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Welcome to the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency

We are an Arm’s Length Body of the Department of Health and our primary role is to recruit and train postgraduate medical and dental professionals to serve the patients of Northern Ireland.  

NIMDTA strives to ensure that trainees are listened to, supported and provided with high quality training and opportunities.

We support trainees with the aim of maximising their potential to successfully progress, complete training and be appointed to permanent posts in NI evoking the HSC Values of openness and honesty, compassion, excellence and working together.

We are also the leading employer for Doctors and Dentists in training within Northern Ireland.

For further information regarding our organisation, please visit The Role of NIMDTA


Planning Your Medical Career

It is never too early to start planning your career pathway and experiences in dental and medical school can help with decisions about postgraduate training.

For medical graduates who have reached the Foundation stage, important career decisions have to be made after only 18 months of the 2-year training period.  It is important to have a clear knowledge of the choices regarding availability of training programmes, their entry requirements, the application process, interview skills, the structure of the programmes and the career prospects on completion.

You may also wish to consider the scope for flexibility during training such as less-than-full-time training and enhanced opportunities such as research, educational and leadership fellowships which may be combined with training programmes.


Career Education and Guidance

NIMDTA wishes to equip and support trainees to make informed decisions about career choices.  Much of the career support will come from within your training programme both from supervisors and lead educators.  Most of the Royal College and Faculty websites have dedicated career resources with information on career opportunities, training pathways and recruitment processes.

Foundation doctors have the opportunity to attend a Generic Skills session in Career Decision Making.  The iQuest programme for Speciality Trainees includes a number of career topics including CV development and Applying for a Consultant Post.  The NIMDTA news page will highlight other opportunities such as the Peer Interview Scheme. E-learning for health ( has modules which support career planning.

If you wish to avail of one-to-one guidance, this may be accessed through the NIMDTA Professional Support Unit (PSU).  In addition, the PSU can signpost to mentoring schemes which also support career progress through individual personal and professional development.

On completion of your undergraduate studies and at the beginning of the Foundation Years, there appears to be a bewildering choice of medical career options available.  In the hospital medical specialties there are over 50 different specialties to choose from!

As a starting point, it may be useful to consider the following factors which apply to your own personality, skills and qualities:

  • Your own strengths and weaknesses
  • Your abilities, skills and interests
  • The type of patients you see yourself working with
  • Do you see yourself in a hospital or community setting?
  • What sort of colleagues would you like to work with
  • The overall length of training to CCT
  • The opportunities for research?
  • Work/Life balance
  • The age of the patients
  • Do you want direct patient contact at all?
  • Do you want to treat patients holistically or be very specialised?
  • Do you like interventional procedures e.g. endoscopy or cardiac catheterisation?
  • Look at the competition and availability of the posts
  • You may want less-than-full-time training or a shared job
  • Do you feel comfortable dealing with uncertainty?
  • Are you attracted to a multidisciplinary team?
  • Would you enjoy supporting other specialists e.g. in radiology
  • Salary prospects
  • How your specialty might develop over the next 10 years
  • Work intensity


REDI Model

One approach you may wish to consider is the REDI model:

  • Review your experience, skills and qualities
  • Explore the specialties which attract you
  • Decide
  • Implement your application


The following websites are also available to help in your self-assessment and choice:


It is essential to look carefully at your own abilities and personal qualities before choosing a specialty.  Academic ability is only one factor, and you may have valuable feedback from appraisal or your e-portfolio and assessments from your trainers in the Foundation Programme.

There are many ways to get information about future careers:

  • Network with the undergraduates of Foundation Trainees above you to learn their experiences and gain their advice on specialties
  • Visit the websites above and the Royal Colleges websites
  • Organise a short taster in a specialty which interests you
  • Request a 4 month rotation in a specialty which interests you during your Foundation programme
  • Attend the undergraduate and postgraduate careers fairs or events
  • Speak to your UG teachers or professors, clinical supervisors and arrange a meeting with the Heads or Deputy Heads of School through NIMDTA. These names are on the Hospital Specialty pages of the NIMDTA website.




Quick Links:

Dental Training

Foundation Training

General Practice Training

Hospital Specialty Training

New to Northern Ireland