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Medical

Surgeon

Surgeons carry out operations and medical procedures on patients.

Annual Salary

£24,214 to £104,927

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

Day to day tasks

In this role you could:

  • meet the patient before the operation to decide on the best course of action
  • explain the procedures and risk
  • take tests and arrange X-rays
  • carry out operations with a team of people
  • carry out ward rounds
  • write to GPs about your patients’ conditions and treatments

Working environment

You may need to wear protective clothing and a uniform.

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 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 becoming a surgeon from the Royal College of Surgeons and Health Careers.

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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.

You can find out more about becoming a surgeon from the Royal College of Surgeons and Health Careers.

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
  • customer service skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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