Surgeons carry out operations and medical procedures on patients.
Salary range: £23,689 to £74,661
How to become a surgeon
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
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 may be able to join a 6-year degree course in medicine without A levels or equivalent qualifications in science. The course includes a one-year pre-medical foundation year.
If you already have a first class or upper second class science degree, you could take a 4-year graduate entry route into medicine. Some universities will also accept non-science graduates.
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.
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’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
- university courses and entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- University Clinical Aptitude Test
- BioMedical Admissions Test
- you’ll need to register with the General Medical Council
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of medicine and dentistry
- the ability to work well with your hands
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of biology
- the ability to work well with others
- knowledge of English language
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
In this role you could be:
- meeting the patient before the operation to decide on the best course of action
- explaining the procedures and risk
- taking tests and arrange X-rays
- carrying out operations with a team of people
- carrying out ward rounds
- writing to GPs about your patients’ conditions and treatments
You could work in an NHS or private hospital.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.
You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.
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.