Psychiatry training program

Are you looking for a training program that offers you:

  • interesting placements
  • ongoing academic and exam support
  • work in a city with easy commutes, good schools and lots of access to nature and outdoor spaces?

If so, welcome to the Canberra Health Services Psychiatry Training Program.

We are a medium sized training program with 39 trainees, you will be in a smaller cohort of registrars and won’t be lost in the crowd.

Despite our size, we offer big opportunities. We can offer you advanced certificate training in several subspecialty areas and academic training pathways through the ANU Medical School. If you need flexible work arrangements, we can usually offer part-time training after the first year.

You will be enrolled in our free, high quality psychiatry education program, run by local clinicians and academics. You will receive protected time for training and study. You will receive exam preparation support and help and supervision to complete the scholarly project research component of the psychiatry training program.

Working for us

In your first year you will be working in an acute adult psychiatry post either at Canberra Hospital, Calvary Hospital or the University of Canberra Hospital.

In your second and third year you will experience subspecialty training in Child and Adolescent and Consultation Liaison psychiatry rotations, as well as elective rotations in Psychiatry of Old Age, Addictions Psychiatry or Adult Psychiatry. You will join a psychotherapy supervision group and start your long-term therapy case.

In your fourth and fifth year you may choose to pursue a subspecialty certificate, or the academic post at the Australian National University Medical School, or further your psychiatric interests in elective terms.

You will change teams every six months. The following training posts are available in Canberra:

  • Acute adult psychiatry in a range of settings: Canberra Hospital, Calvary Hospital and home and community-based settings
  • Inpatient and community-based child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Inpatient and community-based psychiatry of old age
  • Addictions psychiatry
  • Aboriginal health at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services
  • Perinatal psychiatry
  • Psychiatric rehabilitation at University of Canberra Hospital
  • Private psychiatry at Hyson Green Mental Health and Calvary Bruce Private Hospital
  • Forensic psychiatry at Dhulwa Mental Health Unit and Alexander Maconochie Centre
  • Academic psychiatry and research at the ANU Medical School
  • Consultation liaison psychiatry at Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital

At this stage we do not have any rural psychiatry training posts or interstate training sites.

You can read more about training as a psychiatrist on the RANZCP website.

Advanced certificate training

In your fourth and fifth year of psychiatry training, you may choose to undertake advanced certificate training in one of the following areas:

  • Child and adolescent psychiatry
  • Psychiatry of old age
  • Psychotherapy
  • Adult psychiatry
  • Consultation liaison psychiatry: advanced certificate training may be undertaken as part of the academic psychiatry post.

Forensic psychiatry training is under development and expected to be up and running soon.

You can read more about advanced certificate training on the RANZCP website.

Academic and exam support

All trainees attend a half day per week teaching program, which includes a case conference, two hours of lectures or workshops, and a journal club. There are separate stage 1 (first year), stage 2 (second and third year), and stage 3 (fourth and fifth year) programs. Teaching is offered by videoconference or in person.

The weekly journal club is moderated by Professor Scott Henderson from the Australian National University. Professor Henderson also gives support and mentorship with the Scholarly Project. Academic skills such as research and statistical skills are taught within the training program by staff from the Australian National University Medical School.

Exam preparation sessions are offered to all trainees.

Unlike some other training schemes, your half-day per week quarantined teaching time is not deducted from your annual study leave allowance. You will have access to a generous conference, textbook and study allowance, currently $3,346.00 per annum.

We also offer other professional development allowances for staff. If you’d like to find out more, contact us at

You can read more about psychiatry exams and assessments on the RANZCP website.

Psychotherapy training

All trainees are enrolled in a small psychotherapy supervision group in their second year. The groups are facilitated by specialist psychiatrist psychotherapists, who will help you to complete your 40-session psychotherapy case.

Trainees who wish to pursue psychotherapy as a specialty interest can apply for the advanced certificate training in psychotherapy in stage 3 (year 4 and 5).

How to apply

If you’re interested in applying for the program, you will need to:

  1. Apply and secure a job with Canberra Health Services
  2. Be accepted into the training program by the ACT RANZCP Branch Training Committee.

Usually you will be interviewed for both your job and the training position simultaneously.

Applying for a job with Canberra Health Services

First year psychiatry registrars begin their training in February. These positions are usually advertised in June, with interviews conducted in September. Check the Canberra Health Services careers page from June onwards for Medical Officer vacancies.

There may be further rounds of recruitment throughout the year in which you might consider applying if you are looking for an unaccredited position or, are already a trainee elsewhere seeking to transfer to the Canberra training program.

Applying to the ACT RANZCP Branch Training Committee to join the psychiatry training program

Complete the form ‘Application to commence training in psychiatry’, found on the RANZCP website, and email with associated documents to, addressed to the Chair of the ACT RANZCP Branch Training Committee.

Referee report forms can be provided on request, for referees to complete and send directly to


Applicants must have general registration with AHPRA in order to apply for psychiatry training. If you are in your first post-graduate year, and have provisional registration with AHPRA, you may apply during your PGY1 year in order to begin training once general registration is received. The Director of Psychiatry Training is happy to talk to prospective trainees who are in their first post-graduate year about the advisability or otherwise of a second year of post-graduate general medicine before starting psychiatry training.

If you are seeking to obtain general registration with AHPRA in Australia, please visit the Australian Medical Council website and AHPRA website for more information.

If you are already training in psychiatry in another part of Australia or New Zealand and wish to transfer to Canberra, please get in touch with the Director of Psychiatry Training Dr Philip Keightley at

You can read more about selection of trainees on the RANZCP website.

Meet our trainees


‘I chose a career in psychiatry as I feel it rewards my natural curiosity of why a patient presents to you at a certain time, in a certain way.’

‘I’m really enjoying psychiatry as the focus is always on the ‘person’ rather than "the patient" and trying to understand what may affect their health and wellbeing, such as physical, psychological as well as social and cultural factors.’

‘The teaching program has been a satisfying experience for me, I’m grateful I’ve got a very supportive network. I have a young daughter and at times it has been challenging to find a work-study-life balance, so I’m currently working part time which I’ve been supported with.’



‘It can be difficult walking in and meeting someone for the first time and getting them to open up to you. Although it’s hard, it’s also really rewarding when you can create a genuine connection and help them.’

‘I love that I get to try and understand what it’s like to be someone, and then figure out what I can do to support them.’

‘Psychiatry is really a huge world, I’ve been able to help small children all the way through to geriatric patients… and everyone in between.’



‘I did four weeks at the Adult Mental Health Unit and that completely changed my opinion about how you can do medicine, in terms of the holistic approach to caring for families.’

‘I was previously practising dentistry and I think one day I would love to open a dental clinic that caters for psychiatric patients.’

Ava loves how community outcomes can be largely improved from the result of mental health treatment.

‘There’s one particular patient I’ll never forget. They had a fantastic recovery from a life-threatening psychiatric illness. It was a really wonderful thing to help change someone’s life.’

Page last updated on: 8 Feb 2021