Job Description

Surgeons will work with a team of medical specialists to treat injuries, diseases and other medical conditions by operating on patients. They will meet with patients prior to operating to explain the procedure and after the operation to check on the progress of the patient. There are many specialist areas within surgery including plastic, paediatric, orthopaedic and many more.

Entry Requirements

To become a surgeon you'll need to complete:

  • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
  • a 2-year foundation programme of general training
  • 2 years of core surgical training in a hospital
  • up to 6 years of specialist training

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

If you don't have qualifications in science, you may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine. This includes a one-year pre-medical or foundation year.

If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum 2:1) you could take a 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine

When you apply for a course in medicine, you may be asked to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). This is used to check your suitability for a career in medicine by testing your critical thinking, problem solving and behavioural characteristics, rather than your academic achievements.

There's a lot of competition for places on medical degrees. Most university admissions departments will expect you to have done some relevant paid or voluntary experience.

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

The Royal College of Surgeons and Health Careers has more information about becoming a surgeon.

Career Path and Progression

With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior or consultant roles, go on to lead a team, or manage a department.

You could also move into teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Anaesthetist
  • Dental technician
  • Dentist
  • GP
  • Hospital doctor

Required Skills

  • the commitment to care for others
  • the ability to put patients at their ease and gain their trust and confidence
  • to be able to work well under pressure and make quick accurate decisions
  • good hand to eye co-ordination
  • good leadership and management skills
  • a keen interest in your specialism and the willingness to keep up to date with new technologies and treatments

Salary Range

£24,214 to £104,927

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