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Career Scope and Salaries of Medical Graduates in the UK

Nov 10, 2022

International Medical Graduates in the UK: Career Opportunities and Salaries

The UK is well-known for providing high-quality medical education. Undergraduate medicine degrees in the UK last between five and six years, while graduate entry medical degrees last four years. Furthermore, before they can be considered doctors, all candidates must undergo a basic residency program. Upon completion of their foundation program, students are then expected to get their degrees registered in the General Medical Council (GMC) register. 

Medical degree training in the UK is a complex and time-consuming process. Students, therefore, should be informed of the career scope and salaries accessible to medical graduates in the UK before deciding to pursue an MBBS or medicine degree in the UK. Continue reading to find out more.

Quick Highlights

Before we get into the details, let’s go over some quick highlights on career opportunities and salaries for medical graduates in the UK.

Popular MBBS specializations in the UK Anaesthetics, cardiology, neurology, oncology, general practice, immunology, pediatrics, geriatrics, plastic surgery, and endocrinology
Agency involved in MBBS degree registration in the UK General Medical Council (GMC)
Popular medical degrees in the UK other than MBBS  Dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, veterinary, microbiology, physical therapy and nutrition
Highest paid doctors in the UK (USD*/year) Ophthalmologist (133,987 USD/year),

Endocrinologist (123,143 USD/year),

Neurosurgeon (121,233 USD/year),

Anesthesiologist (120,881 USD/year),

Orthopedic surgeon (119,883 USD/year),

Plastic surgeon (118,353 USD/year),

 and Psychiatrist (110,393 USD/year)

Highest paid other medical science degrees in the UK (USD*/year) Dentist (91,560 USD/year), 

Microbiologist (91,414 USD/year), 

Veterinarian (59,392 USD/year),

and Pharmacist (58,543 USD/year)

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Career Scope for Medical Graduates in the UK 

UK welcomes doctors and health professionals from all around the world. A career in medical degree opens many opportunities in the UK, students can go for specialized training (numerous option listed below) or general practice depending upon their choice. General practice training lasts three years, whereas specialization usually lasts up to five years.

To prescribe drugs and treat patients, all doctors in the UK must and should be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). Medical students are awarded a provisional license while completing their foundation training, and they are given a full license once they have proven their ability as junior doctors. 

The international medical graduates too should apply for GMC registration if they wish to practice in the UK. If they hold an acceptable primary medical qualification and have completed a period of postgraduate clinical experience or internship, then they can directly apply for GMC registration. International medical students should note that GMC registration does not guarantee employment in the UK. 

The following are some popular career opportunities for medical graduates in the UK:

  • Anaesthetics
  • Cardiology
  • Cardio-thoracic surgery 
  • Clinical oncology
  • Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics
  • Community sexual health and reproduction
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency medicine 
  • Endocrinology and diabetes mellitus
  • Forensic psychiatry
  • Gastro-enterology
  • General practice
  • General surgery
  • Geriatric medicine
  • Immunology
  • Intensive care medicine
  • Infectious diseases
  • Medical microbiology 
  • Neurology
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Paediatrics
  • Plastic surgery
  • Psychiatry
  • Renal medicine
  • Rheumatology
  • Urology

In addition to MBBS and specialization, students can also consider other promising medical degrees like 

  • Dentistry
  • Pharmacy 
  • Nursing 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Microbiology 
  • Veterinary
  • Nutrition 
  • Physical therapy

Benefits received by Doctors in the UK

One of the most appealing aspects of working as a doctor or other health professional in the UK is the high pay. The doctors and medical professionals in the UK can work for the National Health Service (NHS), which is a publicly funded healthcare system, or for a private healthcare system or open their own practice. They can also work part-time for the NHS or another organization while running their own practice. The following are some of the advantages and benefits that doctors working for NHS enjoy:

  • Doctors working in the UK, especially for the NHS, are entitled to paid annual leaves 
  • Apart from the annual leave, they also get paid sick leave
  • Not only do mothers get paid maternity leave, but even fathers get paid paternity leave
  • The NHS offers part-time training options, study leaves, and study budget negotiation for doctors undergoing foundation programs for a better work and study life balance
  • NHS employees get paid a pension and discounts too

Salaries of Medical Graduates in the UK

A medical degree in the UK necessitates a great deal of commitment and years of study, but students are rewarded with decent pay and a high quality of life. That’s why many international students and international medical graduates prefer to study MBBS and medical degrees in the UK, where they eventually work for the NHS or other private health organizations. UK doctors with certificate specializations can easily earn three-figure salaries as shown in the following table.

Type of Doctor Annual Salary in USD* (Indeed)
Ophthalmologist 133,987
Endocrinologist 123,143
Neurosurgeon 121,233
Anesthesiologist 120,881
Orthopedic surgeon 119,883
Plastic surgeon 118,353
Psychiatrist 110,393
Cardiologist 102,884
Oncologist 102,419
Obstetrician 99,172
Gynecologist 99,172
General surgeon 95,095
Urologist 92,757
General practitioner 81,993
Gastro-enterologist 77,908
Emergency physician 70,282
Pediatrician 66,313
Infectious Disease Physician 53,443

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

Average Salaries for Other Medical Degrees in the UK

In the UK, not just doctors, but also other medical graduates, are well rewarded. They can work in the public sector, such as the NHS, or in private health organizations. The table below displays the average earnings in the UK for medical professions other than MBBS.

Type of Program Annual Salary in USD* (Indeed)
Dentist 91,560
Microbiologist 91,414
Veterinarian 59,392
Pharmacist 58,543
Paramedic 45,979
Physiotherapist 45,030
Nurse 40,296
Nutritionist 36,399

*Note: All prices mentioned in the USD are for reference only. Exchange rates may vary from time to time and from country to country.

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The process of becoming a doctor in the United Kingdom is fairly hard, and admittance to any MBBS degree demands high A-level grades. Almost all institutions in the UK need candidates to complete entrance exams such as the UCAT and BMAT. International students must also demonstrate their ability to communicate in English. Doctors must register their degrees with the GMC once they have completed their medical education and the foundation residency program.

NHS – the national health service covering England and Wales, NHS Scotland – the national health service covering Scotland, Health and social care in Northern Ireland, British Medical Journal, and Nuffield Health are some of the popular agencies that hire doctors and health professionals in the UK. 

The general practitioner salaries at NHS can range from £1,01,422 to £1,11,375 per year (127,521 to 140,036 USD/year). 

Upon completion of their undergraduate medical degree and two-year foundation program, students in the UK are awarded full-registation and license by the General Medical Council (GMC) and are called junior doctors.

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