There are over thirty medical schools in the United Kingdom recognised by the General Medical Council, each offering students a range of courses in different areas of medical science.

Medicine is a competitive field to go into, with medical schools asking for top grades, while there is also competition from many international students who come to the UK each year.

If you are up to the required academic standard and want to go to medical school, here are some well-followed career paths to consider, with job descriptions and salary expectations.


Starting Salary: £26,614 (Foundation Year 1)

Potential Salary: £76,761 to £103,490 (for a consultant)

Making up the largest group of hospital-based specialist doctors, anaesthetists provide support for patients undergoing often serious or life-threatening surgical procedures.

Anaesthetists have many responsibilities, including making sure patients, who range from babies to the elderly or pregnant women, are well enough to undergo hospital procedures.

It’s also an anaesthetist’s job to monitor patients during and after treatment is administered.


Starting Salary: £27,146 (Foundation Year 1)

Potential Salary: £77,913 to £105,042 (for a consultant)

Cardiology involves treating problems affecting the heart and blood vessels. Qualifying as a cardiologist can take up to ten years, but the rewards are plentiful, when the lives of patients are saved and their wellbeings improved.

There are many different specialist areas of cardiology, including interventional cardiology and electrophysiology, with salaries increasing through experience and depending on specialism.

Clinical Radiologist

Starting Salary: £26,614 (Foundation Year 1)

Potential Salary: £76,761 to £103,490 (for a radiologist consultant)

A radiologist’s job includes diagnosing, treating and managing a patient’s clinical conditions.

The two types of radiology recognised by the General Medical Council are diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology, with medical students focusing on one during Foundation Training.

A radiologist must understand a patient’s anatomy and pathology, before deciding on the correct diagnosis and treatment course using the effective interventional treatments.

General Practitioner

Starting Salary: £26,614 (Foundation Year 1)

Potential Salary: £56,525 to £85,298 (depending on experience)

General practitioners (GPs) are the first port of call for most patients before they start on the appropriate treatment course, with many GPs seeing around 30 to 40 patients each day.  

The role includes referring patients to the right clinics to treat specific conditions, while there is also lots of admin work involved in running a practice and managing staff members.

GPs must be careful with how they approach sensitive issues, including taking the emotional, physical and social wellbeing of patients into account.


Starting Salary: £26,614 (Foundation Year 1)

Potential Salary: £103,490 (for a surgical consultant)

Surgeons specialise in different areas, including cardiothoracic, trauma and orthopaedic, vascular, paediatric, plastic and otolaryngology. It takes many years of hard work and commitment to become a surgeon, but a long-term career can be one of the most rewarding jobs within medicine.

From assessing patients to see if a procedure is necessary, to operating on patients by completing established techniques developed over time, a surgeon’s job is varied and highly specialised.

There are always new surgery techniques being developed, which means surgeons can add new skills throughout their career, improving their overall standing within the medical professions.

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