Medicine is a vocational degree, allowing you to develop both the practical and clinical skills specific to medicine and the professional and personal attributes necessary to become a doctor
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Clinical radiologist
- General practice doctor
- Hospital doctor
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Adult nurse
- Children's nurse
- Healthcare scientist, genomics
- Higher education lecturer
- International aid/development worker
- Medical sales representative
- Mental health nurse
- Physician associate
- Research scientist (life sciences)
- Science writer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
It's a good idea to start developing your CV while you're still at university. You can improve your skills by undertaking voluntary work, getting involved in medical school societies or becoming an academic course or clinical representative.
Skills and experience can also be gained from taking an elective, which is a period of clinical experience taken during your degree. A lot of students who take an elective decide to go abroad, with many going to developing countries.
Some medical students spend an additional year at medical school (lengthening a five year course to six years) studying for an intercalated degree. This involves taking a year out from the medical curriculum to study and carry out a research project in a different, usually science-related, subject area.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
Most medical graduates go on to become doctors. Opportunities are available in both the National Health Service (NHS) and private hospitals, as well as in NHS practice trusts as a GP.
There are also opportunities for those wishing to practise medicine in:
- the Armed Forces
- overseas aid agencies
- research institutes
- clinical trial organisations
- private healthcare establishments
- residential nursing homes
- air ambulance services
- university teaching.
Skills for your CV
As well as the vocational skills you acquire when undertaking a degree in medicine, you also develop a range of other transferable skills through your course, such as critical appraisal, observation, listening, logical reasoning and decision making. These skills are crucial when working as a doctor, but are just as useful in work outside medicine.
Other transferable skills include written and oral communication, from completing assignments, taking histories and writing medical reports. You will also be able to work in a team, understanding your role and responsibilities.
Similarly, you'll have developed key skills in how to lead a team and assign tasks.
Most medicine graduates undertake the two-year UK Foundation Programme after graduation in order to practise medicine in the UK. In order to register with the General Medical Council (GMC), you must successfully complete the first year of the Foundation Programme and gain a Certificate of Experience.
Most doctors start further training immediately after the Foundation Programme, choosing to specialise in either general practice or a specialty. The number of years you'll spend in training varies - approximately three years for GP training and around five to seven years for specialties.
Many of the specialty programmes are initially broad, but as training progresses doctors can specialise in a particular area, such as cardiology. For more information on the range of specialties available, see NHS Health Careers.
Successful completion of this training leads to the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). Doctors are then eligible for entry to the specialist/GP register and can apply for a senior medical appointment.
A few graduates each year consider careers outside medicine. Those that do may undertake further vocational training in an area they wish to enter as a career, such as teaching or law. Others may undertake further study in areas such as finance, management or business to enhance their knowledge of a specific career area.
What do medicine graduates do?
Medicine is a highly vocational degree and this is reflected in the destination data of graduates. The vast majority of medicine graduates in employment in the UK (99%) are medical practitioners.
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Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?
Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.