Australian General Practice Training

Are you thinking about which medical speciality you would like to pursue?

Australian General Practice Training

If you are excited of the idea of making many vital and varied health assessments every day you work, if you want a career where every other medical specialist resource is right behind you to provide the next level of care or diagnosis, then general practice could be the perfect fit for you.

General practice is a recognised medical specialty and doctors must undertake vocational training to become a qualified specialist general practitioner in Australia.

The Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program is a world-class postgraduate vocational training program for medical graduates wishing to pursue a career in general practice in Australia. It is the leading training program for GP registrars in Australia.

In Western Australia, WAGPET delivers the AGPT program and offers GP registrars the opportunity to acquire valuable practical experience in different training locations, including teaching hospitals, and rural and urban practices. At the end of their training, GP registrars are prepared to sit Fellowship exams with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and/or the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to gain specialist registration as a general practitioner.

The AGPT program involves a three- or four-year full-time commitment, which may be reduced with recognition of prior learning (RPL). The program is designed to reflect the flexibility and variety a career in GP offers, allowing GP registrars to tailor their training to build the best foundations for the future.

GP registrars are encouraged to undertake training in specialised medical centres that provide healthcare for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people from socially disadvantaged groups. They also acquire experience in extended skills or advanced specialised training, and can pursue other areas of relevant interest such as, procedural general practice and academic posts.

Am I eligible?

You can apply to the program once you have completed your intern year (PGY1). There are two eligibility criteria you are required to meet to apply for the program:

  1. Have general registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), or be eligible to be granted it by the time you are due to commence the program.
  2. Be an Australian or New Zealand citizen/permanent resident, or be granted your permanent residency by close of applications.

To assess your eligibility to join the program, check the Eligibility Guide, available on the AGPT website. The AGPT program welcomes applicants who were born overseas and trained at an Australian medical school or were born and trained overseas. You will need to check if you are subject to Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973.

Please note: WAGPET is unable to provide a letter of support to Australian-trained 457 visa holders. For a list of regional training providers able to provide letters of support, visit the AGPT website.

General / rural pathways

When you apply for the AGPT program, you must nominate your pathway of choice – general or rural. Both pathways have set training location obligations as specified in the AGPT Training Obligations Policy.

The general pathway is ideal for you if you wish to complete all or most of your training in the metropolitan area. As part of your training, you will be required to complete twelve months of training in an outer metropolitan location. However, the remainder of your training time can be spent in the inner metropolitan area if you wish.

The rural pathway is for those who are committed and passionate about training and working in rural WA. If you elect this pathway, you will be required to complete all of your training in rural areas. If you are an international medical graduate or foreign graduate from an accredited medical school subject to Section 19AB of the Health Insurance Act 1973, you will be required to elect the rural pathway for your GP training.

The pathway you choose as a GP registrar does not impact on where you can later work as a qualified GP, but will determine the nature of the experiences you receive whilst training.

Pre-requisites for training in a GP practice

Before commencing your community general practice terms, you are required to complete a minimum of twelve months post-intern hospital training in an Australian hospital. During this time, you will be required to complete mandatory hospital rotations. Your mandatory rotations are dependent on the college in which you choose to enrol. Please refer to the ACRRM and RACGP websites for details.  

These mandatory hospital rotations do not have to be completed before application and entry into the AGPT program. If you have not completed them you can undertake the rotations as a part of your first year with WAGPET. Visit the ACRRM and RACGP websites to review their hospital experience requirements.

Recognition of prior learning

If you have extensive hospital experience or are in post graduate year two (PGY2) when you apply for the program, you may be eligible for recognition of prior learning (RPL).

Once you have been offered a place on the AGPT program, you will be asked to submit a training plan. WAGPET will assess your eligibility for RPL along with other factors such as your PGY level, procedural skill experience, rural intent and the availability of training posts to determine if you can start in a GP practice.

RPL is an acknowledgement of the professional skills and knowledge already attained, enabling you to reduce your time on the training program. Applications for RPL are processed by WAGPET’s Clinical Director of Training and then forwarded for the relevant college. Please refer to the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy in the WAGPET GP Registrar Policy Handbook for more information.

Fellowship with ACRRM

If you are accepted onto the program to train towards a fellowship with ACRRM, you may be eligible to submit an RPL application for your Core Clinical Training (CCT), Primary Rural and Remote Terms (PRRT) or Advanced Specialised Training (AST) time. If you wish to apply for RPL, you need to speak with your program training advisor to ensure that you have adequate time remaining in the training program to complete your college assessments and WAGPET’s training and educational requirements. Your program training advisor is your single point of contact at WAGPET throughout your time on the AGPT program. The maximum amount of time that ACRRM will grant for RPL is two years and you cannot receive RPL for your intern year.

Fellowship with RACGP

If you are accepted onto the program to train towards a fellowship with RACGP and are PGY2 and above, up to one year of your work experience in an Australian hospital environment, following general registration, may be recognised as your Hospital Training Time (HTT) and/or Extended Skills (ES) requirements. The maximum amount of time that you can claim for RPL with the RACGP is twelve months. General practice terms are not eligible for RPL.

If you intend to apply for RPL for hospital time, you must still ensure you have a hospital placement lined up for your first training term on the program as we are unable to guarantee you a GP placement. Please refer to the Recognition of Prior Learning Policy in the WAGPET GP Registrar Policy Handbook. If you plan to apply for RPL, you will need to submit your draft ACRRM RPL or RACGP RPL form when you accept your place on the AGPT program with WAGPET.

Registrar support

In their hospital year, all WAGPET registrars are supported by the clinical director of training and hospital program training advisor. Once they commence their GP terms, each registrar has a dedicated program training advisor who assists them in meeting all AGPT requirements. They also have access to a regional medical educator who assists with their learning and assessments to ensure they meet the clinical requirements of their training, as well as support from the clinical director of medical education. If a registrar moves to a different region within WA to continue their training, their program training advisor and regional medical educator will change as they are attached to a specific region. In addition, registrars receive training, support and mentoring from their GP supervisor within their GP training facility.

GP terms with WAGPET

Once you have completed all your mandatory hospital time, you are ‘GP ready’. WAGPET offers you choice in where you will train, as well as the opportunity to sample different settings over your time in the program. All WAGPET training facilities are accredited by the colleges and recognised for the quality training experiences they offer.

In each of your GP terms, you will have a dedicated GP supervisor. All GP supervisors meet the relevant college requirements for quality supervision and training. As you progress through the program, the level of supervision you require will reduce.

Part-time training and leave entitlements

In the first twelve months of your GP terms, you are required to complete twelve months of online education on the GP365 program regardless of whether you are working full-time or part-time. This is to ensure all GP registrars in the first twelve months have the equivalent levels of education to support safe, quality practice. Please be aware that all applicants are accepted into the program on a full-time basis and will need to apply to become part-time.

Please refer to the AGPT Program Leave Policy for more information about leave entitlements.

Colleges and Program Structure

In Western Australia, WAGPET delivers the AGPT program and offers GP registrars the opportunity to acquire valuable practical experience in different training locations, including teaching hospitals, and rural and urban practices. At the end of their training, GP registrars are prepared to sit Fellowship exams with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and/or the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) to gain specialist registration as a general practitioner.

Deciding which fellowship to undertake is a personal decision. The Department of Health recommends that doctors who are considering applying for the AGPT program contact ACRRM and/or RACGP, as well as the regional training organisation in their preferred training region, to discuss options and determine the best fit for their career. WAGPET is the regional training organisation for Western Australia.

Find out more

"It is the best training program that I have ever experienced."

“It has been a great experience and journey during my training with WAGPET. I joined in January 2013 as a WAGPET GP registrar and I will say it is the best training program that I have ever experienced.

"The College and WAGPET have been very supportive. It is a very structured training program. The various practices that I have worked have been fantastic and you also have various teaching sessions outside of the practice including a day of regional training each month in addition to workshops at WAGPET.”

Dr Michael Kurian, GP registrar 2013-2015