Many of us at some point in our childhoods wanted to be a Doctor when we grew up. Whatever attracted us to the job, it saw us perform fake medical procedures on teddies and unwitting friends.
Bolstered by a slew of medical TV dramas, some of us went on to fulfil that ambition, saving lives in a hospital setting or caring for our communities as a GP. For most of us, however, the appeal of becoming a Doctor wore off and we instead moved on to other interests and inevitably other career paths.
For some, though, the urge to help people never went away, but they lacked the qualifications to do anything about it in a medical sense. It’s easy to ignore an aspiration on the basis of not having the right qualifications, but with 50% of all university students over the age of 21, is it really ever too late to start again?
The question remains, however, is it possible to become a Doctor without A Levels? Continue reading to learn what qualifications you need to secure a Doctor job role, and how you can boost your knowledge to pursue healthcare jobs.
Becoming a Doctor: What You Need to Know
When considering Doctor career options, there are various avenues you can take, but the consistent thread between all of them is the level of education you require. Unlike some healthcare jobs, UK residents should know that you will have to dedicate at least a decade to studying and training to become a Doctor.
Below, we have outlined the steps you need to take so that you understand how to become a Doctor.
- To qualify as a Doctor, you require a degree in medicine from a medical school. Courses normally last 5 years and they need to be recognised by the General Medical Council (GMC). The medical degree must be recognised by the GMC for you to be able to practice. You will also need to pass a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check
- The medical degree will include basic medical sciences as well as clinical training on wards. Upon graduation you will move on to a two-year foundation programme. During the two years you will spend a few months working in different specialisms; A&E, a GP surgery and maternity for example. Serving as a Foundation Officer year 1/2 will be your chance to practice everything you will have learned
- Once you complete your foundation programme you will move on to core medical training to become a Doctor. UK learners should know that this portion of your training will last another two years. This is the point where you specialise either in primary care (a GP) or secondary care (working in a hospital). You’ll also take the Royal Colleges of Physicians exam
- Depending on the area you want to specialise in there can be a further four to six years of training. You’ll be practising by this point, but you’ll be assessed and supervised by senior doctors
Once speciality training is complete, you’ll gain entry to either the General Medical Council specialist register or GP register. At the end of this you can work as, and apply for, more senior positions, such as consultant and GP principal roles.
What Qualifications Do I Need?
Becoming a Doctor is arguably in the higher echelons of healthcare jobs, and before you begin your training, you will need a series of qualifications, including:
- At least 5 GCSEs at grade A-A*/7-9. Entry requirements for accredited healthcare courses at university will vary but the Sciences, English, and Maths are common requirements
- A minimum of 3 Science-based A Levels at A-A* (or Level 3 equivalent)
Medicine is a highly competitive field and that allows universities to name their terms. However, universities are starting to see the value in mature students who are returning to education and bringing with them a wealth of life experience.
This is good news if you have been out of education for some time and either don’t have the right qualifications or the right grades to become a Doctor.
Assuming you have the necessary GCSEs, then all you need to do is address your lack of A Levels, or Level 3 qualifications. There are two routes you can go down, and we have outlined them below:
If you lack the A Levels you need to get into medical school, then one option is to simply gain those qualifications. The advantage of A Levels is they are accepted by every university in the country as they are the national standard school leaver qualification.
By studying A Levels, you can choose the subjects that fit the requirements – in this case the three Sciences as a minimum. This will enable you to pursue healthcare training courses at university.
The main considerations when it comes to taking A Levels, though, is the time and expense. It takes the average distance learning student 9-12 months to complete a single course of study. If you need at least three A Levels then you’re looking at up to three years before you can apply.
While it is possible to study multiple courses at once it’s not something we’d recommend. However, if you want to explore our range of learning distance courses at Stonebridge Associated Colleges, then you can select from a series of online A Levels that we carry.
Access to Higher Education Diplomas
A common and widely accepted alternative to A Levels – especially for those who left school without them – is the Access to Higher Education Diploma. This qualification has been developed with adults wanting to return to education in mind.
The Access to HE Diploma (Medicine and Healthcare Professions) is designed to prepare you for a medical higher education programme at university. This is among our range of online healthcare courses that will give you foundational knowledge of the sector, which could help you in your pursuit of becoming a Doctor.
Our Access healthcare courses provide the perfect mix of academic education and study skills. During your studies, you will cover a range of modules, including the following:
- Cell Biology
- Atomic Structure
- Cell Division and Heredity
- Electromagnetic Spectrum
- Cell Metabolism
- Human Immunity
- Medical Physics and more!
In order to gain the qualification, you will need to complete all 19 units of our healthcare course, representing a total of 60 credits. With the course being taught 100% online, you may be wondering ‘can you do a healthcare course in one day?’ Well, not quite! Like A Levels, a diploma can be completed within 12 months, less if you can set aside a couple of hours a day for study.
If you opt to take the Access to Higher Education route into university, you don’t need study for any other qualification. This keeps the cost and time of study down to a minimum. The one thing to consider is not all universities accept an Access to HE Diploma. The vast majority do but check with the universities you wish to apply to in advance.
While our Medicine and Healthcare Access course is a valid option for learners hoping to become a Doctor or pursue healthcare management jobs, you may also want to consider another option. The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Health Professionals) is one of our learning distance courses that can guide you towards a prosperous career in healthcare. In fact, you could go on to study:
- Occupational Therapy
Becoming a Doctor takes plenty of commitment and drive, but don’t be disheartened if you decide to go in another direction once you have obtained your Access to Higher Education Diploma. There are various creative healthcare jobs that you can pursue, depending on the degree you study at university. Many of our learners have gone on to study the following degrees:
- Biomedical Science
- Paramedic Science
Enrol on Our Learning Distance Courses
Above, we have explained how you can become a Doctor without A Levels thanks to our Access to Higher Education Diplomas. So, if you want to kickstart this academic journey towards one of the most coveted healthcare jobs in the industry, then get in touch today!
You can speak to one of our Course Executives by calling 0121 392 8288 or by contacting us online. Alternatively, click below to discover the range of learning distance courses that will help you achieve your career goals!