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SAS career development

You can enter SAS posts at almost any point in your career when you decide to leave the training pathway. However, it will be easier to pursue a fulfilling career that includes training and progression if you complete some of your training before leaving the pathway. Entry methods will vary, depending on the kind of post for which you apply.

Minimum entry requirements

The minimum entry requirements for specialty doctor posts are:

  • full General Medical Council (GMC) registration;
  • a minimum of four years’ postgraduate training (two years of which must be in the relevant specialty).

Both the BMA and NHS Employers offer further information on specialty doctor careers.

Professional development

SAS surgeons are required to undertake job planning and appraisal while building a portfolio of clinical work and professional development activities such as:

  • formal teaching
  • continuing professional development
  • appraisal
  • research
  • audit
  • work with a professional body (such as a royal college or the British Medical Association)
  • management

Attending relevant courses will also benefit your portfolio; the RCS runs a variety of courses for all specialties

You will have achieved a high level of expertise and specialist knowledge by the time you reach the top of the specialty doctor grade. You will also have both the ability and opportunity to work independently as agreed with your employer. The College SAS committee has drafted guidance to support SAS surgeons in the job planning process. 

Portfolio evidence

Your portfolio is an invaluable record of your clinical and professional experience, training and achievements. It will be useful for appraisals, revalidation and job applications, and should include the following:

  • up-to-date CV
  • appraisal records 
  • log book 
  • certificates from courses and meetings attended 
  • audit and research 
  • thank you letters and complaints

Applying to the Specialist Register

If you would like to work as a consultant, you will need to be listed on the GMC’s Specialist Register. Surgeons must apply through the Article 14 process for a Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR).

The following points should be considered during the application process:
  • Applicants should make sure that all of the requested information is included on the application form. The GMC will return incomplete applications and will not seek references or progress an application until they have all the information required.
  • The photograph included should meet the same requirements as a photograph for a passport.
  • Applicants are measured against the standard of someone who has just been awarded a CCT.
  • Not all documents need to be certified. Documents such as log books only need to be authenticated which can be done by a colleague. Applicants should check requirements carefully to avoid unnecessary expense.
  • Each page of the log book should be authenticated.
  • The intercollegiate exam is open to all applicants and provides a good test of knowledge to bolster applications.
Find out more on applying to the Specialist Register.

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