General Practitioners (GPs) are specialist, community based Doctors trained to care for people of all ages, all walks of life, and with all types of medical issues and concerns. They focus on the health of the whole person, combining preventative, physical, psychological and social aspects of care.
If you’re a people person with lots of empathy and patience, that thrives on variety but handles hum-drum too, then a career as a GP could be perfect for you.
Great interpersonal and communication skills (good “bedside manner”)
Good critical thinker and problem solver
Ability to work as part of a team or independently
Open-minded and non-judgemental
Interest in continued learning
Decisive and organised
Conducting examinations of patients and questioning them about their health status to make diagnosis
Ordering lab tests, x-rays and other medical diagnostic procedures where necessary
Prescribing relevant medication
Administering simple medical treatments/procedures such as immunisations, skin cancer removals & applying stitches
Providing general health advice to patients on diet, nutrition, exercise and other lifestyle habits to prevent or recover from illness
Referring patients to other healthcare professionals
Arranging admission of patients into hospital
Recording and organising patient records
Training and supervising medical students/trainee doctors
Keeping up to date with the latest medical treatments and medications relevant to general practice/primary healthcare
Reporting births, deaths and notifiable diseases to government authorities
Lifestyle Impact: Medium
Part Time opportunities: Low – around 28% of GPs work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
Average hours for full-time workers: 46 hours a week, which is above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
GPs’ salary (average) $130,000* per year (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). *Salaries 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 hospitals and private clinics. You may have the opportunity to travel to a patient’s home.
The work can be physically and emotionally demanding, so it’s important that you have the resilience to withstand the rigours of the job.
More than half of workers reported that they regularly work overtime or extra hours (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
General Practitioners are most in demand in these locations:
This is a large occupation, with around 68,200 people working as General Practitioners in Australia in 2020 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). Demand for General Practitioners is spread evenly across Australia – there is usually a greater demand for medical professionals in rural and regional areas. Most General Practitioners work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.
How to become a General Practitioner in Australia
Becoming a GP is quite a long and involved process. You will need to complete an accredited university-level qualification, before completing an internship and further specialist training.
Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a focus on English and Maths. Biology, Chemistry and Physics might also be useful.
Step 2 – Complete an Ahpra-approved medical program. This can be at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. You can find a full list of approved qualifications here.
Step 3 – Complete a period of accredited intern training to become eligible for general registration.
Step 5 – Once you’ve finished your fellowship, apply for specialist registration with Ahpra.
Step 6 – Start working as a fully qualified GP.
Find out more here –
Similar Careers to General Practitioner
Find out more about alternative careers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do General Practitioners do?
General Practitioners are responsible for the general care and wellbeing of their patients. While they may not be able to treat specialised problems, they can guide patients on almost all general ailments and injuries.
What options are there for career progression?
Becoming a General Practitioner takes time, and for many people it is the end goal for their career. However, you might like to specialise even further down the line, and work in Paediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Oncology, Radiology, Pathology, or more.
Do I need to go to university to become a General Practitioner?
Yes, you will need to go to university and complete thorough additional training before you are qualified to practise as a GP in Australia. This process can take anywhere between 10-15 years.
Where do General Practitioners work?
There is demand for GPs across all of Australia, particularly in rural and regional areas. There might be less competition for jobs in these areas.
What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a General Practitioner?
If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a General Practitioner is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:
Start researching university options as soon as possible. The application process can be involved and you need to check prerequisites carefully. Our Entry to Medicine Guide is a great place to start.
See if you can find work experience in a health related setting. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
Talk to a GP 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 medicine.