Schooling for Doctors

Review the steps to becoming a doctor. Check the admission requirements for medical school, and explore what you'd learn as a med student. Read about the licensure, residency and certification process for doctors. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aspiring doctors have some specific educational requirements, but also a range of choice within those requirements. See what programs are available to you, how your education will progress, and what will be covered each step of the way by reading the article below.

What Kind of Schooling Do I Need to Become a Doctor?

The most common path to becoming a medical doctor is earning a Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree. Medical school programs typically require four years of full-time study after completing your undergraduate education. However, some colleges offer programs that allow you to complete your training in less time by combining your undergraduate and medical school educations into 6-7 years. You'll then typically need 3-8 years of internship and residency training at a medical facility.

What Are the Requirements to Apply for Medical School?

Most medical schools require at least three years of college in order to apply, but earning a bachelor's can make you more competitive. You'll have to complete specific undergraduate coursework in biology, physics, inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry before you can be accepted. Medical schools will also look at your undergraduate grade-point average, your Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores, letters of recommendation and extracurricular activities.

What Will I Learn in Medical School?

Generally, the first two years of medical school are academic in nature, spent in classrooms and laboratories learning about the sciences, such as physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, pathology, immunology and epidemiology. The next two years of medical school will expose you to a range of different medical specialties and settings. You'll go through several clinical rotations, working in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, internal medicine, surgery and family medicine. While in medical school, you'll begin taking the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which is a 3-step process required to earn your medical license.

Which Schools Offer A Doctor of Medicine Degree Program?

Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs can be completed through the medical schools at numerous universities. Listed here are a handful:

  • Duke University provides a Doctor of Medicine degree program
  • University of Minnesota delivers a Doctor of Medicine degree program
  • Tufts University has a Doctor of Medicine degree program

What Happens After Graduation?

Once you graduate from medical school and pass the USMLE, you'll be a licensed medical doctor who is legally qualified to practice medicine. However, if you want to practice a medical specialty, such as psychiatry or surgery, you'll need to enter a residency program to gain additional education, clinical skills and on-the-job training. Residency programs are paid and can vary in length from 3-8 years, depending on your specialty. You may then decide to pursue optional board certification in your specialty by passing an examination given by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). You may also choose a subspecialty if you wish and go on to complete 1-2 years of fellowship training after completing your residency.

Which Schools Offer Residency Programs for Medical Doctors?

Residency programs in medical areas are common at diverse institutions, including the following schools. Most schools will offer a wide variety of residency options; just a few are listed below:

  • University of California San Diego houses a General Surgery Residency, a Neurosurgery Residency and a Urology Residency, among others
  • Texas A&M University has a Family Medicine Residency and a General Preventive Medicine Residency
  • Pennsylvania State University hosts a Pediatric Residency, a Dermatology Residency and a Pathology Residency, among others

If you're looking to become a medical doctor, pursuing a Doctor of Medicine is your best option and can be done at a wide range of universities. From there, you can explore residency programs to increase your knowledge and help you specialize in a certain area of medicine.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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