How to Become a Doctor
SummaryBecoming a doctor is not easy. It takes years of training and you will have to prove yourself at every turn. For those willing to put in the work, there are a number of essential steps that must be taken in order to qualify. Let’s take a look.
- Author Name: Christopher Latter
Becoming a doctor is not easy. It takes years of training and you will have to prove yourself at every turn. For those willing to put in the work, there are a number of essential steps that must be taken in order to qualify. Let’s take a look.
It is impossible to become a doctor without a medical degree from a GMC (General Medical Council) - approved university. Most medical degrees last for five years, and offer a mixture of medical science theory and practical training. In order to enrol, students will need at least three A levels, two of which must be chemistry and biology. Competition for university places is extremely fierce, so it helps to have relevant work experience before you apply. The British Medical Association offers some useful advice on finding a placement.
In some cases, it is possible to take a four-year medical course, but this is only available to candidates who already have a science degree. There are also six-year courses for those with no scientific qualifications, which include a pre-med foundation year. Some universities may ask you to sit an additional aptitude exam when you apply, which will test some of the skills you will need to succeed on the course.
Once students have completed their medical degree, they must enrol on a two-year foundation training course. They are given a provisional licence to practise by the GMC, which is upgraded to a full licence after the first year. Foundation training takes place in foundation trusts across the country, and trainees are paid for their work.
CMT or ACCS
After the foundation programme is complete, trainees must complete either Core Medical Training (CMT) or Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) training. This takes up to three years and allows students to select a pathway into their chosen area of medicine.
Once a specialist field has been selected, a further four to seven years of training are required to become fully qualified in that area of medicine. The length of specialist training depends on the chosen field.
Medical training is a learning process, and everyone will make mistakes along the way. Students must ensure that they have indemnity to cover themselves in the event of an accident or an accusation of negligence. Incision Indemnity, is an example of one of the organisations that will provide surgeons with indemnity in case of an issue. This should be one of the things you make sure you have as you build your career as a doctor.