Medical school is only the first step towards being a fully-qualified doctor. On completion of your medical course, you move into a hospital as an intern. The internship will last for a year, after which you become a resident. You can be a resident for the number of years you choose to be one. On further training you can move onto becoming a registrar or a specialist trainee, after which you can study further to be a consultant in any chosen field… The next ring of the medical ladder is that of a specialist. Specialist Training Any doctor who has completed their training to practice a specific branch of medicine is referred to as a specialist. Specialist training permits you to specialise in a specific area. With this training, you can then work either in specialty practice or a in a specific part of the Australian health system. In Australia, specialist training programs are governed by Medical Colleges and they vary considerably in duration as well as the number of hours you will most likely have to work. Most training programs are highly competitive to gain entry into. The admission procedure is generally a mix of an interview, relevant qualifications, your supervisor’s reports of any previous training, as well as relevant work experience that you have had previously. Some medical colleges also reserve and offer specific indigenous training places. First Decide Where Your Interests Lie You can choose your specialisation based on your area of interest. If you prefer working with children you may choose to veer towards Paediatrics and work at a Paediatric clinic or a Children’s Hospital. If studying and treating the body’s largest organ – the skin – fascinates you, opt for Dermatology as a specialty. If you want to assist those who have been in accidents or patients with weak organs, opt for Surgery as a speciality. Perhaps you have an interest in studying illnesses in your community, in which case you can opt for a research specialty like Public Health. Exploring Your Options In essence, a medical education can eventually lead to a variety of specialisations including: Cardiology Respiratory Medicine Endocrinology & Diabetes Mellitus Paediatric Cardiology Accident and Emergency Allergy Audiological Medicine Clinical Genetics Rheumatology Clinical Pharmacology Dermatology Gastroenterology Geriatric Infectious Diseases (Communicable Diseases) Medical Oncology Neurology Rehabilitation (including Spinal Injuries) Nuclear Medicine Occupational Health Palliative Medicine Renal Medicine (Nephrology) Neurophysiology Genito-urinary Medicine (GUM) The exception to the specialty training rule is General Practice. In itself, it is a recognised specialty, however by its very nature, the type of work that you do, will be general. Most of the doctors that you visit, for example a family doctor, are a General Practitioner. If you have an interest in a little of everything then this specialisation is possibly the right one for you. You do not really have to make your specialisation decision in a hurry. Take the time that you have working as a resident to figure out which field interests you and what you really want to make a career in. Eye-opening hospital work experience International hospital shadowing for school and university students Find out more You might also be interested in ... The 10 fears of (almost) every medical student Can I sit the UMAT if I already have a degree? Under 18s can now join us in the Dominican Republic!