How to Become a Specialist in Ireland

Postgraduate Training in Ireland


Structured postgraduate medical training in Ireland is provided by the medical postgraduate training bodies who are accredited by the Medical Council of Ireland.

Postgraduate training is specifically designed to address the needs of junior doctors who have successfully completed their internship. It provides a career pathway towards achieving specialist registration.

The career path for a doctor trained in Ireland ideally should follow structured training route from the point of entry to medical school to certification as a specialist (e.g. GP; Orthopaedic Surgeon; Gastroenterologist, Pathologist, Obstetrician, Public Health Specialist etc.)

Details of the number of posts available for each specialty and the corresponding competition ratio for the Recruitment Process for 2016/7 are now available.

There are two training routes in Ireland that trainees can follow upon completion of the intern year The route that you  take depends on the specialty you wish to pursue.

Route 1:   Basic Specialty Training Programmes + Higher Specialist Training

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Medical School Intern Year Basic Specialty Training Higher Specialty Training

Basic Specialty Training

  • Enter immediately following successful completion of intern year
  • Competitive entry
  • Duration 2 years
  • Senior House Officer (SHO) level
  • Rotate to a different SHO post every six months, giving you exposure to a range of different subspecialties

Specialties available to train at Basic Specialty Training level are :
General  Paediatrics
Histopathology
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
General Internal Medicine

Higher Specialty Training Programmes

  • Enter following successful completion of Basic Specialty Training
  • Competitive entry
  • Duration 4-6 years
  • Specialist Registrar level
  • Required to undertake a number of complementary courses that help trainees to develop the management and analytical skills needed to provide excellent patient care
  • Rotate through pre-arranged posts in your chosen specialty every twelve or six months.

Specialties available to train at Higher Specialist Training Level are:
Cardiology
Chemical Pathology
Clinical Microbiology
Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Dermatology
Diagnostic Radiology
Endocrinology
Gastroenterology
Genito-Urinary Medicine
Geriatrics
Haematology
Histopathology
Immunology
Infectious Diseases
Medical Oncology
Nephrology
Neurology
Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Occupational Medicine
Paediatrics
Palliative Medicine
Psychiatry                                                                                                                            Public Health Medicine
Radiation Oncology
Rehabilitation Medicine
Respiratory Medicine
Rheumatology

Following successful completion of higher specialist training doctors are then entered on the Specialist Division of the Medical Council Register and can practice independently as a specialist.  At this time you are eligible to apply for a consultant post in Ireland.

Route 2 – Streamlined Training

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Medical School Intern Year Streamlined Training

Streamlined training programme are generally entered immediately following the intern year

  • Competitive entry
  • Duration 6-8 years
  • Required to undertake a number of complementary courses that help trainees to develop the management and analytical skills needed to provide excellent patient care
  • Rotate through pre-arranged posts in your chosen specialty every twelve or six months.

Specialties with streamlined training are:

Anaesthesia
General Practice
Cardiothoracic Surgery
Otolaryngology
Plastic Surgery
General Surgery
Urology
Trauma & Orthopaedic Surgery
Neurosurgery
Paediatric Surgery
Ophthalmology
Emergency Medicine

Following successful completion of a streamlined training programme you are then entered on the Specialist Division of the Medical Council Register and can practice independently as a specialist. At this time you are eligible to apply for a consultant post in Ireland.