GP specialty training

To become a General Practitioner in the UK, you can apply to join a specialty training programme. 

Recruitment to the GP training programme is managed by the GP National Recruitment Office (NRO). You can find more information about a career in general practice, on NHS England’s Choose GP webpage.

Once you have been accepted onto a GP training programme and assigned a regional training office or deanery, you can register with the RCGP. This will give you access to the Trainee Portfolio where you and your educational supervisors can record your training and assessments and monitor your progress through your programme.

On successful completion of the training programme, you can apply for a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) and apply to join the General Medical Council (GMC) GP Register.

Training and assessment

Your training programme will usually include three years of approved clinical training, or the equivalent part time. Some regions offer longer programmes that include academic work, fellowships or an ST4 year.

If you have relevant experience or training prior to joining GP training, you can apply for some time to contribute towards the training programme through a combined training pathway.

During the training programme, you will complete clinical posts in a range of specialties relevant to general practice. Each post will last between 3 and 6 months, and your final year will usually be spent in general practice. Most training programmes include 18 to 24 months of general practice posts with the remaining time spent in relevant hospital or integrated training posts. Your posts and programme will be managed locally by your training team.

Throughout your training, you should use your Trainee Portfolio to document your learning and progress towards completing the GP curriculum and capabilities for general practice. 

As part of the training programme, you will also need to successfully complete the three components of the MRCGP:

•    The Applied Knowledge Test (AKT)

•    The Simulated Consultation Assessment (SCA)

•    Workplace Based Assessment (WPBA)

Your deanery assessment team will regularly review your training and progress through an Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) and confirm when you are ready to move to the next stage of training. The outcome of each ARCP will be documented in your Trainee Portfolio for you to review and sign. Your deanery will confirm your planned end of training date following each ARCP.

General Practice Specialty Training Guidance

Our specialty training guidance gives information about the GP training programme, including programme construction, assessments and more.

Read the CCT specialty guidance in full
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Applying for CCT

In the last few months of your training programme the GMC will invite you to apply online for your CCT and your deanery team will hold a final ARCP to determine if you have gained all the capabilities required for independent general practice. 

Your application will be sent electronically to the RCGP when you sign the ARCP outcome form in the Trainee Portfolio. Please allow 15 working days for your application to be processed. When we have all the evidence required to recommend you for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), we will notify the GMC. 

If you have submitted your online application to the GMC, your CCT will be sent out within 10 days of your training completion date, and you will be placed on the GP Register on your final day of training. You do not need your physical certificate to confirm GP registration. This can be done on the GMC website. 

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

You must also be included on the Performers List 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.

If you do not complete all requirements for CCT within your training programme you are no longer eligible to apply for a CCT. 

If you have passed an exam outside of training, please contact us so we can offer advice on GP registration.

Frequently asked questions

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.

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.

If you are an AiT and complete the CCT programme, your membership with the college will be upgraded to Member and you will automatically receive an A4 membership certificate free of charge.

The certificate displays your College membership, rather than proof of you passing an examination, and is only valid while your membership remains in good standing. MRCGP certificates are currently printed monthly and can take up to 4-6 weeks after you complete training to be delivered. 

Further information and an order form for a frame can be found in membership and renewals under ‘Member Certificate’.
If you are not an AiT and would like to become a member of the College after completing GP training, please visit our website or contact our Member Services team for more information.

Please allow 15 working days for your application to be processed.

If you have not yet received your CCT and you are expecting to, please ensure that you have signed your final ARCP form and applied for CCT in the Trainee Portfolio and have also applied to the GMC for your certificate. If you are still experiencing a delay, please contact us.

Please refer to Section 3 of the CCT specialty training guidance for information on how absence from training may impact your training completion date.