Training as a doctor

Your training path starts with medical school which can last between four and seven years depending on the route you take. 

Your training continues after you graduate with the Foundation Programme and then you'll have the opportunity to decide whether you'll become a GP or a doctor in one of the 60 medical specialties.

Healthcare scientist in x-ray room

Medical school (four to seven years)

If you’re coming straight from a secondary school, sixth form college or a college of further education to study at medical school, your medical degree will normally be five years long. You may choose to study an intercalated year which will mean that you study for an extra year. 

From September 2024, it may be possible to train as a doctor by doing a five year, Master’s level apprenticeship. Vacancies will be advertised on the NHS Jobs and Government websites. 

There's also the possibility of studying a foundation year, before starting your medical degree for those who have not studied sufficient science, or are coming from a disadvantaged background.

If you’re on the accelerated graduate degree programme, your studies will be four years' long (plus one year if you study for the intercalated degree).

Foundation training (two years)

After medical school you’ll apply to complete a two year foundation programme during which you will be paid a salary. This is a general medical training programme, where you’ll combine work experience with training. During the foundation years you will move around different medical specialties. One third of the way through the second year you will be asked to make a choice about which specialty training you would like to embark on in later years. 

Specialty training (three years at present for GP, and for other specialties five to eight years)

Once you begin GP specialty training it will be three years long. If you choose other specialty training pathways, the length of training will vary between five to eight years according to specialty. For example paediatrics normally involves ten more years of training after medical school.

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