Becoming a Dermatologist
Australian Medical Graduates
The Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD) is the only organisation accredited to train and assess dermatologists in Australia. Entry into the program is highly competitive.
To become a dermatologist it is necessary to be a registered medical practitioner who has resident status in Australia and to complete the specified program of medical training, outlined in the Training Program Handbook and Curriculum. The process to become a dermatologist is outlined below.
Application for selection into the ACD Training Program is advertised in January/February each year for admission into the program for the following year. The Training Program is advertised via:
- the College News section of this website;
- The Australian newspaper
Intending applicants will need to firstly register as an Applicant on the College website in order to submit an application. Applications for the 2021 Training Program will open on 17 February 2020.
It is strongly recommended that applicants read through all the instructions before commencing their application.
Applications can only be made online via the College website. An application fee of $1,600 (GST free) is payable.
The ACD uses a standardised process to ensure that trainee selection is transparent and equitable. The National Trainee Selection Procedure is based on the principles arising from the Medical Training Review Panel document on Trainee Selection in Australian Medical Colleges (The Brennan Report, January 1998) and is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains relevant and consistent.
The number of training positions available each year is dependent on:
- The availability of Government funding for accredited training positions in Australian teaching hospitals.
- The continuation of funding by overseas governments of overseas training positions.
- The number of trainees in each state who agree to work in, or continue to work in, or who propose to return from, overseas training positions.
- The number of trainees in each state who take approved leave, or who are working part time or in shared training positions.
- The continuation of training positions made available by the Skin and Cancer Foundations in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, which are privately funded.
- Government funding being available to support training in private practice.
- The number of fourth year trainees who complete the requirements of the training program by the end of their fourth year of training.
Given these dependencies, it is not possible to predict with any certainty how many training positions will become available in one year. For this reason, the College cannot guarantee the number of entry positions that will be available in any one location in the following training year.
As a guide, entry numbers for training years in each Faculty are given in the following table:
|New South Wales||6 FTE &
|2 FTE & 1 PTE||4 FTE||2 FTE||6 FTE||9 FTE|
|New South Wales
|1 FTE||1 FTE||2 FTE||2 FTE||1 FTE||N/A|
|Queensland||2 FTE||4 FTE||6 FTE||4 FTE||6.5 FTE||0.5 FTE|
|South Australia||0||6 FTE||2 FTE||3 FTE||0.5 FTE||2.5 FTE|
|Victoria||3 FTE||5 FTE &
|5 FTE &
|8 FTE &
|7 FTE||5.5 FTE|
|ATSI||1 FTE (VIC)||1 FTE (NSW)||N/A||1 FTE||N/A||N/A|
|Western Australia||2 FTE||2 FTE||1 PTE||2 FTE||0.5 FTE||1 FTE|
|Total||15 FT &
|21 FT &
|20 FT &
|22 FT &
|21.5 FT||18.5 FT|
The table below provides information on the percentage of applicants chosen from each group of applicants from a first application through to the fourth and subsequent ones.
|% Successful||% Unsuccessful|
|Fourth and above||48.28||51.72|
The chances of being selected are not influenced by previous selection outcomes. All information provided in application forms, and in reference checking, is scrutinised afresh in competition with others for that year. As a consequence, shortlisting in one year does not guarantee shortlisting in the next.
The selection process is made up of five sequential stages:
- Seeking and Receiving Applications
- Assessment of Applications and References
- Final Allocation to Training Positions
All contact between applicants and the College must be conducted through the College’s national office. No applicant is to contact any member of the assessment, interview or selection committees directly.
A general advertisement communicating application key dates and the submission process will be placed in the national press and the News section of the College website in January/February each year.
Applications can only be made online via the College website. An application fee of $1,600 (GST free) is required upon submission. An application will not be considered if the fee has not been paid.
Sufficient time has been allocated for applicants to complete all sections of the application form for submission by the closing date. Applications into the 2021 Training Program will open on 17 February 2020.
An applicant cannot change their application form once it has been submitted. Applications that are incomplete and/or received after the closing date will not be considered.
Applicants may be required to nominate 1 or more state(s) of choice for training (i.e. NSW, QLD, SA, VIC, and WA). Applicants should consider their state preferences based on their individual domestic circumstances and work preferences. In the normal course of events, candidates will not be considered for training in other locations.
The College may also offer a designated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander position. More details on this position can be found here.
In September 2019 the Board approved the removal of the 4 attempts rule. There is now no limit on the number of applications that a candidate may submit. Previous applicants affected by the rule are now eligible to reapply.
Applications will be checked for candidate eligibility and completeness. Applicants who are not eligible to apply will not be processed further.
To be eligible for consideration for selection, applicants must:
- Be registered for medical practice in Australia;
- Have permanent residency status in Australia or permitted to remain in Australia indefinitely; and
- Have completed or be likely to satisfactorily complete a minimum of two years of acceptable postgraduate training (PGY 1 and PGY 2 accredited positions) in a teaching hospital or equivalent recognised by College by the time of commencing the training program.
Acceptable training is defined as accredited PGY 1 and PGY 2 years with a broad exposure to a variety of disciplines, preferably including terms in general medicine and general surgery. If an applicant fails to produce certified evidence the College will withdraw a successful applicant’s offer of a place in the training program.
Applicants are assessed across five areas which contribute to the overall rating that determines the applicants’ progression to the next round. Areas that are assessed include:
- Academic performance
- Employment history/clinical experience (relative to time since graduation)
- Demonstrated interest in dermatology
- Academic presentations and publications
- Community and Leadership
Note: The College is looking for well-rounded medical practitioners to enter training. Focusing on one area to the detriment of others will tend to lower your overall score. Previous dermatological experience will be favourably viewed.
Applicants will be ranked by a team of Fellows of the College according to National guidelines in each of the locations for which they have applied.
Standardise reference checks will be conducted on shortlisted applicants only. The College does not accept written testimonials.
Shortlisting is undertaken using information provided by applicants on their application forms. Using the CV assessment rating the selection committee will compile a shortlist for interview for each location.
The number of applicants progressing to the next stage of selection for each location will be dependent on the projected number of vacancies for that location.
Shortlisted applicants will be asked to complete some Hogan Tests prior to the interviews. Referees may also be checked at this stage.
All interviews will be conducted by a national interview committee at the College premises in Sydney on a single weekend in August.
The national interview committee will contain representatives from each State Faculty and may also contain health jurisdictional and consumer representatives.
There will be two panels of interviews. Panel one is a structured behaviourally based interview. Panel two focusses on the application form, referee reports or reports from other persons and medical scenarios. The interview is structured to establish the candidates’ degree of match with the selection criteria.
Candidates will participate in both interview panels. A short self-evaluation exercise is to be completed after panel two.
The College is looking for applicants who have demonstrated strong motivation to undertake dermatology and who demonstrate behavioural competencies that have been shown to lead to outstanding performance.
Integrity is vital to being a dermatologist and any of the work situations discussed is subject to external verification. Falsifying incidents or overstating your own role will lead to instant exclusion from further consideration.
At the end of the interview, each applicant will be given the opportunity to ask questions and to express an opinion as to whether he/she is satisfied with the selection and interview process. These responses will be recorded.
If a conflict of interest exists between a committee member and an applicant, then the committee member will declare this and absent himself/herself from the committee. In situations where there is some doubt as to whether a real conflict of interest exists, then the interview committee chairperson will make a decision as to whether that committee member should absent himself/herself from the committee.
Applicants interviewed for each Faculty location will be ranked according to their performance on the National Selection Process.
This ranked list is matched against their preferences and State Faculty representatives then consider the applicants for their state in relation to the number of positions available.
State Faculty chairs or their delegates will meet in conference to agree on the final offers of positions on Faculty training programs.
Applicants are notified of the status of their applications by the College.
A record of proceedings of both the Selection and Interview Committees will be kept for a minimum period of six years in accordance with the College’s information management policy.
Upon accepting the offer of a training position, a successful applicant will be expected to commence training the first Monday in February of the following academic year.
The commencement of training should not be delayed or deferred except in exceptional circumstances and unless specifically authorised by the College. See relevant policy on the website regarding deferment of studies.
If an applicant has been offered a position in the training program and, for whatever reason does not take up the offer and is not granted a formal deferment, the training position offer will then be withdrawn. Since each year is a new selection process with a new group of applicants all competing for a limited pool of positions, it cannot be assumed that having been offered a place in a previous year, they will automatically be successful in obtaining a place again. Applications from such candidates are considered equally to those of all other applicants.
The College participates in the trainee selection process, in cooperation with the relevant hospitals and/or health authorities. However, trainees are employed by hospitals or health authorities, not by the College. In some circumstances, including cuts in funding, a trainee position may cease to be available or be terminated.
Unfortunately, the College is not in a position to ensure that a trainee affected by a loss of his or her trainee position, for whatever reason, can be placed in another trainee position.
The College has a policy not to divulge feedback information. This is because each year’s selection process is self-contained. The group applying in one year is not the same as that applying the next. Equally, the number of positions varies from year to year. It is conceivable, therefore, for a person to just miss out on selection one year and, in the next year, miss the cut by a large margin. Giving an applicant information on their ranking in one year could lead to false expectations that selection would be certain in the following year. The College does provide information on the website of numbers selected each year and the number of times that applicants have applied. This is the best guidance that the College can provide to assist in an applicant’s decision as to whether to apply again.
Areas for Improvement
The College does not provide advice on areas for improvement for applicants wishing to re-apply.
The highly competitive nature of selection for dermatology means that while many applicants could successfully complete the training, many will miss out on a training position. Our best advice is to look at the areas concentrated on in selection and ensure those competencies are demonstrated in every day work life. Even given all this, there may always be stronger candidates amongst the applicants for a particular year.