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Subspecialty training and ATSMs: FAQs

Answers to frequently asked questions about ATSMs and subspecialty training


If I’ve started an ATSM before starting subspecialty training, can I complete it?

Yes. In general, the RCOG and Deaneries will support you if you want to complete an ATSM that you started before entering subspecialty training. You should discuss this with your subspecialty training programme supervisor and your deanery ATSM Director.


If I’m on a subspecialty training programme, do I need to undertake ATSMs to obtain my CCT?

Owing to time constraints, subspecialty trainees are discouraged from undertaking ATSMs. ATSMs are primarily for trainees who wish to pursue special interest training rather than those aiming for a subspecialty career. Subspecialty trainees don’t need to complete two ATSMs to gain their CCT, as the GMC will recognise your subspecialty certificate instead of two ATSMs.

However, as a subspecialty trainee, when you register for your subspecialty programme you’ll be automatically registered for the ATSM that relates to your subspecialty interest. There’s no additional cost. You’ll need to demonstrate attainment of competences in the ATSM related to your subspecialty interest in addition to your subspecialty curriculum.

In the unlikely event that you fail to fully complete your subspecialty training, this process of registering for your related ATSM will allow you to complete the module; you would then have to complete only one further ATSM to to gain your CCT.  It would be expected that you would have sufficient training time to achieve this.


Can I register for and undertake an ATSM during subspeciality training?

It’s not usual to start ATSMs during subspecialty training, owing to the time pressures of the subspecialty programme. However, there may be exceptions when your subspecialty training programme director will support you undertaking an ATSM as well. For example:

If you wish to undertake an ATSM during subspecialty training:

  • Discuss the benefits with your subspecialty training programme director and ensure you have their full support
  • Meet the Deanery ATSM Director to check whether it’s possible to undertake the ATSM locally
  • Confirm when it would be possible to undertake the ATSM and who your ATSM Preceptor would be
  • Ensure you have support from your Head of School or Deanery Specialist Training Committee Chair

Please bear in mind that the ATSM Director has overall responsibility for ensuring ATSMs are allocated equitably for all senior trainees – and in particular those for whom it’s mandatory to complete two ATSMs.


How do I register for an ATSM during subspecialty training?

Once you have all the necessary support:

  • Complete the ATSM registration form, available from How to register for an ATSM, which your ATSM Educational Supervisor, ATSM Preceptor and ATSM Director will need to sign
  • Submit the completed form to the RCOG, together with a letter of support from your subspecialty training programme supervisor and the Head of School/Deanery Specialist Training Committee Chair and the appropriate registration fee
  • The Chair of the RCOG’s Subspecialty Committee reviews all applications for ATSMs within subspecialty training


Find out more

If you need any help or advice, please email the Advanced Training Coordinator at or call +44 20 7045 6789.


Elsewhere on the site

Assessment of training
Information about sign-off of competencies, workplace-based assessments, ARCPs and more
Resources and support for trainees
Training guidelines, advice, useful resources and sources of support for trainees