approved programs of study here.


Step 3 – Complete an internship before applying for general registration with Ahpra’s Medical Board.


Step 4 – Complete a fellowship with an AMC accredited specialist college and further specialist training, before applying for specialist registration.


Step 5 – Start working as a fully qualified Specialist Doctor.


Find out more here –


Similar Careers to Specialist Doctor


Medical Doctor



General Practitioner (GP)

Registered Nurse



Aged Care Worker


Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What options are there for career progression?


There are over 64 different medical specialties to choose from in Australia, and within some of those areas, you can specialise even further:

  • Addiction Medicine
  • Anaesthesia
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Medicine / Paediatric emergency medicine
  • General Practice
  • Intensive care medicine / Paediatric intensive care medicine
  • Medical administration
  • Obstetrics and gynaecology includes: gynaecological oncology, maternal-foetal medicine, obstetrics & gynaecological ultrasound, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, urogynaecology
  • Occupational and environmental medicine
  • Ophthalmology
  • Paediatrics and child health includes: clinical genetics, community child health, general paediatrics, neonatal and perinatal medicine, paediatric oncology, paediatric clinical pharmacology, paediatric emergency medicine, paediatric endocrinology, paediatric gastroenterology & hepatology, paediatric immunology & allergy, paediatric infectious diseases, paediatric intensive care medicine, paediatric medical oncology, paediatric nephrology, paediatric neurology, paediatric nuclear medicine, paediatric palliative care, paediatric rehabilitation medicine, paediatric respiratory and sleep medicine, paediatric rheumatology
  • Pain medicine
  • Palliative medicine
  • Pathology – include: general, anatomical, chemical, haematology, immunology, microbiology, forensic
  • Physician – includes: cardiology, clinical genetics, clinical pharmacology, endocrinology, gastroenterology & hepatology, general medicine, geriatric medicine, haematology, immunology & allergy, infectious diseases, medical oncology, nephrology, neurology, nuclear medicine, respiratory and sleep medicine, rheumatology.
  • Psychiatry
  • Public health medicine
  • Radiation oncology
  • Radiology – diagnostic radiology, diagnostic ultrasound, nuclear medicine
  • Rehabilitation medicine
  • Sexual health medicine
  • Sport and exercise medicine
  • Surgery including: cardio-thoracic, general, neurosurgery, orthopaedic, otolaryngology (head & neck), oral and maxillofacial, paediatric, plastic, urology, vascular


Do I need to go to university to become a Specialist Doctor?


You will need to complete a university degree, as well as several years of additional training, before you can work as a Specialist Doctor.


Where do Specialist Doctors work?


Specialist Doctors might work in hospitals, private practices or community medical centres, and may also focus on research or medical administration.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Specialist Doctor?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Specialist Doctor is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Start researching your study options. Applications can be extremely competitive and you’ll need to work hard to secure a place.
  2. See if you can find work experience in health or medicine. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
  3. Talk to a Specialist Doctor to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about a career in health.

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