Specialist Training Program

The Specialist Training Program (STP) seeks to extend vocational training for specialist registrars into settings outside traditional metropolitan teaching hospitals, including regional, rural and remote and private facilities. The program aims to improve the quality of the future specialist workforce by providing registrars with exposure to a broader range of healthcare settings. STP also aims to have a positive influence on future workforce distribution.

Page last updated: 10 August 2020


From 1 January 2010 the STP became the single Commonwealth grants support program for specialist training.

The Specialist Training Program funded under the Health Workforce Program fund - Annexure A2 – Medical Training includes three complementary streams:

  • Specialist Training Placements and Support;
  • Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) – Specialist Training Program; and
  • Tasmanian Project

The aims and objectives of the STP are to:

  1. enhance the capacity of the health care sector to provide high quality, appropriate training opportunities to facilitate the required educational experiences for specialists in training;
  2. support quality training posts that build the overall training capacity in the system, by extending specialist training into new “expanded” healthcare settings; and
  3. contribute to improving medical workforce distribution.

From 2018 the STP will be delivered through thirteen (13) specialist medical colleges under funding agreements with the department. The colleges are:

  • Australasian College of Dermatologists (ACD);
  • Australasian College for Emergency Medicine (ACEM);
  • Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians (ACSEP);
  • Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA);
  • College of Intensive Care Medicine (CICM);
  • Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators (RACMA);
  • Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP);
  • Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS);
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG);
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO);
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP);
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR); and
  • Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA).

The number of specialist training places funded by the STP from 2010 to 2019 is:





2014 - 2016












*Inclusive of 100 IRTP placements and emergency medicine training posts.

**Specialist training places were reduced in 2019 as per the outcome of the STP Review

In addition to establishing specialist training posts, the program also provides funds for a range of support activities, including developing system wide education and infrastructure support projects to enhance training opportunities for eligible trainees.

The STP Operational Framework outlines the aims, objectives, outcome parameters and governance of the program as well as updated information on funding activities and earlier application rounds.

Expressions of Interest (EOI) processes are held by the department approximately every two years. If you are interested in participating under the STP please contact your relevant specialist medical college to register your interest. The colleges will be informed first of upcoming EOI processes.

Review of the Specialist Training Program and Emergency Medicine Program

In 2015 the Government announced the Review of the Specialist Training Program (STP) and Emergency Medicine Program (EMP) through a process of consultation with specialist medical colleges and other stakeholders. The Review has now been completed by the department and is available:

The Government has accepted the recommendations of the review and decided to continue its investment into the STP with funding being provided to specialist medical colleges until 2020.

Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) Initiative – STP

The government announced the IRTP on 15 December 2015, in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. The initiative, at a cost of $93.8 million (GST exclusive) over four years, will contribute to building a sustainable Australia-trained future medical workforce for regional, rural and remote communities.

The IRTP has three components:

Twenty-six regional training hubs have been established under the IRTP to work with local health services to help stream students through the medical training pipeline. A regional training hub is a team of people at an established Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program location, dedicated to integrating medical training opportunities for medical students, junior doctors and specialists trainees within their catchment area.

Fifty posts were allocated for 2017 (through 10 colleges) with the remaining 50 allocated in 2018. These new rural places increased the total number of ongoing STP places to 1,057 by 2019.

Flexible Approach to Training in Expanded Settings (FATES)

As part of the 2021-22 Federal Budget delivered on 11 May 2021, the Australian Government announced the establishment of the FATES measure, an innovative funding pool for non-GP specialist training (the funding pool).

The FATES funding pool will support new activities and innovation in specialist medical training targeting identified barriers to expanded setting training, with a particular focus on rural, regional and remote training. The fund will be formed by redirecting funding under the Specialist Training Program (STP) and will commence 1 January 2022.

A factsheet with more information about FATES has been released.

Flexible Approach to Training in Expanded Settings (PDF 119 KB)
Flexible Approach to Training in Expanded Settings (Word 86 KB)

Specialist Training Program COVID-19 Update

A communiqué which provides an update on COVID-19 as it impacts specialist medical training supported through the Specialist Training Program (STP) and outlines steps the Department is taking to consult with the sector and respond to emerging issues has been released.

Specialist Training Program COVID-19 Update communiqué (PDF 423 KB)
Specialist Training Program COVID-19 Update communiqué (Word 18 KB)

Rural Medical Specialist Training Summit – 19 November 2018

A Rural Medical Specialist Training Summit was held in Sydney on the 19 November 2018. The summit brought together key stakeholder groups to discuss approaches to increase the number of non-GP medical specialists working in regional Australia, including how to work together to improve opportunities for more quality, regionally-based medical specialist training that better matches community need.

The summit was attended by around 50 representatives from the Commonwealth, states and territories, universities, medical specialist colleges, the Australian Medical Association, regulators and rural medical educators. A range of areas were examined including developing more flexibility in college accreditation systems; selecting the right trainees and making their rural training experience a positive one; and providing clear rural pathways to specialist qualification.

A communiqué which summarises the important issues discussed at the summit has been released.

Rural Medical Specialist Training Summit Communique (PDF 136 KB)
Rural Medical Specialist Training Summit Communique (Word 141 KB)

More information

Specialist College Presidents and CEOs Contact Details
Note: this contact list is for the specialist medical colleges currently funded under the STP, EMP and IRTP.

If you have are interested in becoming a specialist trainee, please contact the relevant specialist college found on the Department of Health web page.

For further information about the STP, IRTP or FATES email Postgraduate.Training@health.gov.au.