How to become a hospital doctor
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
You'll need to complete:
- a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
- a 2-year general medical foundation programme
- a 5 to 8 year specialty training programme, the length dependent on which specialty of medicine you choose
Entry to some specialties is very competitive. You can see the number of applicants to places available each year through the NHS Competition ratios.
If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum upper second), you could take a 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine.
You may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine if you have no science qualifications. This includes a one-year pre-medical or foundation year.
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.
Medical schools will also expect you to have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience. The British Medical Association has information on finding a placement.
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
It's really important to get as much work experience as you can with a diverse range of people before applying to medical school.
If getting hospital or GP placements proves difficult, you can gain valuable skills from volunteering in education, charity, health and social care settings.
You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.
- you'll need to register with the General Medical Council
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the British Medical Association for professional development and training opportunities.