A hospital doctor diagnoses and treats illness and disease in patients admitted to hospital.
Salary range: £27,689 to £74,661
How to become a hospital doctor
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
You’ll need to complete:
- a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
- a 2-year foundation course of general training
- 2 to 3 years of core medical training (CMT) or Acute Care Common Stem (ACCS) programme
- 4 to 7 years of specialist training, depending on your chosen area of medicine
If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum upper second), you could take a 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine.
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
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
- University Clinical Aptitude Test
- BioMedical Admissions Test
- you’ll need to register with the General Medical Council
Professional and industry bodies
You could join the British Medical Association for professional development and training opportunities.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of medicine
- science skills
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
- thinking and reasoning skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
You’ll examine, diagnose and treat patients. You’ll specialise in a particular area like:
- surgery – caring for patients before, during and after an operation
- medicine – treating general medical conditions and working in specialisms like cardiology, dermatology, ophthalmology, geriatrics and neurology
- paediatrics – managing health conditions that affect babies, children and young people
- pathology – investigating the cause of disease and the effect on patients
- psychiatry – working with patients experiencing mental health problems like depression, anxiety, personality disorders and addiction
- anaesthesia – giving anaesthetics for surgery and medical procedures
- obstetrics and gynaecology – caring for pregnant women and their unborn children
- oncology – treating patients with cancer
Depending on your role you might also:
- lead a team of medical staff
- manage a department
- teach and supervise trainee doctors
- write reports and keep GPs informed about the diagnosis and care of their patients
You could work in an NHS or private hospital.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience, you may go on to lead a team or manage a department.
With experience and entry on the General Medical Council (GMC) Specialist Register, you could apply for senior or consultant roles.
You may also progress to teaching and training students, trainee doctors and other healthcare professionals.