GP Specialty Training

Infographic CCT route to the GP registerThe first step to becoming a General Practitioner in the UK is to join the General Medical Council's (GMC) GP Register. For most UK graduates, this means completing a minimum of three years specialty training on a GMC approved programme, passing the MRCGP assessments and gaining a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).
For more information about a career in general practice, please visit the Choose GP webpage by Health Education England.

The RCGP is not involved in the recruitment of GP trainees. Applications to join a GP training programme in the UK are made through the GP National Recruitment Office (NRO)

Registering with the RCGP

Once you have been accepted onto a GP training programme and assigned a Health Education England (HEE) local office or deanery you can register with the RCGP. This will give you access to our Trainee ePortfolio. You and your educational supervisors can then record your training and assessments and monitor your progress through your programme.

Training and assessment

You will complete a minimum of three years full time (or the equivalent part time) of approved clinical training. This may be longer if you are accepted onto an academic programme, an ST4 year or are awarded an educational scholarship.

If you are completing a Broad-based training (BBT) programme or have applied to a Combined Training pathway (Accreditation of Transferable Capabilities or CCT Combined Programme), you are normally required to complete less time in a GP training programme. These programmes must be applied for at the time of application to GP training.

Throughout your training, you will document your progress in your ePortfolio and your HEE local office or deanery will hold an Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) to review your progress. The documentation from your ARCP Panels will be sent to us to ensure you are on track to meet the requirements for CCT.

You should check each ARCP form carefully before signing it off as this will help to avoid delays to your CCT. Amendments must be made through your HEE local office or deanery.

At the end of your training your HEE local office or deanery will hold a final ARCP Panel. This is to determine if you have gained the required competences for licensing and met the requirements of the GP training programme, including passing the MRCGP examinations. If you meet the requirements they will sign you off from training on your ePortfolio. If you have not met these requirements, the panel may award some additional training time.

You must use the CEGPR route to apply for entry to the GP register if you have been released from training and passed the exam out of programme. If you have passed an exam outside of training, please contact us so we can offer advice on the application pathways available.

Applying for a CCT

You must apply to both the GMC and RCGP for your CCT.

Step one

The GMC will invite you to apply to them in the last four months of your training programme. This will be via the email address the GMC hold for you.

Step two

When you sign your final ARCP form and press the "Apply for CCT" button in your ePortfolio, your application to the RCGP is automatic. We will then review your evidence to check you have met the requirements and make a recommendation to the GMC to award a CCT. 

Step three

The GMC will check our recommendation against your application to them and, if you are successful, will issue you with your CCT.

By law your name must be listed on the GP register before you can work in NHS general practice in any capacity. You must wait for your entry to the register before taking up employment.

You must also be included on the National Medical Performers List (NMPL) for the country in which you wish to work. There are separate lists for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, each health board runs its own performers list and there is no central list.

Guidance documents

Inter Deanery Transfers

The National Inter Deanery Transfer (IDT) process has been put in place to support medical trainees who have had an unforeseen and significant change in circumstances since commencement of their current training programme. The process is managed by the National IDT team on behalf of the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans (COPMeD), Health Education England (HEE) and all UK regions. 

Frequently asked questions

How do I apply for my CCT?

There are three steps in applying for your CCT:

Step one:

Within the last four months of your training, the GMC will invite you to apply for your CCT online and you can make your application at any point within the last few months of your programme.

Step two:

Within the last two months of your training, your HEE local office or deanery will hold your final ARCP Panel.  If they are satisfied that you have met all the required competences for GP licensing, you will be signed off from training and this will be documented on an ARCP form in your ePortfolio. Once you have signed the form, it will be sent to the GPSA team who will begin their checks to ensure that you meet the requirements for entry to the GP Register.

Please ensure that you also press the 'Apply for CCT' button on the 'Progress to Certification' page of your ePortfolio, as this notifies us that you wish to apply for your CCT.

Step three:

Once we are satisfied that all the evidence required to recommend you for CCT is present, we will notify the GMC. The GMC will issue your CCT during the last 10 days of your training programme if they have no other concerns.

How long is the CCT process now that I have signed off my final ARCP?

Once we have received all relevant documentation and your file is in order we aim to make our recommendation to the GMC within 15 working days.

Providing the GMC have received your completed application form, your CCT will be sent out no earlier than 10 working days before your end of training date and you will be placed on the GP Register on the final day of your training.

How will my GP training programme be constructed?

The GP training programme is usually three years in duration, or the equivalent if you are working less than full time. This may be longer if you are accepted on to an academic programme or an ST4 year.

At least 12 months of your GP training programme will be spent in GP posts and at least 12 months in secondary care posts. The remaining 12 months will usually be a combination of primary care, secondary care and integrated training posts. The allocation of training posts will depend on local availability. You can contact your HEE local office or deanery if you would like to request a change to your allocated rotations.

I have lost my JCPTGP certificate and need a replacement

Before 2005, the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP) was responsible for issuing certificates of completion of training. They were replaced by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) and these responsibilities were passed to the GMC in 2010.

Any questions about certificates issued by these three organisations should be directed to the GMC.

I passed my CSA/AKT exam outside of training. Can I still apply for a CCT?

If you do not complete all requirements of the CCT programme while you are within your training scheme you are no longer eligible to apply for a CCT. To gain entry to the GP Register, you will need to apply for a CEGPR.

If you have passed an exam outside of training, please contact us so we can offer advice on the application pathways available.

I want to leave my training programme early, can I still apply for CCT?

By law, a CCT can be awarded only to applicants who have successfully completed a GMC approved course of training. If you leave the training programme or training post without having successfully completed all assessment elements of the programme (including national professional exams) you will need to apply for a CEGPR.

What is BBT (Broad Based Training)?

Broad Based Training (BBT) involves two years of structured core training which is completed before entering specialty training. The two year programme is made up of six month posts in each of the following specialties: core medical training, general practice, paediatrics and psychiatry. Satisfactory completion of the programme allows direct entry to CT2 or ST2 level training in one of the four specialties.  

After BBT and subject to satisfactory progression, you can choose which of the four specialties they wish to continue to train in, without having to apply through competitive entry.
For general practice, you would enter the specialty training programme at the start of ST2. When the GP training programme is completed satisfactorily, you will be eligible for a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

Please note that the BBT route is currently only available for recruitment in Scotland and Northern Ireland. More information and details about how to apply can be found on the NHS Scotland or NIMDTA websites.

What is Combined Training and how do I apply?

The combined training pathways (ATC and CCT CP) allow trainees to apply to have some of their previous experience counted towards their GP training programme. Up to 12 months of previous training may be able to count towards the GP training programme if specific eligibility criteria are met. 

More information about combined training can be found here.

What will my end of training date be?

Please contact your HEE local office or Deanery if you would like your completion date to be calculated.

The GPSA team can also review your training if your HEE local office or deanery are unsure if it will meet the requirements for CCT.

When will I receive my MRCGP certificate?

If you are an AiT, you will gain automatic membership to the RCGP (MRCGP) after your CCT has been awarded by the GMC. You will usually receive your membership certificate once the GMC notify our membership team that you are on the GP register. 

If you are not an AiT and would like to become a member of the College after completing GP training, please contact our membership team.

For more information, please see our Membership page.

Why haven’t I received my CCT?

If you have not yet received your CCT and you are expecting to, please ensure that you have completed steps one and two as listed in the 'How do I apply for my CCT' FAQ. 

If you are still experiencing a delay, it is likely that we are waiting for some information from your HEE local office or deanery. Please contact us so we can tell you the reason for any delays to your application and how you may be able to help to resolve them.

Will I need to make up absence from my training programme?

If you are progressing satisfactorily, short absences up to a maximum of 14 days per ST phase (pro rata) may be permitted before the time is expected to be made up. 

For more information about how absence from training should be managed, please see our guidance on Managing Time out of Training [PDF].

Will my programme meet the minimum requirements for CCT?

In order to qualify for CCT your training programme should include:

  • A minimum of three years (36 months) whole time equivalent of approved training posts. Please note that the academic component of an academic training programme cannot contribute to the requisite three years of training
  • At least 12 months whole time equivalent in a range of hospital posts
  • A minimum of 12 months whole time equivalent in GP posts
  • All hospital/Integrated training posts should be at least three months in duration. However, we may be able to accept posts that are shorter than this if sufficient learning is demonstrated and the rest of the programme is broad and balanced. The validity of these posts is determined by your ARCP Panel and, if necessary, our Clinical Lead
  • Posts in any specialty other than GP should generally not exceed six months unless there is an acceptable reason.

If you are unsure if your programme meets these requirements, please contact us and we can review it for you to ensure that you are on track to achieve your CCT.


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