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What qualifications do I need to be a Doctor?
There are lots of different types of Doctors – GPs, surgeons and specialists and becoming any of these is really hard work! Not only will you need excellent qualifications (including some science A-levels), but you will also have to get into a medical school which can be really hard work as there is so much competition.
If you apply to medical school you will have to undertake an interview where you will need to convince the interviewing board that you are truly committed to becoming a doctor. Any examples of relevant experience are useful so you might also want to do some voluntary work in a hospital or a care home or work alongside a doctor to show how keen you are. An important part of the job is working with patients so the medical schools will also be looking for students who will have a good bedside manner!
At medical school you will be taking an undergraduate course leading to a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. Although some degree titles have different names e.g. BM, MBBS, MBChB which can be a bit confusing, all UK medical degrees are equivalent, regardless of the degree title or letters.
Each medical school has their own course with its own requirements. You should therefore do some homework early on and consult the medical school you wish to apply for to check the details.
Medical schools also now welcome applications from people who already have another degree - normally a first or upper second class honours degree. Some medical schools require the degree to be in a science-related subject, whilst others do not stipulate any discipline.
Most medical schools require you to apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), which will supply details of how and when to apply for medical school and all other university courses.
It is estimated that graduates, mostly with science degrees, make up 10-15% of recent intakes to the five and six-year MB courses in Britain. Most come into the first year, but some universities accept students from bio-medical or life sciences or dentistry into the third MBBS year.
How long will it take to get qualified?
On completion of a medical degree, junior doctors must complete Foundation Years 1 and 2 before they are able to register as full doctors. At this point, they may then start to specialise. Specialist training can take 5-8 years, to reach consultant level.
A doctors salary can range enormously depending on your specialism and your level of experience. A trainee doctor working in the NHS can expect to receive around £22,000, whereas a consultant can earn as much as £100,000. GPs salaries also vary a great deal, but as a guide you could expect to earn around £50,000 to £80,000.