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A Speciality and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctor is a doctor who has the same clinical experience as a consultant, but has not completed specialist training. They also do not possess a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). A specialty doctor will have at least four years clinical experience and at least two years’ experience in their specialty. They are placed at the same career level as a registrar.  

A viable alternative to becoming a consultant or GP, a career as a SAS doctor can be very fulfilling.   There are many different reasons for choosing this path as a long- or short-term career option. 


There is an opportunity to focus predominantly on providing direct patient care. This means that there is less emphasis on the other clinical and non-clinical responsibilities required of a consultant or trainee, such as administrative functions. There are often opportunities for SAS doctors to be involved in teaching, service development, research or management and leadership.  

This may suit doctors such as those from overseas who have experienced difficulty gaining access to a training post, or they may have a portfolio career. For example, they may have several distinct roles. The work/life balance as an SAS doctor are usually more regular. 


A graphic to show the medical education training pathway




Doctor injecting a knee joint mannequin in a training workshop

(Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration)

The Dudley Group is proud to support our SAS doctors undertaking the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) Fellowship. The CESR is the route to specialist registration for doctors who have not completed a GMC-approved programme, but who are able to demonstrate that their specialist training, qualifications and experience are equivalent to the requirements for the award of the CCT in the UK. CESR holders can apply for substantive consultant posts in the UK. 

We provide educational supervision for selected doctors who wish to go through the process in the form of: 

  • providing guidance regarding the application process 

  • meeting with the candidate on a regular basis and annual planning 

  • supporting candidates in gaining the necessary experience for their application and validating documentary evidence; 

  • assisting with the arrangement of secondments and rota changes to enable candidates to meet the evidence requirements of the curriculum 


SAS and specialty doctor charter and SAS doctor development document links

The Royal College of Physicians have worked alongside the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, NHS Health Education England, NHS Employers and the British Medical Association (BMA) to produce the following documents:

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
Strengthening the role of SAS Tutor

Below are some useful website links that can help and support your training.
Resources for SAS doctors

Royal College of Physicians
SAS doctors

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges
SAS doctors

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