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Specialty Training Programme Information

What types of specialties are there?
What top tips can help me?
How can I interpret the competition ratios?
How and when should I apply for specialty training?
What other resources can I access to find out more about specialties?

Specialty Options - What types of specialties are there

There are two types of specialty training programmes

  • "Run-through" training, where your progression to the next level of training is automatic and so long as you satisfy all the competency requirements.
  • "Uncoupled" training where there are two years of core training (CT) (three in some specialties), followed by another round of open competition for higher training posts. Progression to the next stages of training is competitive at ST3 level (ST4 in some specialties) providing you satisfy all the competency requirements at ST/CT 1 and 2.
  • For an up to date list of all run through and uncoupled specialties, please see the specialty recruitment applicant guide.

All specialty training programmes lead eventually to a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), which qualifies you for entry to the Specialist or GP Register held by the General Medical Council (GMC), subject to the successful attainment of required competences.

Specialty Information Our 5 Top Tips

  1. The specialty recruitment process is evolving all the time so check the Specialty Training website for up to date information on the recruitment process being used by the speciality you are interested in.
  2. Rotating around the majority of specialties as a student or trainee offers you unique opportunities for career exploration. Use that time wisely to find out all you can about different specialties. See our Information Interviews guide for suggestions of what questions to ask.
  3. You are provided with taster days during foundation so use these to best advantage and check out what is available - remember that you don't need to have done the specialty in your Foundation years to apply for it at specialty level. Taster sessions are a great way to try out a range of clinical areas and explore what it has to offer. Find out more about taster sessions and how to apply for them on the foundation section of our website.
  4. Use Sci59. The Specialty Choice Inventory is an online careers interest inventory designed to measure people's preferences to the 59 most common specialties recognised by GMC (including General Practice!). If you are a member of the BMA it can be accessed via their careers service.
  5. Explore the Health Careers Website. It offers a wide-range of information including comprehensive guides to all the specialties, information on application to specialty, further details on interviews and selection centre stations as well as a link to FAQs.

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Interpreting Competition Ratios

Take a look at our VLE pages about competition levels . Further information about competition ratios can also be found by visiting the Specialty Training website.

Applying to Specialty Training


There is much preparation and many practicalities you can do around recruitment and selection for jobs.

  • Seek support from your clinical tutors, education supervisors, trust consultants and The HEEM Careers Service
  • Visit the relevant LETB website (all accessible from the main HEE website) or the Oriel website to check out the hospitals, posts and rotations, the local area and how vacancies will be managed.
  • Contact the East Midlands LETB directly if you have unanswered questions - most will have a helpdesk number.
  • Read the guidance on the Specialty Training quick guide for information on what to expect, what is involved, how the recruitment process works and where to find out more.
  • View our Medical Careers Videocasts - offering you an insight into a variety of specialty careers.
  • Know your timescales.

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Other Resources

The Specialty School pages will support and inform you about your application to specialty training posts in Hospital Medicine/Secondary Care, GP/Primary Care, and Public Health. It also provides a list of school contacts and Training Programme Directors.

Other Faculties and Colleges

For an up to date list of colleages and faculties and LETBs which coordinate recruitment to specialty training, please see the Oriel or Specialty Training websites.

Health Careers
Contains information about specialty training, applications to specialty training as well as relevant up to date video and podcasts.

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