Medical Missions Gap Year

A Gap Year with Meaning 

Our Medical Missions Gap Year calls those whose hearts beat to see justice prevail, diseases eradicated, and communities transformed.

Be trained as a health care worker for developing nation communities and work hand-in-hand with our Medical Ship in Papua New Guinea. On board is a dentistry clinic, day procedure unit, laboratory and patrol boats ready to transport primary health care, health education and optometry teams to isolated communities.

During your Medical Missions Gap Year, you will have the opportunity to support the work of the ship through land-based healthcare related outreaches. This will range from running education classes in villages on disease prevention and health promotion, to assisting with community development projects and land-based clinics, you may even get the change to work directly with the Medical Ship on one of our outreaches.

Our Medical Missions Gap Year is suited for both medical professionals, and for those that don’t have any medical experience whatsoever! We can customise your year according to your experience and skill-level.

The Medical Missions Gap Year is about meeting real needs, bringing hope, and seeing your life transformed in the process!

Step 1: Build your foundations

The first five months of your journey will begin in sunny Townsville where you will do a YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS) alongside other young people from around the world. During the first half of the course, you will learn about different topics each week from experienced speakers.

Topics include:

  • The Nature and Character of God
  • Hearing God’s Voice
  • Identity
  • Relationships
  • Biblical Worldview
  • Living a Missional Life

Your DTS will have medical-related opportunities on outreach, particularly health promotion, disease prevention and community development. The DTS includes 13 weeks of lectures, and 9 weeks of outreach in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Step 2: Be trained and equipped as a Healthcare Worker

During the next 22 weeks of your Gap Year you will return to Townsville to do our Introduction to Primary Healthcare School (IPHC). During the first half of the IPHC, you will be trained in various primary healthcare skills.

Subjects include:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Maternal and child health
  • Malaria
  • Tuberculosis
  • Nutrition
  • Skin diseases
  • Sanitation
  • Clean water
  • Community development

After the lecture phase, you will jet off to Papua New Guinea for an outreach where you will put your new skills into practice. During the outreach you and your team will run mobile primary health care clinics in remote villages.

Adventure Awaits

Papua New Guinea

In the heart of the Pacific lies Papua New Guinea – the least explored nation on earth! It is a place of great beauty with over 7 million people and 800 languages. The nation also bears some of the worst statistics in the Pacific: HIV & AIDS are so prevalent that they are bordering on an epidemic. Malaria is the leading cause of death and illness, and 1 in 13 children will not live to see their fifth birthday. Delivering basic services in Papua New Guinea poses enormous challenges with 84% of the population living in remote, rural areas. These communities are scattered over rugged terrain, complex river systems, vast expanses of ocean, and an extensive coastline – just a few hundred kilometres from Australia’s coast.

But there is hope! Our land-based teams and Medical Ship are helping to overcome the challenges by accessing some of the most remote villages in the country with healthcare and training, all in partnership with national and provincial Government departments.

Alive with Purpose

Build your faith, skills and character

The Medical Missions Gap Year is focused on not only giving you a hands-on missions experience, but also developing your relationship with God, building your character, and developing a deep compassion for others. We believe in equipping our students to have strong foundations in their faith and character as they start their missions journey.


Your home base will be our city campus in sunny Townsville, which is close to the beach, cafes and shops. Our campus includes multiple classrooms, a café, chapel, commercial kitchen and a beautiful courtyard in the centre!

FIND Purpose

The Medical Missions Gap Year is a wonderful way to learn more about yourself while getting a taste for an area you are passionate about. You’re sure to discover unique gifts and talents you never knew you had!

Encounter God

The Medical Missions Gap Year is a great opportunity to get away from the noise and distractions of life and set aside time to consider your calling whilst engaging with God’s heart for you and the nations.

Mentoring and Support

Our approach to missions and training is focused on empowering the individual in their unique calling. All throughout your Gap Year you will be assigned a mentor who can support and encourage you in your journey.

Community and Friendships

During your Gap Year you will be teamed up with other like-minded, passionate young people from around the world. You’re guaranteed to make friends and memories that will last a life-time!

Long Term Impact

Your outreaches in Papua New Guinea will strategically fit in with our long-term goals, which are in partnership with the PNG’s National Department of Health. Each volunteer plays a key part in the big picture!



July 14th 2019 – June 26th 2020

January 26th 2020 – December 12th 2020

July  12th 2020 – June 25th 2021


$9,990AUD* + $3,000 to $4,000 for the IPHC outreach

Your fees include all of the training you will receive during the DTS & IPHC and 9 weeks of outreach during your DTS. Your training includes all your meals, accommodation, free wifi, laundry facilities, transport, an Australian wildlife experience (meet a koala and feed kangaroos!) and use of our campus facilities including library, lecture rooms, chapel, courtyard and cafe – right in the heart of the city, close to the beach, restaurants and shops.

Your outreach includes all of your meals, flights, accommodation, transport, t shirt, any extra visas, insurance and field supplies.

*Does not include travel costs to and from Townsville, student visa, health insurance and immunisations. Additional travel costs may be added for outreaches further abroad during your DTS.

Scholarships & Discounts

Developing Nations Scholarships 

If you are from a Category B or C nation, you may be eligible for a discount off your training phase fees. For more information on categories and discounts click here.


10473NAT Certificate III in Discipleship

On completion of all 6 units of the course you will obtain a Certificate III in Discipleship.

Unit DSPENC301A: Encounter God – This unit describes the outcomes required to strengthen a Christian’s relationship with God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) by imparting a life-changing understanding of the nature, character and ways of God, by encouraging a response to Him in worship, prayer and obedience, and by equipping participants to read the Bible in such a way that transforms beliefs, values and behaviours.

Unit DSPPER301A: See life from God’s perspective – This unit describes the outcomes required to enable a Christian to adopt and apply the Biblical view of human beings and their role as partners with God in all of creation, while affirming the value, uniqueness and significance to God of every individual as well as all peoples and nations.

Unit DSPRJL301A: Recognise Jesus as Lord – This unit describes the outcomes required to strengthen a Christian’s commitment to follow Jesus as Lord and to apply that commitment to personal lifestyle.

Unit DSPBLJ301A: Become more like Jesus – This unit describes the outcomes required to establish an ongoing development of the Christian’s attitudes, values and behaviour to reflect those of Jesus Christ.

Unit DSPWKS301A: Do the works of Jesus – This unit describes the outcomes required to challenge a Christian with the ‘Great Commission’, to do the works of Jesus so as to defeat the enemy’s strategies, to strengthen their commitment to reach the lost, to equip them to share the Gospel, and to encourage them to clarify with God their personal life direction and purpose.

Unit DSPYWM301A: Orientate to Youth With A Mission – This unit describes the outcomes required to become broadly familiar with the purpose, structure, history and foundational values of Youth With A Mission (YWAM) internationally, nationally and locally. The unit will also introduce participants to the opportunities that are available for them for further study and ministry within Youth With A Mission (YWAM) after the completion of the training course.

Course Work

The Discipleship Training School is a combination of heart revelation and head knowledge with an emphasis in practical application. There is also a component of written course work which helps students understanding reach a deeper level as processing and application takes place. Our assessments utilise a range of methods including: journals, workbooks, book reports, outreach reports, self-assessment checklists and supervisor reports. The DTS is a holistic in nature and units of competency are delivered concurrently enabling you to develop your skills, knowledge and character.

For recognition of prior learning/course credit, please see the Student Handbook.

Austudy, Abstudy and Youth student allowance is available for Australian applicants.

10477NAT Certificate IV in Primary Health Care Missions (in developing nation communities)

On completion of all 11 units of the course you will obtain a Certificate IV in Primary Health Care Missions.

Unit: CHR 243.123 – Work effectively in a ministry team – This unit covers the requirements of the importance of working together in a ministry team and the importance of Christian character within that context.

Unit: CMIFWK401A – Work within a Christian missions framework – This unit describes the outcomes required to work within the overall framework of Christian missions.

Unit: CMIPAW401A – Incorporate prayer and worship into ministry activities – This unit describes the outcomes required to incorporate prayer and worship into Christian missions ministry.

Unit: HLTAP401B – Confirm physical health status – This unit of competency describes a detailed level of knowledge of anatomy and physiology required to confirm physical health status.

Unit: HLTHIR403C – Work effectively with culturally diverse clients and co-workers – This unit deals with the cultural awareness required for effective communication and cooperation with persons of diverse cultures.

Unit: CHCPROM502B – Implement health promotion and community intervention – This unit describes the knowledge and skills required to implement health promotion and community intervention.

Unit: BSBCMM401A – Make a presentation – This unit covers the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to prepare, deliver and review a presentation to a target audience.

Unit: PHMCHI401A – Identify core health issues in a developing nation community – This unit describes the outcomes to evaluate the health conditions and needs of a developing nation community.

Unit: PHMCHI402A – Assist a developing nation community to address core health issues – This unit describes the outcomes required to develop educational and other strategies to empower a developing nation community to bring improvement in core health issues.

Unit: PHMDIS401A – Facilitate control of preventable diseases in a developing nation community – This unit describes the outcomes required to assist in the management of diseases common to developing nation communities and also facilitating that community in prevention of disease.

Unit: PHMPHC401A – Provide basic primary health care in a developing nation community – This unit addresses the skills and knowledge required for a broad range of primary health care tasks that form a normal part of the function of a missionary primary health care worker in a developing nation community.

Course Work

A range of strategies will be used to assess the outcomes of the school. Manuals, workbooks, book reports, tests, role plays, outreach reports, self–assessment checklists, and supervisor reports are all utilised as a part of this. Our training programs are holistic in nature, and the topics are delivered concurrently, enabling you to develop your skills, knowledge, and character.

* for recognition of prior learning/course credit, please see the Student Handbook.

Austudy, Abstudy, and Youth Allowance is available for Australian applicants


Applicants need to have graduated High School or equivalent and has a sense of call to Christian Missions.


International Students

When overseas students apply, proficiency in English will be specifically assessed. Offers of placement in a course will include any applicable requirements for English language proficiency. Copies of documents, or telephone interviews will be used to verify information provided by students on language proficiency. Bridging courses will be recommended where these are deemed necessary.

International students on student visas are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress and attendance to meet the requirements of the student visa.

YWAM Townsville is bound by the National Code of Practice for Registration Authorities and Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students. The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations regulates the education and training sector’s involvement with overseas students studying in Australia on student visas. It does this through the Education Services for Overseas Students legislative framework. This protects Australia’s reputation for delivering quality education services and the interests of overseas students, by setting minimum standards and providing tuition and financial assurance.

The legislation mandates a nationally consistent approach to registering education providers so that the quality of the tuition, and care of students, remains high. The professionalism and integrity of the industry is further strengthened by the ESOS legislation’s interface with immigration law. This imposes visa related reporting requirements on both students and providers. A simple explanation of the framework is the Easy Guide to ESOS.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Medical Missions Gap Year Qualify me for?

By completing the Medical Missions Gap Year you will receive a Certificate III in Discipleship and a Certificate IV in Primary Health Care Missions (in developing nation communities). This will qualify you to be able to deliver primary health care to people in developing nations from immunisations and wound care through to health education.

Which visa do I need?

You will be required to apply for a student visa. Please contact us for more information

Are there any extra fees I need to be aware of?

The YWAM Townsville Medical Gap Year is $9,990 AUD. This includes your accommodation, food, transport, wifi, tuition fees and training resources for the entire year. It also includes your fees for your first outreach during the Discipleship Training School (DTS).

Additional costs are as follows:

  • Flights to and from Townsville
  • Travel vaccinations
  • Outreach fees for the Introduction to Primary Health Care School (IPHC) – $3,000-$4,000 AUD
  • Overseas students: visa and health insurance
  • Medical equipment: stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, otoscope (ear light), a watch with a second hand and a thermometer
  • Personal expenses like snacks, toiletries, mosquito repellant etc   

That’s a pretty cheap gap year!  

Do I need Health Insurance?

All overseas students on a Student Visa must have health insurance, it is a requirement for your visa. You can only be covered by Medibank Overseas Health Cover on your Student Visa which we will purchase on your behalf once you have paid your deposit. The only exceptions to this are students from Norway, Belgium and some Swedish students. Please see the National Department of Health website for more details. If you are from Australia or New Zealand you will not be on a visa and will not need to purchase Overseas Health Cover.

Travel insurance will be arranged for you when you travel to Papua New Guinea for outreach.

How much time do I spend on the YWAM Medical Ship?

During the first phase of your Medical Missions Gap Year (the “DTS”), you will spend around 9 weeks in lectures and on outreach in Townsville and Papua New Guinea.

The aim of the outreach is to partner with YWAM Medical Ships in Papua New Guinea. There you will spend weeks living amongst the people of PNG to conduct village assessments, health promotion as well as lead bible teachings.

During some of your outreach, you may have the opportunity to go on board the medical ship to assist in areas such as healthcare (in the clinics), hospitality, housekeeping or community development. Each area is essential in bringing hope and life to the people of Papua New Guinea!

During the second phase of your Medical Missions Gap Year (the IPHC) you will have a secondary outreach in Papua New Guinea. This outreach may be on land, or on board the YWAM Medical Ship. During your outreach you will run mobile primary healthcare clinics in remote communities.

How much time do I spend in Papua New Guinea?

The amount of time spent in PNG will vary. Be prepared to spend up to 14 weeks in Papua New Guinea during the first phase (DTS) and up to 10 weeks during the second phase (IPHC).

What happens after my Medical Missions Gap Year?

The Medical Missions Gap Year is an incredible time of transformation and growth. After the Gap Year, some people may decide to return home and get involved in their local communities. Others may decide to do further study, work with other mission organisations or stay on with YWAM. 

If you find you’d like to stay on with YWAM Townsville, you will have the option of joining our two-year staff internship program. During this program you will receive further mentoring and hands-on experience. You will also have the option of doing one (or more!) of our vocational training courses. This training can be completed at your own pace and will be matched with practical application during your staff placement.

I am a parent and have some questions, can I talk with someone on the phone?

Yes of course, please go to our Contact Us page and either give us a call or an email, we would love to chat.