The Career Stages of a Doctor in Singapore

The Career Stages of a Doctor in Singapore

Being a doctor is a noble profession. You need to spend several years in medical school and finish training programs in order to be a qualified specialist.  

In fact, Singapore is known for its outstanding reputation when it comes to world class medical education and research. 

That said, it may leave you wondering what it’s like to be a doctor. So in this guide, we’ll talk about the career stages of a doctor here in Singapore. 

What is a doctor? 

A doctor is a licensed medical professional that practices medicine to help the restoration of human health, both physically and mentally. 

Doctors are certified to prescribe medications and give treatment plans to patients as well. In addition, this is one of the most complex and respected professions in the world. 

You can even choose your own specialisation and be a thyroid specialist, liver specialist, or breast specialist—your choice!

How can you be a doctor in Singapore?

To be a doctor in Singapore, you need to finish a bachelor’s/medical degree first. Then, you can continue by passing exams, training, and residency programmes. 

On one hand, all employed medical professionals are managed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in their respective hospitals. The institution provides several types of medical registration as well. 

You must meet the overall criteria set by the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) too. Once eligible, you can now be employed in any healthcare institution here.

Medical School Training Based on Top Medical Schools in SG

Due to Singapore’s innovative teaching and methodologies, these top medical schools below offer the best medical training in the country:

YearNUSDuke-NUSDuke-NUS MD - PhD*
2012“A” levels / IBBachelor’s DegreeBachelor’s Degree
2013Year 1MD Year 1MD Year 1
2014Year 2MD Year 2MD Year 2
2015Year 3 (Clinical)MD Year 3 (Research)PhD
2016Year 4 (Clinical)MD Year 4PhD
2017Year 5 (Clinical)GraduatePhD
2018Graduate-MD Year 4 (i.e. no Year 3)
2019--Graduate
Total:5 years4 years6 years

*New residency programmes are subject to change without prior notice

Note: Years stated above are only an illustration

What are the career stages of a doctor?

They say that studying medicine is a challenging task. The only way to survive these life stages is to work hard from start to finish.

The table below shows those stages, starting from the years of medical school down to the fruitful years of retirement: 

YearsStageEnd-pointAnalysis
4 - 6MedicalMedical DegreeQualified to call yourself a “Dr.”
1House OfficerFull SMC RegistrationCertified to set-up a clinic or space as a General Practitioner
3 - 5Medical Officer (non-trainee)Finish bondCan officially quit without being called a “bond breaker”
3 - 5Medical Officer (trainee)Post-grad DegreeEquipped to wear a black name tag and add letters at the end of your name
2 - 4RegistrarPass exit examYou can call yourself a “specialist” now
The golden yearsConsultantRetired at age 65Relaxation time; to enjoy years worth of your labour
Years after retirementEmeritus ConsultantWill be remembered as a successful professional; special parking spot reserved at the hospital

Medical school is a journey. In the end, everything will be totally worth it once you’ve got that hard-earned “doctor” in your name. 

More Resources About Medical Professions in Singapore