Training and development (tropical medicine)

This page provides useful information on the training and development for this specialty and also has tips for people at all stages of their training including medical school.

Before embarking on specialty training at ST3 potential tropical medicine doctors need to complete either:

Core Medical Training (CMT) or Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) - acute medicine and pass the examinations leading to membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP). CMT is a two-year programme and ACCS is a three-year programme.

Ebola work in Sierra Leone

After the CMT or ACCS the next stage of training is:

Combined Infection Training

Combined infection training is a two-year integrated laboratory and clinical training programme that covers basic skills in medical microbiology and virology, infection prevention and control and tropical medicine. Combined infection training includes Part 1 Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathology (FRCPath) examinations.

ST3 Specialty Training

Specialty training ST3 in tropical medicine takes a further three years.

This part of the training includes two years in a UK recognised tropical centre. A further 12 months is spent in an overseas resource poor setting that has been recognised for training.

Detailed entry requirements and all essential and desirable criteria are listed in the NHS Person Specification for Tropical Medicine ST3. This will be available next time there is recruitment into this specialty.

Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

In order to be fully qualified as a consultant in tropical medicine it is also necessary to complete a full-time Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.The length of training can vary, for example it is possible to train flexibly if you fulfil the criteria for Less than Full Time Training, (LTFT).

Joint training

It possible to undertake joint training in:

  • tropical medicine and general internal medicine
  • tropical medicine and medical microbiology
  • tropical medicine and medical virology

Experience of extra-curricular activities, achievements and interests relevant to tropical medicine are desirable.

Selection panels also look for evidence of academic and research achievements, which as well as additional academic qualifications include prizes, awards, distinctions, publications and presentations. An understanding of research, audit and teaching is also important as is evidence of the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team. Good leadership and organisational skills are also important.

A demonstrable interest in and understanding of the specialty is also required.

Find out more about the specialty:

Getting in tips

It is important to develop your practical skills and interest in tropical medicine as early as you can. This will also give you valuable experience to add to your CV.

Whether you're a medical student, foundation trainee or doing your core specialty training, there's information below to help you.

    • attend conferences on infectious diseases/tropical medicine – this will give you an opportunity to network and meet your future colleagues
    • undertake a placement in infectious diseases/tropical medicine if possible
    • undertake a student selected module or project in infectious diseases/tropical medicine
    • join the British Infection Association as an Associate Member
    • undertake your elective(s) overseas in a resource poor setting
    • consider taking an intercalated degree- tropical medicine is an academic discipline
    • develop skills in foreign languages where possible
    • make contact with a local infectious diseases/tropical medicine department and find out how you can get involved
    • aim to get a rotation in infectious diseases/tropical medicine
    • try to ensure your e-portfolio has broad clinical experience and that this is kept properly up-to-date
    • try to gain teaching and management experience
    • undertake a relevant research project
    • try to get some of your work published and present at national and international meetings
    • teach junior colleagues
    • take on any management opportunities you are offered
    • join the British Infection Association as a Trainee Member
    • consider taking the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Health course in Liverpool or London – this will increase your chances of being short listed for higher specialist (ST3) posts
    • take time out for a short attachment with an non-governmental organisation (eg a medical charity working overseas) to see if you like working abroad and to show commitment
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