How does someone choose their specialty?

Resident doctor - requirements, training, occupation

The assistant doctor is a doctor who has successfully completed and received a medical degree with a diploma.

What exactly is meant by an assistant doctor, what prerequisites for a career must be met, what activities he carries out and what he earns, is highlighted in the following article.


What is a resident doctor?

After completing their medical studies, the newly qualified doctors receive a degree as Dr. med. univ., short for Doctor medcinae universea. The first few years after graduation, the young doctors initially work as assistant doctors.

An assistant doctor is therefore a doctor working in a hospital who has successfully completed his medical studies. Resident doctors usually work as ward doctors. In this way, they get to know the practical processes in a hospital and work as a medical professional depending on a specialist. In the course of their work, they either decide to become a specialist, such as surgery, or they decide to train in general medicine.

Requirements for a career as an assistant doctor

First, prospective doctors have to complete their medical studies in order to pursue a career as an assistant doctor. In this context, future doctors have to pass several small exams as well as the diploma thesis at the end. A distinction is made between multiple formative integrated examinations (FIP), which serve as preparation for the actual SIP. The SIP are summative integrated examinations, i.e. annual examinations that occur five times over the semester.

After completing their studies, young doctors can work as assistant doctors and pursue further training as a specialist or training as a general practitioner.

The prerequisite for studying medicine is in turn the completion of a recognized school leaving examination - the Matura. In Austria, however, the average of the Matura is not the main criterion for whether one can later study medicine. In addition, all study place candidates have the same chance, as practical experience already gained is not included in the calculation.

But even without a high school diploma, prospective applicants have the option of taking a university entrance examination. To do this, however, you must have reached the age of 20 and prove that (extra) vocational qualifications are available for studying human medicine. Once you have passed the university entrance qualification test, you will be granted the right to participate in the selection process.

Then online registration takes place on the website for the admission procedure in Austria, MedAt. After paying the participation fee and taking part in the test in spring, you will be notified in summer whether you have passed the test and received one of the coveted approvals.

It is also relevant that when registering online for the test, you have to specify the quota for the secondary school leaving certificate. Accordingly, Austria allocates 75% of the study places to candidates with Austrian school-leaving certificates, while the remaining 25% are allocated to foreign applicants.

The MedAt entrance test was introduced in 2013 due to the large number of candidates. Other universities, such as in Salzburg and the Sigmund Freud Private University Vienna (SFU), on the other hand, have two or three-stage application processes, as a result of which written tests and job interviews come into play.

Medical studies in Austria

The structure of medical studies in Austria corresponds to the Bologna model. The standard period of study is 6 years. Depending on the (private) university at which you want to study medicine, the structure of the course, the processes and the focus may vary. A distinction is made between a bachelor-master system and a medical degree as a diploma.

The Bachelor-Master course lasts a total of 12 semesters and is divided into 6 semesters for the Bachelor and 6 semesters for the Master. As part of the bachelor's degree, you also receive a broad and high-quality basic training.

In addition to medical specialist knowledge, the Bachelor of Medicine teaches ethical basics, communicative skills and fundamental practical medical competencies. For this purpose, cognitive and practical skills should also be learned.

Part of the course content in the Bachelor is therefore:

  • General medicine
  • Anatomy and terminology
  • Medical skills and abilities
  • Diagnostic methods
  • Gender medicine
  • Health system
  • Disease Doctrine and Therapeutic Approach
  • Scientific basics
  • physiology
  • Scientific work in medicine

The master’s degree in human medicine also differs in structure, depending on the university at which it is being studied. In general, you deepen the knowledge you have learned. In addition, you get a broader subject-specific knowledge, since you can choose electives such as surgery, psychology or emergency medicine in the master’s.

In addition, the 11th and 12th semester, i.e. the last part of the course, includes the clinical practical year (CPY). In this context, future doctors should learn to put their theoretical skills into practice.

Some universities offer to complete the course as a “complete package” diploma. In the course of this, you study for 12 semesters at a time. The diploma course also includes three study sections.

Resident physician Profession: activities and tasks

After completing their medical studies, young physicians are automatically assistant doctors, provided they apply for a suitable clinical activity.

Just like the medical profession, the resident doctor's activity is diverse and goes hand in hand with multifaceted tasks, which are set out here:

  • Patient care on the ward: Resident doctors are the first point of contact and caregivers for patients. This includes rounds, prescribing medication, or taking blood samples.
  • Educating patients about the consequences and risks of treatments
  • Documentation of treatment processes and examination results
  • Preparation of applications and reports
  • Carrying out medical examinations (admission examinations)
  • Performing medical interventions under the supervision and guidance of a senior physician and documenting them

In contrast to a specialist doctor, however, assistant doctors are restricted in their rights and areas of responsibility. Because the young doctors are instructed by a senior physician, sometimes even by a chief physician. In the event of questions and problems, they are the first point of contact and are also responsible for the actions of the assistant physicians within the areas of responsibility of the respective chief or senior physician.

Resident doctor training: doctor in further training

A resident doctor is often referred to as a "doctor in further training" because he is in further training to become a specialist. Since June 1st, 2015, every prospective doctor has to complete a 9-month basic training regardless of the further training path. In the course of this, surgical, conservative and emergency medicine subjects are dealt with, in which young doctors should gain practical experience.

The specialist training

Afterwards, young doctors who want to complete a specialist training must go to the specialty basic training (SFG). The duration depends on the subject. The special subject specialization training (SFS) is then provided, whereby the duration is also related to the chosen subject. The varying duration is based on technical and medical reasons.

In the subject of internal medicine, for example, the special basic training lasts 27 months. Young physicians must spend the remaining 36 months in the field of general internal medicine or in an internal focus such as rheumatology or cardiology.

With regard to the surgical subjects, the basic specialty training is 15 to 36 months. The specialty training course lasts 27 to 48 months, depending on the chosen focus. The focus training can also be carried out in areas such as neurosurgery or thoracic surgery.

It is also worth mentioning that the nine-month basic training in anatomy is omitted, as you start directly with the basic training. In general, there are seven modules for the majority of the subjects, from which you can choose three. However, there is only one compulsory module in one or the other subject.

Training as a general practitioner

If you want to work in general medicine, after the basic training, as an alternative to specialist training, 27 months of further training in the hospital as a "hospital cycle doctor" are provided. After one year you can already work in a teaching practice.

All in all, new doctors have to reckon with a duration of 42 months if they want to complete their training to become a general practitioner. Compulsory training in general medicine must also take place after the hospital cycle.

A six-month activity with a general practitioner, in a teaching outpatient clinic or in a teaching group practice is provided. After passing the General Practitioner Exam, young doctors have the right to practice. Accordingly, after about three years of training, you will receive the jus practicandi. In return, the duration of specialist training is around 6 years.

But the regular doctor is not just an activity for medical professionals who would like to become a general practitioner. Since the specialist positions are subject to a limitation, young doctors often bridge the period up to the beginning of the specialist training with a rotation.

The merit as an assistant doctor

The assistant doctor salary varies depending on the federal state, as the tariffs differ. Additional variables here are night and weekend shifts, risk allowances, overtime allowances and assistant doctor or surgery allowances.

It has been in effect since the beginning of 2015 that you are not allowed to go beyond the 48 hours per week including overtime. But there is an exception in the university clinics where you can work significantly more with written consent (opt-out). During this time you can earn up to 70% of the basic salary, if you add weekend and night shifts.

In general, however, there are numerous factors that influence the assistant doctor's salary in Austria. For this reason, examples can only be given as examples. In Carinthia, for example, the starting salary of an assistant doctor for 48 hours a week including four night shifts, including one night shift at the weekend, is € 4,590.

In Upper Austria, an assistant doctor earns € 3,334 for 48 hours a week without night shifts, in Styria € 3,119. In contrast to this, a basic salary as an assistant doctor in Tyrol amounts to 40 hours a week with an optional time compensation regulation and an overtime flat rate of € 4,116.

Application and start of career as an assistant doctor

Before you apply for any position, you should be clear about your ideas about an assistant doctor position. Would you like to work in a communal clinic? Or rather in a university hospital?

If you have found a position that could fit, a complete and meaningful application is also elementary. First you should identify the contact person, if he or she is not advertised.

Thus, the cover letter looks more personal if you can identify who is responsible. In addition, you can use this to attract attention by preparing a few questions about the position that you ask during a phone call.

Then you should collect these documents in an application folder:

  • A cover letter or cover letter
  • Resume with the most relevant information
  • Copies of certificates and the completed diploma

What you should also pay attention to in a successful application is described in detail in the article The perfect application: Tips and tricks for doctors.

Find internship jobs

Suitable job offers for interns can be found at PraktArzt. Numerous assistant doctor positions in Austria are listed there.

Click here to go directly to suitable ones Resident doctor vacancies.