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How to become a Physician

Physicians (aka specialists, specialist physicians or consultant physicians) are qualified medical doctors who have gone on to complete further training in a medical specialty. Physicians are responsible for diagnosing, treating and managing the medical conditions of adults. Paediatricians do the same thing but work with infants, children and adolescents.

They care for difficult, serious, on-going or unusual medical problems and continue to see the patient until these problems have resolved or stabilised. Physicians might work in hospitals, private practices or community medical centres, and may also focus on research or medical administration.

If you’re interested in a medical career and want to specialise but would still like variety and challenges, then you should consider these options.


About you:


  • think logically but also outside the box
  • have a scientific approach
  • be good at decision making
  • strong assessment and analysis abilities
  • be objective
  • compassionate
  • strong work ethic and drive to succeed as cases may be challenging
  • professional
  • broad scope of knowledge and the willingness to keep learning
  • confidence to make decisions and advocate on behalf of patients
  • work well independently but also as part of a team


The job:


  • detect and diagnose medical conditions
  • provide care for patients with complex illnesses
  • treatment of problems affecting different body systems in a patient
  • treatment of social and psychological impact of disease
  • carry out a variety of medical procedures for the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with severe and complex illnesses
  • use diagnostic tests logically, safely and effectively as investigative tools
  • critical analysis of test results, research reports, and drug industry information
  • understand complex interactions of medications given simultaneously in the treatment of patients
  • make treatment decisions to help patients
  • work with surgeons to determine patient’s risk status & recommend appropriate management to minimise risks
  • assist in postoperative care and ongoing medical problems or complications
  • keep detailed, accurate and up to date medical records
  • consult with other Doctors or departments


Lifestyle Impact: High


  • Part Time opportunities: Low – around 21% of Physicians work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 50 hours a week, which is above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Physicians’ salary (average) $145,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries greatly vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will be doing most of your work indoors, in clinics and labs.
  • More than two-thirds of workers reported regularly working overtime or extra hours (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).


Physician are most in demand in these locations:


This is a relatively small occupation, with around 9,600 people working as Physicians in Australia in 2020 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). Demand for Physicians is highest in Victoria and South Australia. Most Physicians work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.


How to become a Physician in Australia


You will need to complete both university-level study and further practical training in order to work as a Physician 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 the Royal Australian College of Physicians (RACP) and further specialist training, before applying for specialist registration.


Step 5 – Start working as a fully qualified Physician.


Find out more here –





Similar Careers to Physician


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 lots of specialisations you might like to consider, including cardiology, clinical genetics, clinical pharmacology, endocrinology, gastroenterology & hepatology, geriatric medicine, haematology, immunology & allergy, infectious diseases, medical oncology, nephrology, neurology, nuclear medicine, respiratory and sleep medicine, or rheumatology.


Do I need to go to university to become a Physician?


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


Where do Physicians work?


Physicians 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 Physician?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Physician 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 Physician 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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