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Doctor (GP)


Job Description

Doctors work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, GP surgeries, health centres, armed forces or medical research to examine patients, diagnose illnesses and treat injuries and other medical conditions. They will prescribe appropriate treatment or medication or they may refer the patient to a specialist for further treatment.

Entry Requirements

To become a Doctor (GP) you'll need a degree.

You will need to complete:

  • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
  • a 2-year foundation course of general training
  • a 3-year specialist training course in general practice

If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum upper second), you could take an accelerated 4-year graduate entry programme.

You may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine if you have no science qualifications. This includes a one-year pre-medical or foundation year.

When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). They test the skills you'll need on the course, like critical thinking, problem solving, data analysis, communication and scientific knowledge.

Medical schools will also expect you to have some relevant paid or voluntary work experience. The British Medical Association has information on finding a placement.

You'll usually need:

  • at least 5 GCSEs grades 9 to 7 (A* or A), including English maths and sciences
  • 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology and chemistry

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You may be able to get NHS funding to pay for your course fees and help with your living expenses.

Career tips

The General Medical Council produces a guide to what it means to be a good doctor. It's useful reading when preparing for medical school interviews.

There are online resources to help you prepare for BMAT and UCAT and to find out more about the types of interviews you can expect for medical school entry.

After your training you'll need to join the General Medical Council GP Register, and apply for a licence to practise as a doctor.

You can find out more about becoming a GP from Health Careers and the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Career Path and Progression

You could move into medical work in hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, the police or the prison service.

You could work overseas or within a particular industry such as sport, business or the military.

You could work in education, teaching students training to be GPs or go into clinical research.

You might also get involved in local health issues, maybe as a member of a local medical committee or clinical commissioning group.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Anaesthetist
  • Hospital doctor
  • Surgeon
  • Pathologist
  • Psychiatrist

Required Skills

  • Excellent communication skills
  • the ability to understand and have empathy with your patients
  • a caring approach 
  • the ability to put people at ease
  • good analytical skills to diagnose illnesses and the best course of treatment
  • good IT skills

Salary Range

£28,243 to £88,744

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