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Career Planning

Planning a career as a surgeon

NHS Medical Careers is a resource for making informed decisions when planning a career in medicine and related fields.  Register online to start building your personal profile, using self-assessment exercises and the detailed information about what options are available. This website will take you through the four stages of career planning. Comprehensive data on each medical specialty includes workforce statistics, competition ratios, growth areas and projections about future opportunities. A bookmarking tool allows you to save key facts about specialties that interest you.

The career planning framework used by this website comprises four stages – self-assessment, career exploration, decision making and plan implementation.

self assessment
career exploration
decision making
plan implementation

When this site was first implemented the stages were called understanding yourself, exploring options, choosing a specialty and getting into training. The names of the stages have been changed to more closely reflect career planning materials which are used in the UK. The content of the four stages remains the same and they can be used by medical students and doctors who wish to assess or re-assess their careers as well as specifically helping with choosing a specialty training programme.


Stage 1: An honest appraisal of yourself is the first step towards discovering the specialty that suits you. These tools will help you understand your interests, skills and influences and how these can be useful when considering your future career.

Career exploration

Stage 2: Good research is an essential step to choosing your specialty. Career exploration is about knowing where to look and what to look for. Here you can also learn about some of the other career options that may be of interest to you.

Decision making

Stage 3: Once you have developed a good understanding of yourself and your career options, you’re in a great place to start making decisions. Here you will find some ways to integrate what you’ve learned about specialties with your self-assessment.

Plan implementation

Stage 4: Once you are happy with your career and specialty choices, you’ll want to know how to get into training.  Here you will find advice on building your CV and portfolio and how to succeed in interviews and assessment centres.

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