Steps for Becoming a Doctor

Written by bryan schatz
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Steps for Becoming a Doctor
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Becoming a medical doctor requires significant planning, extreme dedication, and the fulfilment of several challenging steps. As a physician, your responsibilities can include examining patients, reviewing medical history, diagnosing and treating illnesses or injuries, as well as counselling patients throughout the process. In order to become a doctor, you will need to successfully complete several years of higher education and training, and you will be required to demonstrate the medical knowledge you have gained by passing the national medical licensing examination. In addition, you will need to obtain a license to legally practice medicine in your state.

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Undergraduate Degree

The first step in becoming a doctor is to earn a bachelor's degree in a health science or related field. Most "pre-med" undergraduates focus on the physical sciences, such as biology, microbiology, organic chemistry, and physics, while also fulfilling their general graduation course requirements.

Volunteer/Work Experience

Medical Schools like to see that their applicants have had significant volunteer or work experience interacting with people in a humanitarian/health setting. Many pre-med related undergraduate programs may also require you to complete an internship in which you will receive class credits for hours you have spent working with a local doctor or at a clinic or hospital.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

The MCAT is a standardised test that focuses primarily on the sciences, humanities, and social studies in relation to the medical field. You must take this exam in order to be accepted into a medical school in the United States. Medical schools will consider both your MCAT score and your undergraduate grade point average when considering you for admission.

Doctor of Medicine Degree and Residency

To earn a medical degree, you must complete four additional years of higher education after earning your bachelor's degree. The first two years are traditionally classroom-based; however, in the last two years you will work directly with patients in a supervised setting. During those two years, you will be exposed to many varieties of medical practice before choosing and starting a residency program. Residency is a paid training program in your chosen medical field of interest and affords direct work experience with patients. A residency can last anywhere between three and eight years, depending on the type of doctor you wish to become.


Upon successful completion of your residency, you will then become eligible to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Occasionally, board certification may also be required, depending on the type of specialisation you have chosen to pursue.

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