The Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom, in association with the Specialist Societies, has developed a programme to deliver Specialty Certificate Examinations within the training structure. The purpose of the Specialty Certificate Examinations is to:
- ensure that certified specialists have sufficient knowledge of their specialty to practice safely and competently as consultants
- complement workplace-based assessments
- provide a rigorous national assessment to establish public confidence
- offer a challenge similar to sub-specialty certification examination in North America.
For information on how you can further your career with the SCEs please see:
Specialty Certificate Examinations - Qualifications to broaden your horizons
Place of Specialty Certificate Examinations in Training
A Specialty Certificate Examination is now a compulsory component of assessment for Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) for all UK trainees whose specialist training began in or after August 2007 and is in one of the following specialties: Dermatology; Endocrinology and Diabetes; Gastroenterology, Geriatric Medicine; Infectious Diseases; Medical Oncology; Nephrology; Neurology; Palliative Medicine; Respiratory Medicine and Rheumatology.
For UK trainees who started CCT training to the new AIM curriculum on or after 1 August 2009 the SCE in Acute Medicine will be the mandatory knowledge-based assessment. For those appointed to programmes prior to the introduction of the AIM curriculum and who are still following the curriculum for GIM(Acute) the SCE remains optional though trainees may take it if they wish.
The Specialty Certificate Examinations meet requirements for knowledge-based assessments that are a part of the curricula submitted to the General Medical Council (GMC) by the Specialist Advisory Committees (SACs). UK trainees who have completed MRCP(UK) would normally take the Specialty Certificate Examination during higher specialist training, and should have made at least one attempt by the time of their penultimate year assessment. The Specialty Certificate Examination is a prerequisite for attainment of the CCT.
In spring 2006, the Joint Committee on Higher Medical Training carried out a pilot study to assess the validity and reliability of Specialty Certificate Examinations. Following the success of this pilot, development of Specialty Certificate Examinations has taken place under the aegis of the MRCP(UK) Central Office and the first assessment took place in spring 2008.
For details of the pilot study see Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board (JRCPTB).
Role of Specialty Certificate Examinations
The Specialty Certificate Examinations play an essential role in the overall educational experience and continuing professional development of trainees in the UK. They also provide a professional standard against which physicians working outside the UK can measure their level of attainment. They are designed to assess a candidate’s knowledge and understanding of the clinical sciences relevant to specialist medical practice and of common or important disorders to a level appropriate for a newly appointed consultant.
The aim of the Specialty Certificate Examinations is to:
- identify those practising trainees who have acquired the necessary professional knowledge and problem-solving skills to enable them to practise independently as specialists
- evaluate the professional competence of medical graduates during specialist training in areas such as clinical science, epidemiology and statistics.
For further information regarding the Specialty Certificate Examinations please contact the office at: firstname.lastname@example.org