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Medical

Cosmetic surgeon

Cosmetic surgeons treat people who choose to alter their appearance. Plastic surgeons repair tissue damaged through illness or injury.

Annual Salary

£27,689 to £74,661

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

40 to 45 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; on a rota

5.7%
Future employment

There will be 5.7% more Cosmetic surgeon jobs in 2026.

Day to day tasks

In your day-to-day duties you may:

  • assess patients’ reasons for choosing to have surgery
  • explain treatment choices and risks to patients
  • operate on emergency and scheduled cases
  • carry out cosmetic treatments like facelifts, implants and liposuction
  • restore tissue, skin and limb function, using plastic surgery methods
  • check patients’ progress after surgery
  • work closely with other medical and nursing staff
  • update patient records
  • teach trainee surgeons

Working environment

You may need to wear a uniform and protective clothing.

You could work in an NHS or private hospital.

Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
University

To become a cosmetic or plastic 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.

Entry requirements

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
For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about how to become a cosmetic or plastic surgeon from the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons.

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You could specialise in particular forms of surgery, for example dealing with burns or scarring. With experience, you could apply for senior or consultant roles, leading a team of surgeons or managing a hospital surgery department.

You could also move into teaching and training student surgeons, or set up your own private practice, offering cosmetic procedures.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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