How to work in Singapore as a doctor?

The current options that I know of so far are these 3 pathways.

  1. You graduate from a university that is recognized by Singapore Medical Council. List HERE. (Conditional Registration)
  2. You have a post-graduate degree such as MRCP, MRCS, MRCPCH or MRCOG to be entitled for a registrar post. (Conditional Registration)
  3. You have at least 3-4 years of experience working as a medical officer. (Temporary Registration)

If you do qualify to any of these 3, you can apply for a post through Singapore’s Ministry of Health Holdings (MOHH). You can email them at info@mohh.com.sg.

What is the difference between conditional and temporary registration? The pay, of course. You do the same tedious job. The same work load. However, you earn at least SGD 1000 extra with conditional registration. In order to achieve conditional registration, you would have to take up one of their approved diplomas under their Staff Registrar Scheme (SRS).

And what exactly is Staff Registrar Scheme? When you start working in Singapore, you would start to realize that there are a lot of jargons and short forms around. Took me a while to get use to it. To my understanding, like what I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s a program to let you achieve conditional status. You can find the list of diplomas available HERE. To achieve full registration, you would have to pass one of the diplomas and stick with the Singapore government for 4 years. If you are granted conditional registration, you just need to serve for 4 years to get full registration.

Then what’s full registration? It means that you’re allowed to practice freely in Singapore anywhere unsupervised. To work in the private sector or to open up your own clinic. For Malaysians, it’s just the same as completing your compulsory service with the government. Same theory behind it.

Would it be possible to stay as temporary? Well, you can if you don’t mind getting paid less for the same equal amount of job. However, MOHH does not make it any easier for you. You’ll be given a the job on a contract basis, possibly to at least 6-7 years (renewed 2 yearly) but that’s usually the maximum they can go. By then, if they don’t see any progress from you, they would probably kick you out for good.

So is it worth working in Singapore? Your call. It really depends on which category you’re in and the plans that you have in the coming years.

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24 thoughts on “How to work in Singapore as a doctor?

  1. Hi Eric.

    I have done MBBS and MS in General Surgery from India.

    What are the possible pathways for me to get to Singapore and find a job?

    I’ll be thankful for your information.

    • Hi Wasif, why don’t you email MOHH with your particulars and resume? The regulation changes from time to time, so the best way is to ask them directly.

  2. hi eric. just went through your blog on job in singapore. its very informative. i have done my MRCP. i need some information on how to get into some superspeciality program in singapore. Are there any such programmes in singapore? thank you

    • Hi Ankit,

      I’m guessing you’re talking about the Advance Specialist Training (AST) programmes. Only a few programmes are available now. These are the ones stated on the MOH website.

      – Intensive Care Medicine
      – Palliative Medicine
      – Neonatology
      – Sports Medicine
      – Aviation Medicine

      Better email MOHH for better clarification.

      • also wanted to ask one thing. i know english and hindi only.will it be of any trouble or problem , not knowing malay or chinese languages?

      • I have colleagues who speaks only Hindi and English. They have no problem adapting and some even learnt an extra language through daily conversations. And there are translators around so language barrier is not an issue.

  3. Hallo! I’m a Spanish doctor and I finished my degree in Spain (not in Barcelona’s university) but education system is equal all over the Country. Now I’m on my last year of residence training in Anesthesia in Spain too. My husband is working in Singapore and I would like to move there with him. So my question is…do I have any possibility to work as a Specialist in Singapore? I see that admission process is difficult. Will I have job opportunities there?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Lada,

      I believe you’ve got to email MOHH personally to inquire. The rules for admission change quite frequently. As long as your degree is recognized by Singapore Medical Council, there should not be a problem. Job opportunities are there as the government sector is always in need of doctors. There is no harm trying since your hubby is working in Singapore already. No one wants to be far apart from their loved ones.

  4. Hello Eric!
    I’m a Peruvian doctor. I´ll be finishing my dermatology residency in a couple of years in Peru and I want to move to Singapore, I’ve loved your country since the first time I was there!
    I’ve read and would like to apply by conditional registration, but I saw there isn’t Dermatology on the list of diplomas. Do you know why?
    Any other recomendation?

    Thank you very much!!

    • Hi Adriana,

      If you are yet to finish your dermatology residency, then you have to check and see if your university is recognized by Singapore before working here.

      If you have completed your dermatology posting, then you have to check with Singapore Medical Council (SMC) if your post-graduate degree is recognized too.

      I can’t tell you why dermatology is not part of the list of diplomas as the rules are decided by SMC. You may want to consider taking up other diplomas then.

      Hope this helps.

  5. hi Eric,
    i’m a medical officer with 3 years experience, (mbbs not recognised by SMC).
    i got an offer to work in one of the private hospital in singapore.
    i have few questions to you,
    1) what is the salary package for MOs in singapore.
    2) what is Staff register Scheme actually, do i become registrar after this course?do i get extra pay after that?
    3) what are the chances for me to do residency in singapore with or without SRS?
    thank you

    • Hi Aroon,

      I’m surprised you manage to get an offer from a private hospital. That is usually not possible in view of your MBBS status.

      1. Salary packages varies depending on which hospital hires you.

      2. SRS gets you conditional registration. That’s it. It does not make you a registrar. It makes you a regular MO, if that helps. But yes, there is a slight boost in your salary once you get condition registration.

      3. Without SRS. Zero. With SRS, depends on your work attitude and whether your bosses like you or not. Recommendation from bosses increases the chance of you getting into residency.

      • hi Eric,
        thank you for kind reply.

        1) is it that difficult to get a job for category in singapore private hospital??
        (bcoz i got it through an indian agent, but a telephonic interview was conducted by the private hospital(exactly from the hospital number), later i got an offer letter which clearly stated all details about hospital & mine as well.)

        2) can it still be fraud/fake??

        3) how to check it??

    • Sounds fishy. Personally I have no experience in going through agents but I believe you should engage the hospital directly and ask if they have a job opening for you.

      As far as I know, as long as your certificate is not recognized by SMC, you will never be able to get a job in the private hospital. No private hospital will take the risk. You will have to be under surveillance by an appointmented specialist to keep tab of your performance while you work in Singapore under temporary registration and for that to happen, it is the government hospitals, not the private ones.

      • omg,really?? is it not possible at all to get a job in private for my category??
        this is my whatsaapp/viber no.+919952917576,
        can you please send a hi text to this number for further guidance,ill send you the offer letter ,can you kindly help me?/

    • I believe I won’t be able to help you further than this Aroon. I suggest that you contact the hospital and MOHH directly for further inquiries as you will get a definite answer rather than random presumptions.

  6. i got offer from parkway pantai lte. in mount elizabeth hospital.
    is it possible to get job there?
    i tried contacting them but the call center not connecting me to HR.
    what can i do now?
    kindly help.
    thank you.

  7. hello Dr Eric.
    Would like to check something with you.
    Im a Malaysian, has four years of Mo-ship done in internal medicine and completed my MRCP (UK)
    So lets say i get my conditional registration, roughly how long do I wait before i get into the subspecialty program?

    Thank you in advance, u seem to be of great help to other curious souls, god bless.

    • Hi Jay,

      As long as you have a positive working attitude and your boss likes you (giving you good recommendations), you can get into a residency program even within the first year of working. But of course, it also depends on the vacancies available and whether you pass their interview process.

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