A career in Clinical Immunology and Allergy
Clinical immunology/allergy specialists are medical practitioners who are trained in adult and/or paediatric medicine to provide care for patients with a range of immune system disorders, including:
- Allergic diseases (e.g. food allergy, insect allergy, drug allergy, anaphylaxis, allergic rhinitis, eczema, asthma)
- Autoimmune diseases (e.g. vasculitis and other connective tissue diseases)
- Immunodeficiencies (e.g. primary, acquired, transplantation)
Training in clinical immunology and allergy provides a unique and fascinating career for a specialist physician who is well equipped to embrace the health care developments brought about by immunological advances leading to personalised medicine.
A career as a clinical immunology/allergy specialist is likely to involve work in:
- Private practice - 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
- Hospital based medicine - in regions where positions are available, this may be combined with work in private practice and/or research
- Research - participation in clinical research is encouraged as immunology/allergy is a strong and active research discipline in Australia and New Zealand.
- Diagnostic immunology - for trainees who 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.
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. Both training pathways can also include the option of pursuing a higher degree (e.g. PhD, MPH) during or following advanced training.
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.
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).
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
Content updated November 2018