Recognition of Prior Learning


1. Recognition of Prior Learning Policy 

1.1 Policy number: CO-E-005.0

1.2 Category: Education

1.3 Approval date: November 2015

1.4 Revision due date: November 2018

1.5 Unit responsible: Education Services

1.6 Policy declaration


2. Policy declaration

Registrars may apply to have some of their previous training in a hospital or community posts recognised as credit towards the requirements of the Vocational Training Pathway.

This policy is approved by Council and authorised by the CEO.


3. Background

3.1 Objectives

The objectives of this policy are to:

a. detail the eligibility requirements for submitting an application for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

b. explain the principles that guide assessment of RPL applications

3.2 Scope

This policy applies to Registrars in the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) program and the Remote Vocational Training Scheme (RVTS).


4. Definitions

For the purposes of this policy:

  1. ACEM means the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine.
  2. Censor means a member of the RACGP Board of Censors with responsibilities for determining compliance with standards and assessment requirements.
  3. Community post means an RACGP approved non-hospital clinical post.
  4. Emergency Medicine Levels 1-4 refer to the delineation of emergency departments by the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM).
  5. Extended skills training is a six-month post undertaken for the purpose of extending the depth and breadth of the Registrar's skill base in areas relevant to primary medical care.
  6. Hospital post means any post which is under the jurisdiction of a hospital.
  7. GPT1 means a General Practice Training first rotation in an RACGP accredited comprehensive Australian general practice.
  8. Lead medical educator(LME) is the designation used to describe the clinical education lead at a vocational training provider.
  9. Registrar means a medical practitioner who is enrolled in the Vocational Training Pathway.


5. General principles

5.1 Eligibility requirements

Registrars must have completed either a minimum of twelve months of hospital post General Registration or a minimum of two years in total of Australian or New Zealand accredited hospitals by the start of GPT1 in order to be eligible to apply for RPL. This time can include hospital work done prior to entry to AGPT and hospital terms done as a registrar on the AGPT program.

5.2 Assessment of RPL

5.2.1 The RPL application process is detailed in RACGP's Applying for Recognition of Prior Learning Guidance Document.

5.2.2 Applications for RPL must first be assessed and approved by the Director of Training at the Registrar's vocational training provider and then submitted to the relevant RACGP Censor for assessment.

5.2.3 Registrars may apply for recognition of:

a. a minimum of three months and a maximum of one year hospital training (community posts may be considered if supported by the state Censor)

b. a maximum of six months in any one discipline.

Registrars who can demonstrate diverse clinical experience in a range of Emergency Medicine settings may be eligible to apply for more than 26 weeks of Emergency Medicine, to a maximum of 26 weeks FTE in any of the four Emergency Medicine subgroups (as per the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM) classification):

a. Level 1 – Rural Emergency Services

b. Level 2 – Major Regional/Rural Base Emergency Department

c. Level 3 – Urban District Emergency Department

d. Level 4 – Major Referral Emergency Department.

For more information, see the ACEM Statement of Delineation of Emergency Departments. For examples of hospitals from each subgroup, see ACEM Accredited Emergency Departments.

5.2.4 Registrars must be able to demonstrate that the training in their RPL application:

a. was relevant to the specialty of general practice

b. included relevant educational activities and formative assessment processes.

5.2.5 Registrars applying to have hospital or community posts recognised that were undertaken more than five years prior to applying for RPL must provide additional evidence demonstrating that they have maintained the knowledge and skills acquired in the post. Only posts undertaken in the ten years prior to the application for RPL being received by the RACGP will be assessed

5.2.6 Registrars must provide current, full and verifiable information in their application as detailed in RACGP's Applying for Recognition of Prior Learning Guidance Document. The RACGP will take reasonable steps to verify the information provided. Submission of plagiarised, false or misleading information will be handled as per the Educational Misconduct Policy.

5.3 RPL outcomes

5.3.1 RPL may be granted for:

a. One year of hospital rotations post Postgraduate Year 1 (PGY1) or intern year (see clause 5.2a of the Vocational Training Pathway – Requirements for Fellowship Policy). Registrars who have extensive hospital experience with adequate breadth and recency, and terms completed prior to the date of general registration, may be considered for RPL;

b. Six months extended skills training (see clause 5.2c of the Vocational Training Pathway – Requirements for Fellowship Policy); or

c. Combined hospital rotations and extended skills posts up to a maximum of one year.

5.3.2 RPL with time credit may contribute up to one year to the two years training required for examination eligibility, as detailed in clause 6 and 7 of the Vocational Training Pathway – Examination Eligibility Policy.

5.3.3 Registrars who are assessed as not having achieved appropriate credit towards completion of the hospital year must complete this Fellowship requirement through completion of further hospital experience or community based posts. Up to three months of the hospital year can be undertaken in general practice posts, at the discretion of the RACGP Censor. These posts can be undertaken at any stage of training.

5.3.4 Once submitted, RPL outcomes may not be amended, augmented or revoked.

5.3.5 RPL applications must be submitted to the RACGP by the end of GPT1. For more information, please see the Applying for Recognition of Prior Learning Guidance Document.


6. Related policies, documents and legislation

All policies and guidance documents related to the Vocational Training Pathway are available on our policy page


7. Administrative procedures

7.1 Access to published policy

This policy will be available via the RACGP website as detailed in clause 6.

7.2 Promulgation of published policy

Relevant staff members will be provided communications explaining the function and role of this policy.

7.3 Review of this policy

This policy will have a review cycle of three years.