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last updated:30/08/2023 @ 3:34 pm
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Prospective trainees

I want to train to be an occupational medicine consultant

Doctors working in occupational medicine enjoy an exceptional variety of opportunities for professional fulfilment. Some of the most interesting career paths and the most exciting activities are reserved for specialist consultants and the primary way to becoming an OM consultant is to join the specialty training programme as a Specialty Registrar (StR).

How do I become a Specialty Registrar in occupational medicine?

Specialty training in occupational medicine starts at ST3 level and takes four years full-time. The basic criteria for entry are outlined in the person specification, as published by Health Education England.

CCT – your experience on entry can be matched exactly to the person specification, so you have completed at least the required initial training in one of the following specialties: surgery, psychiatry, acute medicine (2 years), general practice (3 years), public health (Phase 1), anaesthetics or ACCS (anaesthetics), radiology and paediatrics.

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How do I enrol?

Mirroring consultant career opportunities, training posts in occupational medicine are distributed across the NHS, industry and the armed forces. All candidates are assessed by the same standards, but the application processes are different.

Train in the NHS – the National Recruitment for occupational medicine is managed by the National School of Occupational Health and groups together all NHS ST3 vacancies. The process runs twice a year, usually in February and August, and the National Occupational Medicine ST3 listing is published via NHS Jobs. The process outline and the breakdown of available posts are viewable in the details of this group listing. It is highly recommended that you sign up for the NSOH newsletter through their website and/or contact them at NationalSchoolOccHealth@hee.nhs.uk

Train in the industry – industry employers are free to advertise their training vacancies according to their preference, but most use BMJ Careers. Any industry candidate will be required to attend a National Recruitment interview for benchmarking to ensure consistent standards.

Train with the Armed Forces – the Armed Forces manage their own recruitment process, although their candidates are also required to attend a National Recruitment interview for benchmarking to ensure consistent standards.

What happens once I’ve been offered a training post?

Your local LETB will issue your National Training Number and you will need to register with FOM – please click here to fill in the M1 registration form .

Your training will take four years full-time and involve two examinations (Part 1 MFOM and Part 2 MFOM), a research project (e.g. dissertation, substantial audit) and workplace-based assessments. The best source of information on the technicalities of postgraduate specialty training, including less-than-full-time training (LTFT), is the Gold Guide.

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The Diploma in Occupational Medicine

The DOccMed is a valuable non-specialist qualification in occupational medicine. If you choose to undertake the Diploma before entering specialty training, it will provide you with a desirable additional item in your application portfolio, valuable introductory experience, and you will be exempt from the Part 1 MFOM exam.

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How much does it cost?

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ Cost of Training publication outlines the mandatory training costs for all specialties. For occupational medicine, these include:

  • Enrolment fee (one off payment)
  • Trainee membership subscription (annually for duration of training)
  • Examination fees for MFOM Part 1, Part 2
  • Dissertation assessment fee

Details of the current fees can be found on our subscription and fees page.

Whilst there are no further mandatory fees, research indicates that approximately 70% of specialty trainees also choose to undertake an MSc or Advanced Diploma in occupational medicine or occupational health. These courses are offered by a number of UK institutions and, at time of writing, prices vary from £4,000 to £12,500. Sitting an MSc or Advanced Diploma is a matter of personal choice and is not mandated by the FOM. As such, we cannot offer any further advice on the suitability of such courses.

Following completion of training, there is an admission fee to confirm Membership with the FOM. This again is detailed on the subscription and fees page.

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Further reading – BMJ Careers article

In 2014 Dr Abeyna Jones, then a new OM trainee, and Professor John Harrison, Head of the National School for Occupational Health, wrote an article for BMJ Careers outlining the recruitment, training, and career opportunities in occupational medicine.

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