How Much Do Doctors Get Paid?

In this article, we ask ‘How much do doctors get paid?’. Generally speaking, doctor’s salaries can be as high as around £88,000 per year and the typical NHS Junior Doctor salary is £17 per hour. giving an annual salary of around £24,995.

At the opposite end of the scale, private doctors can have much higher salaries.  There are as many as 20 British private doctors currently earning more than a million pounds a year now – commanding around £3k per operation.

Read on to find out more about how much a doctor can earn, how to train to become a doctor and some useful pointers to pursue this career path.

What sort of person makes a good doctor?

It goes without saying you will have a thirst for helping people and a natural quest for medicine and science.  But you’ll also need the following skills:

  • The ability to work well on your own and within a team.
  • To be a quick thinker under pressure.
  • Be prepared to work very long hours – you can’t just clock off when your shift is up.
  • You need to be completely organised and diligent in your work.

How many years does it take to become a doctor?

It can take up to 16 years to become a fully trained doctor. Doctors must complete a four-year undergraduate program, along with four years in medical school and three to seven years in a residency program to learn the speciality they chose to pursue. 

Medical school is competitive, so you need good grades, relevant work experience, commitment and lots of enthusiasm. 

Who pays for the training?

Most of the training is paid for by the government but some tuition fees – plus rent and living costs – are paid for by the student.

How much do NHS doctors in the UK earn?

  • A doctor in specialist training starts on a basic salary of £37,935 and progresses to £48,075. 
  • Salaried general practitioners (GPs) can earn between £58,808 to £88,744 depending on experience.
  • GP partners tend to be self-employed and receive a share of the profits from the business.
  • Consultants in England can make from £60,000 to a healthy £100,000 per year.

Many doctors do the work because of their caring nature and desire to help patients. Pay can be affected by your age, location, experience and speciality. Trusts can pay differently too.

How much do doctors get paid in Northern Ireland?

  • In Northern Ireland, the average salary for a GP Partner is around £98,500. 
  • A GP who works for a partner earns slightly less – between £55,000 and £83,000. 
  • And those Locum doctors we’ve all seen from time to time – they can earn up to £200 per session (one session is equivalent to four hours).

Which country pays the most for their doctors?

Luxembourg is the best country that pays their doctors the highest in the world-beating American and the UK.  They pay Specialists Doctors: $352,300  and GPs: $278,900. 

What qualifications do I need to become a doctor?

A starting point is at least 7 strong passes in your GCSE’s with Maths, English and Combined Science part of them.  Any additional work experience you have can be used on your application form. When you apply for a course in medicine, you could be asked to take the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). 

Is it hard getting into medical school?

It is very competitive with four applicants for every space and only those with the highest grades, experience and aptitude are offered a place.  Brighton and Sussex University had a whopping 14.3 applicants for each place and is extremely hard to get into. 

With tuition fees topping around £30k per year, you may wonder how people afford to go to Medical school.   On average it costs £220,000 to train a doctor over their five-year degree. Most of the training is paid for by the government but some tuition fees – plus rent and living costs – are paid for by the student.

How do people afford medical school in the UK?

Undergraduates can apply for an NHS bursary from the fifth year of study on a five or six-year course. Before then, they should apply to Student Finance England each year for a student loan for tuition fees and living costs.  To be eligible to receive support from Student Finance England you must be English domiciled

Main routes to becoming a doctor:

You’ll need to complete:

  • a 5-year degree in medicine, recognised by the General Medical Council.
  • a 2-year general medical foundation programme.
  • a 5 to 8 year specialty training programme, the length dependent on which specialty of medicine you choose.

Entry into some specialities is very competitive. You can see the number of applicants to places available each year through the NHS Competition ratios.

If you already have a degree in a science subject (minimum upper second), you could take a 4-year graduate entry programme into medicine.

If you don’t have any science qualifications you might be able to join a longer 6-year degree course which includes a one-year pre-medical or foundation year.

3 need to know factors.

  • Once you’ve finished your University Degree you’ll start your foundation course as a junior doctor.   This runs over two years, putting your theory into practice. You’ll also start to be paid an annual salary of around £25k during your first year.
  • A Doctor’s Apprenticeship is currently being considered.  This would allow students to earn money while training on the job.   (Source Health Education England March 2021).
  • There are plenty of career opportunities for medical doctors – from working in the military, medical journalism or medical research and development. 
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