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RANZCO Vocational Training Program Fee Information FAQ

What is the College doing to manage its costs?

The College is a not-for-profit organisation and all revenue is channeled into operational delivery, including developing and running the Vocational Training Program (VTP) and providing a wide range of member services from CPD and Congress, to Governance and Advocacy. Part of the College’s ongoing strategic plan is to be sustainable, which translates across all College activities in terms of cost minimisation and effective expense management.

What Federal grant funding does the College receive to support the VTP?

RANZCO receives a small fee for administering the Specialist Training Program (STP) funds provided by the Commonwealth Government. This fee is used to fund training posts based outside of state-funded public hospitals in settings like private practices and regional and remote locations. It covers the cost of administration of STP funds only.

RANZCO VTP vs University fees comparison

The full five-year RANZCO VTP is $43,998 (based on 2022 published fees). This is the investment for the full five-year program and payments are spread out over the five years. This comprehensive fee includes all training, access to training materials and one sitting of all examinations and assessments. (Note that if a trainee fails an exam, then a fee is charged to resit the exam).

Successful completion of this program and acceptance as a RANZCO Fellow opens the door to a worthwhile, stimulating and rewarding career. According to recent salary surveys, early career ophthalmologists can earn more than $200,000 per year, with mid-career specialists earning more than $400,000.

The RANZCO VTP fee compares favourably with most post graduate medical-related university study, which commonly costs $27,000 to $38,000 per year of study for a Commonwealth supported place. International student or full fee-paying domestic student university fees are considerably higher.

How have the AMC and MCNZ accreditation requirements increased the cost of delivering the VTP?

All Specialist Medical Programs like the VTP must meet 30 accreditation standards set by the AMC and MCNZ. They cover all aspects of the curriculum including:

  • Governance of the program and trainee participation in governance;
  • Program management, educational expertise and resourcing;
  • The curriculum including the framework, outcomes and content;
  • Teaching and learning approach and methods;
  • Assessment approach, methods and quality;
  • Performance feedback;
  • Selection;
  • Communication with trainees, trainee wellbeing and resolution of issues;
  • Roles, responsibilities and development of Term Supervisors and Clinical Tutors;
  • Accreditation of training sites and posts;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the program; and
  • Continual renewal.

To successfully deliver the VTP and improve trainee skills and progression requires the services of highly skilled educators and other professionals who work in partnership with ophthalmologists to design effective learning and assessment systems. Effective quality control and improvement also require ongoing evaluation and monitoring performed by qualified professionals.

Therefore, RANZCO requires an internal team of highly skilled staff with broad experience to design, develop, run and renew the VTP so it continues to meet these standards.

When was the last fee increase and how often have fees increased in the past?

VTP fees were last increased in 2018 (16.67%), 2019 (14.3%) and 2020 (12.5%) as a first step to reduce the deficit incurred in running the VTP. There was no increase in the 2021 training year.

Is there a mechanism to support rural trainees?

The College is also looking at a range of scholarships to provide support to trainees, including those from, or based in, rural areas.

Isn't it the case that the VTP should be a loss leader that is subsidised by the Fellow subscriptions?

In spite of increasing costs, the VTP in recent years has been subsidised by Fellow subscriptions. Fellows volunteer their time to assist with the operations and strategic direction of the VTP. Their fees need to be directed to ensure they have access to the same world-class education as trainees through the CPD program, and the provision of courses and online materials. In addition to education and upskilling, the College also advocates on behalf of the profession and for the communities of Australia and New Zealand to have equitable access to the best possible eye care. Accordingly, for each of the years 2022, 2023 and 2024, VTP and exam fees will increase by 20% annually.

Are there financing options available?

Yes. To assist with cashflow, a payment plan is in place where the annual VTP fees can be split into two equal payments between the first and second half of the financial year.

Trainees should also seek financial advice about tax deductibility of education expenses.

For improved affordability, the costs for Eye Camp will be charged in three instalments: $800 in the first training year and $1,600 in both the second and third year.

Last updated: June 3, 2021

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