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

Singapore has one of the highest quality of life indicators in the world and a dedicated amount of money spent on research and medical care. Although there are only three medical schools in the country, doctors are held in high regard and, as the population grows, so does demand for medical professionals that are well-trained and competent. In this article, we will be going over how to become a medical doctor in Singapore.

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1. English Proficiency requirements in Singapore

In order to become a medical doctor in Singapore, the easiest way is to study in one of its medical universities. Either to enter university or to practice as a doctor in Singapore afterwards (assuming you get your degree abroad and come to settle in Singapore), you will need to be fluent in English and also speak Malay, Singapore’s official language.

However, the National University of Singapore, the Nanyang Technological University, and the Duke-NUS Medical School programs are taught in English. If this is not your native language, you’ll be required to submit proof of your language level, otherwise, you can simply apply to university with your high school records as explained below.

2. Study medicine in Singapore if possible

Singapore is known all over the world for its excellent research facilities and it’s a great idea to study medicine in Singapore if you are planning to become a doctor in Singapore. Both for the experience of studying and for the easier integration in the system in Singapore, it’s recommended that you apply to a medical university in the country. There are three medical schools: Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University, and the Duke-NUS Medical School.

Admission to the medical schools of Singapore is based on your high school GPA for the first two, and you would be required to have studied Chemistry, Biology, and Physics, or to have an International Baccalaureate in these subjects. In the first two universities, the program to become a doctor is an MBBS – Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Science, and it takes five years to graduate.

However, if you choose to attend the Duke-NUS Medical School, you will be enrolling in an American style of institution where you’ll have to have obtained a bachelor’s degree before applying, take the MCAT admissions test, and then go through a three-year MD training program. The advantage of the Duke-NUS school is the international recognition of the degree, so it may be better suited for those who are not looking to work as doctors in Singapore.

3. Required tests and residency

The Singapore Medical Council requires all medical school graduates to complete a housemanship after being awarded the medical degree. Once this is completed, you will need to register at SMC and seek employment in a medical institution. Becoming accredited to work as a doctor means you have become a House Officer, and this is conditional upon getting a work offer and filing the appropriate paperwork, as described here depending on whether you have just graduated or are a practicing specialist or non-specialist.

4. Becoming a Licensed Doctor in Singapore

The process for getting a medical license once you have graduated with an MBBS degree in Singapore, is to register with the Singapore Medical Council and submit all your credentials in order to be allowed to practice. Once you have this sign-off as described above, your employer will be notified by the SMC and you will be able to work as a doctor.

If you are a foreign-trained doctor, getting a medical license involves first having your medical degree certified by the Singapore Medical Council, and there may be additional tests required before the SMC is satisfied to award you a medical license. In order to then work as a doctor, you’ll also need to obtain an Employment Pass.

5. Work Visa in Singapore

A work visa is known as an Employment Pass in Singapore. You will need to meet qualifications such as good academic background, past working experience and other skills, making this the equivalent of a highly-skilled migrant visa. There is also a minimum wage requirement for a full-time job, of $3,600 monthly. This means you will need to apply for work and have a work offer ready before you can secure an Employment Pass.

Normally, your employer should assist you with the application as it also involves you providing a number of supporting documents about your place of work. You can find out more about the process here.

6. Finding Jobs in Hospitals

In order to work as a doctor in Singapore, you’ll need to obtain an Employment Pass if you are not a citizen. This means that you should have already been offered a job in a Singaporean hospital beforehand. It is through your employing hospital that you can also apply to register with the Singapore Medical Council and get accredited to work as a doctor.

The best way to ensure you find a job in Singapore is to look online or employ a job search agency.

7. Starting your own practice in Singapore

If you want to start your own practice, you should first have become accredited as a doctor in Singapore and secured a work permit, but ideally you should have some experience which will allow you to get the work permit and the accreditation much more easily.

8. Procedure for foreign-trained doctors to become a doctor in Singapore

The Singapore Medical Council is in charge of recognizing the degrees and skills of international medical graduates. Therefore, you’ll need to check that you meet their prerequisites to become a doctor in Singapore:

  • Holding a basic medical degree from a university listed in an approved list to be found here
    • Or having a postgraduate qualification recognized by the SMC or being accredited already by the Specialists Accreditation Board
  • Having a job offer in an SMC-approved healthcare institution
  • Being active in clinical practice
  • Having passed accreditation in your country of origin or the country in which your medical degree was awarded
  • Fulfilling the English language requirements of the SMC.

More information on the process can be found on the SMC website.


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