Surgery as a career

Surgery as a career iconAs you start your early medical career, it’s important you consider what your future area of clinical practice might be.

Using the JDocs Framework and resources as you progress through your first few years in the workplace will expose you to the relevant knowledge and skills that should be achieved during the initial postgraduate years (PGY1–3).


How do I become a surgeon?

To become a surgeon, you must first complete a medical degree and then work and train in a clinical setting – usually a hospital – for one to two years. The earliest point you can apply to enter the College’s Surgical Education and Training (SET) program is during your second postgraduate year (PGY2) after university.

Selection requirements

If your application to enter SET is successful (see the College's selection requirements for further information), you will train in one of the following nine surgical specialties:

This training occurs primarily in public hospitals and generally takes five to six years. Following successful completion of the SET, you will eligible to apply to sit the Fellowship examination.  Following successful completion of the Fellowship examination, you will become a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) and will be accredited to practise independently as a consultant surgeon.

Subscription to the JDocs portfolio will enable you to access educational resources, aligned to the JDocs Framework and document your medical career in readiness for application SET. You will also have access to SET mandatory resources.  General Surgery also offers subscription to their website for prevocational doctors interested in a career in general surgery.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are underrepresented both in the health workforce and as Fellows and Trainees of the College. The College’s Indigenous Health Committee is working with the Australian Indigenous Doctors' Association and the Māori Medical Practitioners Association of Aotearoa to implement its plan to promote surgery as a career to Indigenous communities. For more information about the College’s Closing the Gap initiatives, please take a look at the activities of the Indigenous Health Committee.

Further information about the steps to take when starting a surgical career, as well as what to expect before, during and after training, can be found on the College’s website.

Surgical News

Surgical News is the monthly publication of the College that includes articles of interest in surgery, news about College events and courses, features on surgical subjects, Fellows and current research activities and news on the College's overseas programs.


SurgWiki - a free surgical resource. There is no subscription and no sign up required to read SurgWiki.