Medical specialty training

After successful completion of the Foundation programme you are awarded the Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC).  You are then able to go on to training in a chosen specialty, or general practice (GP) training.

Training programmes differ in length and structure according to specialty.

  • general practice lasts three years.
  • other specialties can last 5-8 years.

Length of training can also depend on your rate of achievement of competencies. It can also depend on whether you take time out eg Out of Programme Research (OOPR), or if you train less than full-time (LTFT).

 male doctor with patient in office

Types of training programme

There are different training programmes for each specialty

Run-through training

For some specialties training is through a run-through programme. You only have to apply once, at the beginning of the programme, and are recruited for the full duration of the specialty training.

Uncoupled training

Other specialties consist of core training and then competitive entry into higher specialty training.

The length of core training can differ:

  • core training for two years - eg Core Surgical Training
  • core training for three years - eg emergency medicine and psychiatry

The length of higher specialty training will also differ per specialty.

Entry to some specialties is very competitive. Competition ratios show numbers of applications received against posts available.

  • You will apply through the Oriel website. Key dates, where to apply and applicant handbooks can be found at:

    Application forms are scored against the person specifications for each specialty, as well more general issues, such as spelling and grammar and not answering the questions asked. If you are short-listed you will be invited to an interview or selection day.

  • Career Planning for Healthcare Professionals programme

    Health Education England has developed an e-learning programme for healthcare professionals, to help them make informed career choices and effective applications for their next career steps.

    This is currently aimed at:

    • Foundation trainee doctors
    • Core trainee doctors
    • Core psychiatry doctors 
    • Core surgery doctors 

    Find out more about the programme

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