Blogs > Introduction to the NHS / GMC Registration / Useful Information

How to get a UK training post

  • November 02, 2018

After you have finished your foundation/internship training you will be eligible to start applying for Speciality Training.

In today’s post, we provide you with an outline to training within the NHS, how to apply for a training post and ways to enhance your training post application.


Postgraduate medical education and training is the joint responsibility of the four Departments of Health in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the GMC, Postgraduate Deaneries and the Royal Colleges.

Specialty Training Structure

After you graduate from university, you will be a qualified junior doctor and you are then required to enter a two-year Foundation Programme designed to practice your knowledge and skills across a broad spectrum of specialties.

If you complete this overseas, it is typically called an internship.

Please note, that to enter into Core Medical Training within the NHS you will need your core competencies signed off. If you are unable to get them signed, you will need to complete FY1 and FY2 in the UK and then go onto Specialty Training.

Core Medical Training and Specialty Training

After you have finished your Foundation Training you will then need to enter Core Medical Training (CMT) and then Specialty Training (i.e. ST1, ST2, ST3 etc.)

What happens in Core Medical Training?

During this period of training, doctors will continue to acquire general competencies following the General Curriculum for Medical Specialties, which will provide a professional, moral and legal framework for practice.

Please note, that CMT is specific to each individual specialty – some require it, some do not. Please visit the relevant Royal College’s website to find out more information.

What happens in Speciality Training?

For training within a specific medical specialty, you will be required to acquire the level 1 competencies as defined by the appropriate curriculum. Depending on the specialty, these training programmes will typically take a further 4-6 years.

Please click here for a list of medical specialties and subspecialties you can practice within.

If you achieve all your relevant competencies, each trainee will achieve a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

What if I am an international doctor who is looking to train in the UK?

I am a junior doctor:

If you are a junior doctor with no specialist experience, then you can use the PLAB route to work within the NHS. This will allow you to apply for an ST1 post and use the UK training route to obtain your Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) – which will make you eligible for entry onto the GP Register or Specialist Register. Being on the Specialist Register will allow you to work as a UK Consultant.

I am a specialised doctor:

If you are a specialised doctor and you hold a Royal College Qualification, you can enter Speciality Training at ST3+ level. You can then use your UK training to obtain your Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) – which will make you eligible for entry onto the GP Register or Specialist Register, allowing you to work as a UK Consultant.

Please click here for further information on the difference between CCT and CESR.

What if I am a specialised doctor but I do not hold a Royal College Qualification?

If you do not hold a Royal College Qualification, you can either obtain one which will allow you to apply for ST3+ level posts. Alternatively, you could use the PLAB route to obtaining GMC Registration. However, you will be limited to training within ST1 and ST2 posts – and you will eventually have to get a Royal College Qualification in order to continue with your training.

How do I apply for a training post?

Since 2015, the application process for specialty posts are implemented by Oriel, an online portal for everyone applying for medical and dental training across the UK.

Oriel will allow you to register, view vacancies, apply, book interviews and assessment centres and receive offers – all in one place.

  1. Round 1 – Contains recruitment to all CT1/ST1 specialty training programmes. Posts appointed in this round will normally start in August 2018 and end typically no later than December 2018.
  2. Round 2 – This will be the first opportunity where ST3/ST4 posts in uncoupled training programmes will be advertised. These posts are typically advertised between August 2018 and December 2018.
  3. Round 1 Re-Advert – This is where vacant posts advertised in Round 1 are re-advertised in a second round. These adverts will appear in February 2018.
  4. Round 2 Re-Advert – This round contains vacant posts from Round 2. Typically, posts advertised in this round will commence in February 2019.

Training posts are extremely competitive

When deciding which posts and specialties to apply for, it is important that you are aware of the competition rate involved – as 99% of Round 1 and Round 2 posts are given first refusal to those who come through the UK training system.

Please click here for a list of the 2018 Competition Ratios for each specialty.

Therefore, as an IMG, we advise for you to take an NHS service job for at least a year and then apply for a training post – the NHS experience will dramatically enhance your application and reduce your competition.

As a junior doctor, I understand that NHS posts at FY1, FY2 and SHO level posts are extremely competitive. What can I do to enhance my application?

Our first and foremost advice would be to format your CV well. This is critical for it to be passed to the next stage of the recruitment process. Furthermore, if it is possible, try to obtain an NHS clinical attachment. This will massively enhance your application as you will have first-hand experience of how the system works.

How do I successfully format my CV?

A CV can be needed at any point of your medical career, and especially at the point of your decision to relocate to the UK and work for the NHS. Your CV is essentially a personal record of all your qualifications, achievements, skills and relevant experience being a doctor. You should view your CV as an opportunity to sell your skills and experiences.

The GMC strongly advise that you write a CV specifically for your registration application. Details of what to include in your CV and its construction are listed below:

Personal Information and Contact Details: Your name on your CV must match your name on your proof of identity
Registrations: Provide your GMC reference number and the details of any other medical regulators you are registered with
Memberships: List your professional body membership
Qualifications: List your qualifications in reverse-chronological order
Employment History: List your employment history in reverse-chronological order. Information to include: post title, start-end date, institution name and location, the name of your supervisor, provide a brief description on your current role – it should cover your duties and responsibilities indicating your level of supervision. Lastly, in this section include details of gaps of employment. Again, you should list them in reverse-chronological order. Any gaps which are longer than 28 days should be explained and accounted for
Awards: List any awards you have received
Research: List any research placements you have undertaken
Publications: List any publications
Continuing Professional Development (CPD): List your CPD activity within the last five years
Conferences/Courses: Give details of relevant/important conferences or courses you have attended
Teaching and Training Experience: Provide a brief description of your teaching and training activities
Management Experience: Provide a brief description of your management history.
Procedures: Give a list of all procedures you have performed

Other details to include in a CV not being sent to the GMC:

Interests and Hobbies: Here you could focus on any College Memberships or positions of responsibility
References: Typically, people provide two references. Make sure your references have positions of responsibility, state their position and offer their contact details.

CV Format Do’s and Don’ts:


  1. Choose a professional font to ensure legibility for prospective employers.
  2. Present each section in a clear logical order. Use clear section headings (i.e. Education and Employment History) and remember to order your history in reverse-chronological order to keep your CV legible and clear.
  3. Power Words – These are also known as action words. This includes: responsible for, co-ordinated, supervised, influenced, designed etc.
  4. Explain gaps in employment – You should explain all employment gaps that are over four weeks long.


  1. Length - A medical CV is heavily focused on your experience and so detail is fundamental. Therefore, do not worry too much about the length of your CV.
  2. Personal Data – Do not include the following information: age, date of birth, ethnic identity, religious preference, marital status and sexual orientation.
  3. Experiment with font – You might think that decreasing your font size is a good way to fit a large amount into a smaller space, this could lead to your CV being illegible and not being read by prospective employers.
  4. Irrelevant information – When writing your CV ask yourself the question ‘Will it help me get the job?’ If the answer is no, do not put it in your CV. For instance, in the ‘Hobbies and Interests’ section do not put any hobbies unless it is relevant to your job application.

Please email us at [email protected] if you would like u to send you an exemplary CV.  

If you have any questions about the above information or relocation to the UK in general, get in touch with us at [email protected] and we will be happy to help.

Join our Facebook Group IMG Advisor – here, you will have access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to ask questions and receive professional support and the chance to meet other IMGs.


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