Accessibility statement


interconnecting cogs with healthcare symbols


Discover other sectors

This sector not for you?  Don't worry, there are plenty of others to explore.

Medicine is a very competitive field, offering a rewarding career and a wide range of specialties once you have completed your foundation training.

Find out about Medicine

Key Resources

Find out about careers in medicine from:

These sites include details of the different medical specialties, including key skills and competencies, training, video-casts and case studies, career pathways and top tips for medical students.

Keep up to date with reporting of medical/scientific and health developments, ethical, political and social issues related to medicine:

  • The Guardian Health
  • The Kings Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and healthcare in England. They help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis, and promote understanding of the health and social care system
  • The Nuffield Trust is an independent source of evidence-based research and policy analysis for improving healthcare in the UK
  • Healthwatch seeks to shape healthcare services, acting on behalf of service users
  • Shape of Training review of UK postgraduate medical education and training to respond to changing patient needs

Physician Associates

This career path could offer an alternative option to medical school, for graduates with a science-related first degree. The two years' intensive training focuses on general adult medicine rather than specialty care. Physician Associates take medical histories, do physical examinations, request and interpret tests, and diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, working in GP surgeries, Accident and Emergency departments and on some hospital wards. See the Health Careers website, the Faculty of Physician Associates or HYMS' MSc Physician Associate Studies for more information.

Watch: HYMS video, What is a Physician Associate?

What skills do I need?

Consider the skills and personal qualities needed in this sector. These are likely to include:

  • strong communication skills, including the ability to explain, persuade, encourage and motivate others
  • people skills - being able to develop a rapport with people from a wide range of backgrounds
  • a sensitive and caring approach
  • patience
  • teamwork
  • decision making and prioritising
  • resilience
  • ability to work under pressure and cope with change
  • organisational skills.

Do you possess these skills and qualities? Can you demonstrate that you have them? Can you find ways to develop them? If you are considering working in a clinical role, how do you know that you will be comfortable in this environment?

You might like to take the NHS test to see what health careers would suit you.

Work experience

You will need some work experience in a healthcare setting to demonstrate your commitment and understanding of working in medicine. You need to observe professionals at work, but this can be difficult to arrange and may only be possible for a limited time period. Try to find opportunities to work with children and adults in social and healthcare settings. Consider residential homes, day centres, hospices, voluntary organisations and healthcare support work. You could try:

Hear from graduate medical students about getting Health Care Assistant (HCA) work experience before applying to medical school.

Applying to medical school

For graduates, there are two different training routes: the traditional 5 year undergraduate degree (which may have a quota for the number of graduate places), and the 4 year graduate entry degree; there are also some 6 year programmes with a foundation year for applicants without appropriate entry qualifications. Most graduate entry programmes prefer candidates with a relevant degree (2:1 or higher), but some recruit from any degree discipline.

Funding arrangements vary for the two routes, and details can be found on Health Careers. The website Royal Medical Benevolent Fund has information and advice, and some links to charitable trusts.

Medical schools have different approaches to training, particularly the way that clinical training is organised and whether a problem based learning (PBL), traditional, or blended approach is used. Think carefully about what would suit you best, visit university open days and explore these websites to make an informed choice:

Applications are made through UCAS, and you are likely to have to take a pre-entry test before applying, such as the UCAT (also see 2022 UCAT Official Guide ), BMAT (up to 2024 only) or GAMSAT admissions tests.

The majority of medical schools will interview shortlisted applicants. This may be a panel interview, but an increasing number of medical schools are now using multiple mini interviews (MMIs) for a more practical assessment of your suitability. See the Medical Schools Council for more on this interview format.

Finding jobs

After medical school, you will need to complete the two year foundation programme to gain experience in different specialties before deciding where you want to specialise in the longer term.  This training can take between three and eight years depending on the specialty.

What can I do at York?

  • Look for work experience - relevant work experience and voluntary work is very important. It allows you to develop your skills, check that you are comfortable working in health/care settings and demonstrates motivation and commitment to your chosen profession
  • Volunteering helps you develop skills such as project management, teamwork, communication, problem solving, organisation and time management
  • YUSU Volunteering also offers a range of projects including Kids Club, KEEN, Minds in Motion, and Tea and Coffee Club

More resources: Profiles, events and networks

Profiles and podcasts




Networks and accounts to follow

Find out more and keep up to date with the sector: