Switching medical specialty

This page provides advice, where to find support and useful links for those who are considering changing specialty.

If you are unhappy with your initial choice of specialty and are thinking of changing to another area, firstly consider the following:

  • talk to your educational supervisor or NHS trust careers lead before you make any firm decisions. If you need impartial advice from someone outside of your trust, there may be an HEE local office/deanery careers adviser you can speak to
  • in many cases you will have to apply again from the beginning and the training you have done already may not count towards the new specialty you have chosen
  • there are some specialties with similar core training programmes to which it may be easier to switch, so make sure you check those 
  • contact the royal college, college or faculty for your specialty, HEE local offices/deanery or the General Medical Council (GMC) for information on possible transfers

And don’t forget to check the person specification for your new chosen specialty. There are a few specialties within the physician specialties where the CMT or ACCS - Acute Medicine route is not the only way into ST3. 

Switching specialty

For posts commencing from August 2015, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has developed a framework which could allow trainees to transfer competences achieved in one core, specialty or general practice training programme, where appropriate and valid, to another training programme. This could save time in training (a maximum of 2 years) for doctors who decide to change career path after completing part of one training programme and changing to another.

Accreditation of Transferable Competences (ATC) can only be considered in the following circumstances:

  1. Where doctors have completed at least 12 months in a training programme and have been issued with a satisfactory outcome (outcome 1) at their Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)
  2. Where competences have been achieved during substantive specialty training programmes, but also Locum Appointments for Training (LATs) and Fixed Term Specialty Training Appointments (FTSTAs)
  3. European training outside the UK may be accredited providing that training is within a mutually recognised programme
  4. Where the training has been acquired within a maximum period of 5 years leading up to the application for ATC
  5. Where competences have been gained during training approved by the GMC for CCT or CESR (CP) or from a mutually recognised European training programme

Competences achieved during Locum Appointments for Service (LASs) cannot be considered towards ATC.

See the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges website for details of the support available.   

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