Interested in becoming a doctor? Learn about the requirements for becoming a licensed doctor. It involves several years of education and experience. This guide will provide you with the five steps to start your career as a doctor.
Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree
The first thing you need to do is go to college and earn your bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is required for entrance into medical school. Applicants must have an educational background, experience in the healthcare sector, and a foundation in the natural sciences.
While it’s not required to take a specific major, medical school applicants are encouraged to complete coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. You can gain experience by volunteering at local clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare environments. This is a great way to find out if you want to become a doctor before you commit yourself to medical school.
Take the Medical College Admissions Test
Once you earn your bachelor’s degree, you should take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). This test is required by nearly all medical schools across the country. Areas that you will be tested on include biology, general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. The MCAT is a standardized exam that tests your problem-solving, verbal reasons, and writing skills.
Individuals interested in pursuing medical school are allowed to take the MCAT three times in a given year. If you pass the test, you’re well on your way to medical school. If you really want to pass, then you should take the MCAT prep course. There are a wide variety of ways to prepare for the MCAT. One of them involves taking prep courses online, some of which are free.
Earn Your Medical Degree
Medical degree programs typically last four years. The first two years of the program involve classroom and laboratory work. During the last two years, you’re required to work directly with patients under the supervision of licensed doctors. You’ll learn about anatomy, biochemistry, medical terminology, pathology, pharmacology, and physiology. You’ll also learn about the legal issues and the practice of medicine.
You’ll also undergo several clinical studies that you’ll participate in your third year. These studies touch upon a variety of subjects such as medicine, neurology, and radiology. These clinical studies allow you to determine which residency you’d like to pursue after graduation. After graduating from medical school, you’ll embark on your residency program.
Complete a Residency Program
Students are given the opportunity to work directly with patients in several areas of medicine. Some of these specialties and areas include anesthesiology, emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and psychiatry. You’ll be responsible for a wide variety of duties such as compiling medical histories, developing problem lists, and performing physical exams. A residency program can last between three and seven years.
Obtain Licensure & Get Certified
All 50 states require doctors to become licensed before practicing medicine. Aspiring physicians are required to graduate from a medical school before obtaining licensure. You must also complete your residency program and pass several exams. For more information on licensure, individuals should contact their state’s medical board.
Certification isn’t required like licensing is, but it can lead to more opportunities. A certification can demonstrate the knowledge that a physician has in a specific area of medicine. You will undergo a series of assessments and evaluations by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to obtain your certification. It’s also required to pursue continuing education for recertification.