If you are considering pursuing a medical career to become a doctor, you’ll need to know which academic path to take when starting out. You should also assess the options awaiting you once you get your license to practice from the General Medical Council.
How To Start Out
If you want to get into medical school, for which there are over thirty in the UK, you should study chemistry and biology at A-Level, and will likely be asked for at least three A grades.
Admissions will look further back, to your GCSEs, so you need excellent marks there too. You should be able to display strong academic capabilities, as well as a well-rounded personality.
Skills and knowledge are not everything, with interpersonal skills also integral in the makeup of a successful medical professional. Being able to handle stressful situations is key, so consider if you’re cut out to work in demanding and often high-pressure environments
Forge Your Own Path
The first years at medical school are for foundation study. Students don’t concentrate on specialisms until later, which helps when keeping an open mind about the area of medicine to pursue. From oncology to pathology, there are many different clinical specialisms.
A GMC Medical Licence, gained at medical school, is required by all UK doctors, yet medical school training periods vary depending on the chosen specialism. For instance, GP training can take three years, yet generally takes five, while training for a medical specialisation, such as cardiology or urology, can take six years or more.
The NHS oversees training of all specialists, with all medical students paid during the training period. Once a doctor is qualified, there are plenty of long-term career options to pursue.
A Rewarding Career
From general practitioner to cardiologist, there are many different types of doctor. All offer rewarding work for professionals to help patients who are often very sick.
Working within the centre of the community, doctors are looked up to, which creates responsibility, but it also creates a sense of worth from the opportunity to give back.
You Will Be In Demand
A Medscape report suggests most medical students go onto become GPs, while the British Medical Association reports the areas with the lowest fill rates are psychiatry, urinary medicine and emergency medicine.
This demand for qualified doctors means the profession is well salaried. Medscape reports that the average full-time salary for a doctor in the UK is £95,000, with the highest full-time salary reported to be £115,000. Of the 290,000 doctors practising in the UK, most work for the NHS alone, while older and specialist doctors are more likely to be employed privately.
You Can Work Overseas
With hard work and dedication, your career will develop exactly how you like, whether that’s in the UK or abroad. The demand for British qualified doctors always high, with the British Medical Journal reporting the number of UK-qualified doctors in Australia or New Zealand is rising.
A Stable Job For Life
Being a junior doctor is tough, but the rewards are plentiful once you navigate the early period of your career and fully establish yourself as a respected medical professional in your field.
If you’re willing to be always switched-on, meaning the lines becoming blurred between your professional and private life, you can complete a long and financially rewarding career as a GP or specialist doctor.
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