What does a surgeon 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
What do I need to do to become a surgeon?
To become a surgeon you'll need to complete:
- a five-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council
- a two-year foundation programme of general training
- two years of core surgical training in a hospital
- up to six years of specialist training
You may be able to join a six-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 four-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) to check your suitability for a career in medicine.
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.
- seven GCSEs, including sciences, with 5 subjects at grades 9 to 7 (A* or A) and English and maths at least grade 6 to 5 (B)
- three A levels, including chemistry, biology and either physics or maths
- A five-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC)
- A two-year foundation course of general training (a paid position)
- Core surgical training in a hospital (a paid position lasting two years)
- Specialty training (a paid position lasting up to six years)
Where to find out more
Where could I be working?
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.
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.
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