Area of Need positions

Area of Need (AoN) positions are declared by Australian state or territory governments in locations where there is a shortage of medical specialists. 

Specialist international medical graduates (SIMGs) who wish to work in an AoN/Specialist position must identify a position for which an employer considers them suitable and gain an offer of employment for that position.


They must then:

  • undergo specialist assessment by the RANZCP, and be assessed as Substantially Comparable (candidates with a Partially Comparable or Not Comparable outcome are not eligible)
  • undergo an AoN assessment by the RANZCP, and be found to have the necessary skills to work competently and safely as a consultant psychiatrist in the designated AoN position.

Only SIMGs who meet the above criteria will be supported by the College for an AoN position.

Specialist assessment and AoN assessment can be applied for and will be assessed concurrently. More information is available on the Applying for specialist assessment page.

Applicants can refer to the Medical Board of Australia’s Area of Need page for further information on Area of Need requirements.

A SIMG who is approved for an AoN position is only permitted to work in that specific AoN position. If the position description changes, or the SIMG wishes to move to another AoN position, a new AoN application must be submitted to the College with the required supporting documents and application fee.

See Area of Need Application Form [PDF; 550 KB]

Applying for an Area of Need position as an existing candidate

Partially Comparable candidates

As of 1 June 2015, Partially Comparable candidates will not be eligible for AoN/Specialist positions. This means that Partial Comparability Placement candidates who are already in AoN positions will not be eligible to move to other AoN positions. 

Existing Partially Comparable candidates who wish to apply for a new AoN position must be re-assessed with a Substantially Comparable outcome in order to be eligible to apply for a new AoN position.

Information on applying concurrently for specialist assessment and AoN assessment is available on the Applying for specialist assessment page.

Substantially Comparable candidates

Candidates who are on the Substantial Comparability Placement and are in an AoN position are expected to remain in that same position for the term of their placement. Changes to the position of an existing Substantial Comparability Placement candidate in an AoN position will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

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