Perth Public Health Officer Training Program

The Perth Public Health Officer Training Program (PPHOTP) is a workplace-based training program that provides specialist training and support to future public health leaders.

The program is designed to strengthen the public health system and improve responses and surge capacity for future public health issues.

Important dates

Commencement of 2024 program: 15 February 2024

2024 Block 1: 15 February 2024 – 18 July 2024

2024 Block 2: 15 August 2024 - 21 November 2024



The COVID-19 pandemic, National Contact Tracing Review (the Finkel Review) and the Western Australian (WA) Sustainable Health Review all highlight the need for ongoing investment and innovation in public health and data science.


About the program

PPHOTP is a workplace-based training program designed to be completed across two years and is intended for people who have started, or already completed, post-graduate study in public health and are committed to pursuing a career in public health.

The program covers core competency areas to ensure trainees can build their knowledge of public health principles and functions and explore key public health issues.

Structured training is provided through monthly teaching sessions complementing work-based activities. Scenario-based training is used to provide trainees with the opportunity to apply their newly acquired skills in practical real-life public health situations.



The PPHOTP curriculum covers the following core competency areas:

  • professional practice
  • management and leadership
  • epidemiology and data science
  • communicable disease
  • environmental health, risk assessment and risk management
  • emergency management
  • policy and legislation
  • health promotion and prevention
  • evaluation and evidence
  • cultural competence and Aboriginal health
  • health system financing and economics

View the detailed PPHOTP curriculum (PDF).

The PPHOTP curriculum is based on the NSW Public Health Training Program and the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine’s (AFPHM) curriculum.


Recruitment and eligibility

The PPHOTP accepts one intake of trainees each year with four traineeships available in total. Trainees are recruited through four different streams - qualifications, past training and experience:

Medical recruitment stream (2 FTE)

Public health registrars are offered a contract of up to three years’ duration at Boorloo PHU, during which they complete both the PPHOTP and the requirements for fellowship of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

Recruitment to these positions is through the North Metropolitan Health Service (NMHS) Boorloo PHU recruitment process and will be advertised on:


Nursing recruitment stream (1 FTE)

Clinical Nurses (CN) in public health are offered a contract of up to one year duration at Boorloo PHU to complete a stand-alone year of the PPHOTP.

Recruitment to this position is through the NMHS Boorloo PHU recruitment process and will be advertised on:


Epidemiology recruitment stream (1 FTE)

Trainees are employed for two years through the Master of Applied Epidemiology program at the Australian National University and complete the PPHOTP during their placement at Boorloo PHU.

This position is filled through the Australian National University recruitment process.


Internal multidisciplinary stream (4 positions)

Open to all staff employed at Boorloo PHU, Humanitarian Entrant Health Service (HEHS), Health Promotion and WA Tuberculosis Control Program (WATBCP).

These positions will be appointed through an internal EOI process. Successful candidates will continue in their position but will be given dedicated / protected time to attend PPHOTP sessions.


Eligibility is dependent on the recruitment stream and specific position. The following criteria will be required:

  • possession of / or substantial progression towards a higher degree in Public Health or a public-health related field
  • evidence of the applicant's right to work in Australia for the duration of the traineeship (eg: Australian or New Zealand passport or Australian birth certificate, citizenship certificate, or permanent residency visa).


Training structure

In 2024, the program will consist of two five-month blocks with each block covering four to six of the core competency areas. Teaching will be in the form of a monthly four-to-five-hour session of structured teaching and learning activities, which will cover several teaching topics. Activities will include a mix of lectures, guest speakers, workshops and group work.

At the conclusion of each block, trainees will participate in a scenario exercise which will allow them to use the skills and knowledge gained during that five-month period (mega scenarios).

In addition to active participation in the monthly teaching sessions and mega scenarios, trainees will be expected to complete self-directed learning in their own time, in order to prepare for the monthly teaching sessions. It is expected that this will take approximately four hours per month.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Masters of Public Health (MPH) before starting the program?

This is dependent on the recruitment stream you are applying through:

  • positions for medical doctors:
    completion of, or significant progress towards a MPH is generally required for recruitment as a public health registrar
  • positions for clinical nurses:
    completion of an MPH is a desirable criterion for trainees, although it is not an essential requirement
  • positions for epidemiologists and data scientists:
    completion of an MPH is a desirable criterion for trainees although other relevant postgraduate training will be considered.
  • positions for internal applicants:
    completion of an MPH is desirable for trainees, although it is not an essential requirement.

What is the duration of the program?

PPHOTP is a two-year program, with a new intake of trainees every year.

As the medical training pathway through the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine is three years in duration, contracts are issued for the three years with the third year being devoted to fulfilling the requirements for the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine training.

Will there be any assessments during the program?

No, there will be no formal assessment. Informal assessment will occur through attendance and engagement in work placement, teaching and learning activities.

Will I have a qualification at the end of the program?

No, there is no formal qualification but participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Can I complete the training program part-time?

The program is designed to be completed on a full-time basis.

How many hours per week will I be expected to spend on study for this course?

Trainees are expected to spend four hours preparing for each monthly session (outside of work hours).

Last Updated: 24/04/2024