Medical education and training in Australia comprises four phases: basic education, prevocational training, vocational training and continuing professional development.
Between the 1860s and 1960s, eight medical schools were established in Australia, admitting school leavers to courses comprised of preclinical, paraclinical and clinical phases.
Between the 1970s and the 1990s, two innovative new schools were established and all schools made major reforms to student selection, curricula and teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Since 2000, student numbers expanded rapidly, both in existing medical schools and in eight new schools established to meet workforce demands, particularly in the rural sector.
Prevocational training, first introduced as a compulsory internship year in the 1930s, has undergone reform and extension to subsequent years of junior doctor training through the agency of health departments and postgraduate medical education councils.
Vocational training and continuing professional development, delivered by 15 specialist medical colleges, has evolved since the 1930s from a focus on specialist care of individual patients to include broader professional attributes required to manage complex health care systems.
The Australian Medical Council began accreditation of basic medical education in 1985 and its remit now extends to all phases of medical education and training.
With national governance of the entire system of medical education and training now achieved, mechanisms exist for flexible integration of all phases of medical education to meet the local and global challenges facing Australia's medical workforce.