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Plastic surgeon

Alternative titles for this job include Reconstructive surgeon, cosmetic surgeon

Plastic surgeons perform operations to restore someone's movement or appearance either for personal reasons or following an illness or injury.

Average salary (a year)

£29,384 Starter


£77,274 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

40 to 45 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on a rota

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a plastic surgeon

You can get into this job through a university course.


To become a plastic or cosmetic surgeon you'll need to complete:

  • a degree in medicine recognised by the General Medical Council which takes 5 years
  • a foundation programme of general training which takes 2 years
  • core surgical training in a hospital which takes 2 years
  • specialist training which can take up to 6 years

There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most universities will expect you to have some paid or voluntary experience in healthcare.

Science degrees

If you already have a first class or 2:1 (upper second class) science degree, you could take the graduate entry route into medicine instead. Some universities will also accept non-science graduates.

Entry tests

When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT).

They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 5 GCSEs grades 9 to 7 (A* or A), including English maths and sciences
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry

More Information

More Information


Further information

You can find out more about how to become a cosmetic or plastic surgeon from the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of medicine and dentistry
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of biology
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of English language
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

Restrictions and Requirements

You'll need to:

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As a plastic or cosmetic surgeon, you could:

  • discuss options with your patients
  • restore tissue, skin and limb function
  • complete reconstructive surgery after burns or illness
  • carry out facelifts, implants and liposuction
  • check on progress after surgery
  • update records and teach trainee surgeons

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could:

  • specialise in a certain type of surgery, for example burns or scars
  • become a senior surgeon, leading a team or department
  • move into teaching student surgeons
  • set up your own private practice

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a plastic surgeon right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

A-Level Biology/A-Level Chemistry/BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate Applied Science

  • Start date: 12 September 2023
  • Location: Walsall

Chemistry A Level

  • Start date: 04 September 2023
  • Location: Birmingham

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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