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Training Structure

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Standard Pathway

Doctors wishing to apply to for ENT training go through the common pathway of 2 years as Foundation doctor, followed by 2 years as a Core Surgical Trainee before starting as a registrar in an ST3 ENT training post. The ENT training programme normally starts at ST3 and is typically 6 years in duration, with an opportunity to take higher degrees such as Masters, MD, or PhD programmes in this period. Upon completion of the 6 years, trainees will receive the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT), and are eligible to apply for consultant jobs. Some trainees may also wish to pursue further subspecialist training in the form of fellowships, which may be taken abroad.

 The diagram below summarises the training structure in ENT


The Medical Careers website has a summary of Otorhinolaryngology as a career and the training pathway as well as lots of other useful information. Click here (www.medicalcareers.nhs.uk).

Run Through Pilot in Otolaryngology

This year a run through pilot training scheme is being introduced in some deaneries. Run through training is a programme whereby trainees appointed to ST1 posts in the specialty will continue through to ST8 and certification without further competitive interview or recruitment processes, provided they meet the requirements of the programme and curriculum. Trainees who have decided early in their training that they wish to pursue a career in Otolaryngology may benefit from the opportunity to undertake run through training.

For further information please click here

Foundation years

The ideal situation is to obtain an ENT themed Foundation post although it does not matter too much if you do not obtain such a post at this early stage. Your ranking determines whether you are successful in getting the job you want so work hard to ensure you have additional experience in order to maximise your chances of obtaining an ENT themed rotation.

Core training

There are 46 themed ENT CT programmes in the country but not all are occupied at any one time by ENT trainees. Some deaneries have themed posts whereby rotations useful for ENT training are grouped together.

Whilst undertaking core training, you should try and complete MRCS-ENT. This requires taking the MRCS part A and DOHNS OSCE. For further information on MRCS-ENT visit:


Specialist Training

There is a national recruitment process for a training number in ENT that takes you through specialist training from ST3 through to ST8. There are approximately 250 STRs in the UK at present.

The Centre for Workforce Intelligence has produced a document on the future of training numbers in Otorhinolaryngology. The purpose of this document is to make recommendations to inform planning for future medical training numbers in Otorhinolaryngology in England over the next few years.

Useful Links: 


Who is succeeding at ENT ST3?

Academic ENT Training Posts 

Doctors with an interest in academic medicine may wish to apply for Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACFs) in ENT. ACF posts are allocated 25% academic time, and 75% clinical time. The academic component is usually allocated in a block of several months. Many ACF trainees use this time to develop the basis for a PhD proposal. Doctors are eligible for this academic pathway after completion of Foundation training, with applications starting from FY2. Some ACF posts are run-through posts meaning there is no further competitive entry until the CCT in Otolaryngology is achieved.

Further information can be found on the Association of Otolaryngologists in Training (AOT) website http://aotent.com/careers.php.