How to Become a Medical Doctor in Ireland (8 Steps)

Ireland, officially the Republic of Ireland is an island country in North-Western Europe, occupying over 85% of the entire island of Ireland. It is famous for its alcoholic beverages, high quality of food, and deep-lying tradition and culture that is celebrated all over the world on St. Patrick’s Day.

Ireland is also one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the world, and its economy is only continuing to grow. This has made Ireland an ideal destination for expats who want to continue their life in one of the most prosperous countries. In this article, we will go over what it takes to become a medical doctor in Ireland.

Helpful Posts

Related Scholarships

1. Learning English to become a doctor in Ireland

While Irish is the national language of the Republic of Ireland, only around 40% of the population consider themselves fluent in Irish, and the predominant language in the country is English, which is used in government, schools, and all other institutions and everyday life. English is among the most spoken languages in the world, and chances are that if you are reading this article, you already have a solid grasp of the language.

When it comes to the language requirements for doctors, they will, of course, be required to be able to effectively communicate with colleagues and patients, as well as be able to read and write. They will be asked to provide proof of their English knowledge, which can be done through having passed the IELTS exam, or another equivalent English language test. Doctors who completed their medical training in Ireland or another English-speaking country automatically qualify to become doctors in Ireland.

2. Study Medicine in Ireland

Studying medicine in Ireland will certainly improve your chances of becoming a doctor in Ireland, but there are many other reasons why it would be a great option. First, Irish universities are among the most heavily funded institutions in the country, as Ireland is trying to further improve their education system. Medicine has risen as a top subject for students, especially for international ones, for reasons such as the high quality of education and the fact that you don’t need to spend years learning a more challenging language.

The entry requirements vary from university to university, but the basic qualifications are a high school diploma and proof of your English language competence. In addition to this, you will also need to take the HPAT test, which tests your logical, problem solving, and communication skills. You can find more info on it here. Medical courses last for a period of 4 to 6 years, depending on your chosen field.

3. Pass the Medical Exams

To be able to register with the Irish Medical Council, which is the final step to getting a license to work as a medical doctor in Ireland, foreign-trained doctors need to fulfill a few requirements. While EU/EEA-trained doctors can easily apply online, the process for a doctor trained outside the EU/EEA, is a little more complicated, as they will first need to have their medical degree verified by the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC), as well as pass a pre-registration exam before they can register with the Medical Council. This exam is called the PRES exam, and you can read more on it here. Doctors who have completed a 12-month residency or 3-year training program, as well as doctors who obtained a Certificate of Experience from a few partner countries are exempt from taking the PRES exam.

4. Do the Residency requirements

A 12-month residency is required for all doctors who want to practice in Ireland. Graduates from Irish medical universities who hold a EU passport are guaranteed a residency position immediately after graduating, but for others, there is no guarantee that a residency spot will be available and the number of spots varies from year to year. Alternatively, since Ireland is a part of the EU, students can complete their residency in any one of the other member states, but the language barrier makes it a little difficult.

5. Get the Medical License

All aspiring doctors who want to work in the Republic of Ireland have to register with the Irish Medical Council. Upon registration, you are free to start looking for a job, If you graduated from an EU/EEA member nation, you can easily apply online through the Medical Council website, and you will be required to provide documents such as your passport, medical degree, certificate of good standing, etc.

For doctors trained outside the EU/EEA, there are a few additional requirements that are described in more detail in the previous section of this article.

6. Get a Work Visa

To be able to move and start working as a doctor in Ireland, you need a work permit which comes in the form of the typical work visa. Being registered with the Irish Medical Council is a must if you want to obtain this visa, as well as a letter of employment from an Ireland based medical establishment. These documents, along with your passport, need to be presented at your local Irish embassy, where the entire visa process is handled. If there is no Irish Embassy in your country, you can send the documents via mail, while also stating where you can collect your visa upon its approval.

7. Finding hospitals to work as a doctor in Ireland

The Irish healthcare system heavily relies on foreign-trained doctors, as around 42% of doctors in the country come from overseas, making it the 3rd highest in the world. This means that there is no shortage of jobs at Irish hospitals, and foreign-trained doctors should have no trouble finding one. There are plenty of online resources and job portals that post jobs in the medical field on a daily basis, meaning that your hospital position in Ireland can be just a Google search away.

Starting your own practice is also very easy and doable, but requires significant funding, and a carefully designed business plan. Starting a private practice is best after first working and gaining experience in a hospital.

8. Procedures for foreign-trained people to become a doctor in Ireland

As previously stated, foreign-trained doctors are very commonly found across Irish hospitals, and the procedure to become one is not too complicated. The process for doctors trained in other member states of the EU/EEA is the easiest, as the only thing they need to do is register with the Irish Medical Council and provide proof of their English language proficiency.

For non-EU/EEA trained doctors, the process is a little more complicated, but still very doable. They will first need to have their degree approved through the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials. After that is done, they need to either provide proof of completion of either a 12-month residency or 3-year training programme. If they have neither, they are required to take and pass a pre-registration exam, after which they can register with the Medical Council. and start the process of obtaining a work visa, which is the final step in their journey towards working in Ireland as a doctor.


I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.