Career Pathway

A degree in Medicine opens up many career choices. This can vary from Paediatrics to Geriatrics and everything in between. This page offers a brief overview of the career which you will take as a doctor.

FY? CT? Registrar? Consultant?

During your hospital work experience, you may come across these terms. The following should help explain this: -

· FY – Foundation year training – 2 years – FY1 and FY2.

· CT – Core training – 2 years – CT2, CT2

· Registrar – variable years depending on speciality – ST3-8

· Consultant – awarded upon finishing all your training.

These will be explained further below: -

Medical school

On average, a degree in Medicine will take 5 years to complete (4 for graduate entry, and 6 for foundation year entry and those who wish to intercalate).

Intercalated degree basically means that you spend an extra year at university and study something different. This can be primarily research orientated, lecture based or a mixture of both! Although optional, it is a good idea to do in order to improve your CV for a future speciality that you may be considering. Another benefit? At the end of the year, you are awarded an extra degree (e.g. BSc)!

Foundation years

Foundation year (or FY1/FY2) is a period of 2 years after medical school. Where you work is determined by a national application during your final year of medical school. During this period, you will have 6x 4month rotations in different specialities.

After being a foundation year doctor, there is the option to apply for speciality training. Again, it is a national application (submitted during your FY2 year) and is quite competitive. Another popular option is to take an “F3” year. This can be spent working on an ad-hoc basis (called locum work) either here or abroad and combined with travelling. It can be seen as a gap year.

Speciality training

Time spent in speciality training varies depending on your speciality. GP training takes an additional 3 years and fields such as surgery and medicine can take a minimum of 8 years.

Medicine and Surgery offer their own general training for the first 2 years respectively (referred to as core training – CT1/CT2), following which, you would apply for a sub-speciality – e.g. cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopaedic surgery.

Other specialities such as radiology, paediatrics and obstetrics and gynaecology offer a ‘run-through’ training which means that you wont have to apply during your 2nd year of speciality training for a registrar post but will continue your training until you become a consultant.


After completing the registrar years, you will be awarded a ‘CCT’ or certification of completion of training and you can now practice as a consultant. During this, you can also dedicate part of your time teaching, in research, or leadership.

How much doctors get paid?

Grade Minimum annual pay
FY1 22,636
FY2 28,076
CT1/ST1 30,002
CT2/ST2 31,838
ST3 34,402
ST4+ Annual increase by £2000
Consultant 75,249 - 101,251 (depending on experience)


Most jobs also offer banding. This is an added percentage onto your basic pay (as in the table above) and reflects the amount of unsociable hours that you work.
Banding varies and is usually 20-50%.

As an example – if you were an FY2 doctor undertaking all your jobs that are 50% banded, you would receive a salary of £42,114 in that year (as opposed to £28,076).


Career Pathway