What does a career as a medical specialist in Clinical Immunology and Allergy offer?
Clinical immunology/allergy specialists are all medical practitioners who are trained in adult or paediatric medicine to provide care for patients with a range of interesting and challenging diseases involving the immune system. The range of practice includes:
- Allergic diseases (food allergy, insect allergy, anaphylaxis, rhinitis and asthma)
- Autoimmune diseases (vasculitis and other connective tissue diseases)
- Immunodeficiency diseases (inherited and acquired, including transplantation immunology)
Training in immunology and allergy provides a unique and fascinatiing career for a specialist physician who is well equipped to embrace the health care developments brought about by immunological advances leading to personalised medicine. Due to the large increase in prevalence in allergic disease there is currently a shortage of community based clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand.
Training involves 2 core and 1 elective year in accredited positions located in Departments of clinical immunology and allergy in hospitals in Australia and New Zealand, with some opportunities for clinical trainees in private practice settings.
Participation in clinical research is encouraged as immunology/allergy is a strong and active research discipline in Australia and New Zealand.
Many trainees also undertake joint formal training in laboratory medicine (immunopathology).
Training for clinical and laboratory streams is supervised by a JCTC (Joint College Training Committee) for Immunology/Allergy advanced training, previously known as JSAC (Joint Specialist Advisory Committee) of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRACP FRCPA). This training provides the only pathway to specialist recognition of Clinical Immunology and Allergy training in Australia and New Zealand.
A career in clinical immunology and allergy is likely to involve work in:
- Private practice
- Hospital based medicine
- Diagnostic immunology
There are two training pathways in clinical immunology and allergy which can be undertaken by adult or paediatric physician trainees after successful completion of a medical degree, basic physician training and the FRACP clinical examination.
1. FRACP training in Clinical Immunology and Allergy
This is a three year training program in Clinical Immunology and Allergy leading to fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP). Completion of this program will enable an adult physician or paediatrician to practise as a clinical immunology/allergy specialist in a community private practice and/or hospital setting.
As a specialty society affiliated with the RACP, ASCIA supports the RACP "Working Together" policy for staff, trainees, fellows and associates. This policy outlines the expected code of conduct to support fair treatment for all, without bullying, discrimination or harassment. The policy is available on the RACP website: www.racp.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/working-together-policy.pdf?sfvrsn=2
2. Combined FRACP and FRCPA in Clinical Immunology, Allergy and Immunopathology
This is a four year training program which includes laboratory training in diagnostic Immunopathology leading to fellowship of both the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRACP FRCPA). This requires fulfillment of the RCPA requirements. On completion, the adult physician or paediatrician will be able to practice as a clinical immunology/allergy specialist and immunopathologist in a community private practice, hospital setting and/or diagnostic pathology laboratory (public or private).
Both training pathways can also include the option of pursuing a higher degree (e.g. PhD, MPH) during or following advanced training.
Further Information for basic physician trainees, medical graduates and students
A list of advanced training positions in immunology and allergy is available on the RACP website: www.racp.edu.au/docs/default-source/default-document-library/jct-immunology-and-allergy-accredited-sites.pdf?sfvrsn=4
This information is provided ASCIA, the peak professional body of clinical immunology and allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand. For information about ASCIA go to www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia
Content updated January 2018