Nov 10, 2019
Medical Student
Hi all! I'm currently a medical student at University of Queensland. I'm Australian, and I hope to do my residency here is Australia and practice in Australia as an attending in the future. However, to my understanding, the US is really advance in terms of their clinical knowledge and experience and I am looking ahead to possibly doing a fellowship in there. If I complete my surgical residency (fingers crossed) in Australia and is made a fellow of RACS, would I need to take the USMLE in order to get into a fellowship that allows me to scrub in and assist in surgery? Or is the process easier like in Canada where my RACS training is recognized as an equivalent so I'm exempt from the MCCQE.

Thanks in advance! :D


Radiologist - DNB, FRCR (UK), FRANZCR (Australia)
2+ Year Member
May 30, 2018
Attending Physician
you need to understand two things about working as a doctor in the US
1) licensure - medical registration in US
2) board certification - specialist registration in US (equvalent to fracs/fracp/etc)

no matter what level of the medical chain you are in, you need to sit the USMLE to obtain licensure. an australian medical degree or fracs is not going to give you licensure, the only way is the USMLE and there is no way around that.

i assume when you mean fellowship you mean short term training after fracs with intention to return to australia afterwards. this can be done as long as you have licensure (USMLE) but makes it unlikely for you to stay in the US and practice as a 'board certified' specialist. as the only way to be board certified in the us is to complete the full residency. as a fracs you will not be eligible to apply for 'acgme accredited' fellowships and hence cannot do the board exams for that sub-speciality. you are limited to non-acgme accredited fellowships which does not lead to board certification

ive heard there are ways around getting board certification as an australian specialist but it is not a common route and is very state and specialty specific. typically you need to be quite high up, have an academic affiliation and work in a US medical school faculty.


Family Physician / Hospitalist
5+ Year Member
May 25, 2015
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Attending Physician
1) Applying for the relevant state (e.g. California or New York) medical board licence to practice medicine
a) Your Australian medical school must be recognised by the State's Medical board
b) You typically must have passed USMLE Steps 1 + 2 + 3 in oder to be elligble to apply

2) Applying for specialist board certification to be recognised as a consultant or attending physician in your specialty field
a) Your Australian specialist fellowship msut be recognised as an equivalent to an American specialist board certification
where some are recognised as equivalent and others are not
e.g. FRACGP (GPs) is recognised equivalent to ABFM (Family Med) Certification so no further training or exams are required
however other specialties such as FRACS appears not to be as easily equivalent to their American counterparts
b) You may be required to do a period of supervised practice or sit a once-off exam

It would appear easier for GPs / Family Physicians. I'm not sure about other Specialists.
Notwithstanding there's the other trouble of attaining and securing a Visa to actually live and work in the US.
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