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Doctor of Medicine - MD

If you like taking care of people and are interested in diagnosing and treating illnesses, a career as a Doctor of Medicine might be a good choice for you. Read more about the responsibilities and earnings of medical doctors here, as well as how much education you'll need to enter the field.

Is Becoming a Doctor of Medicine for Me?

Career Overview

A Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) diagnoses and treats illnesses, diseases and other ailments. Doctors can work as general practitioners or specialize in pediatrics, gynecology or other areas. While many doctors work in offices or clinics, they sometimes tend to patients in a hospital as well. You'll need to be prepared to work irregular and long hours if you become an M.D.

In addition to extensive formal education, doctors need to keep up with medical advances and new treatments. Continuing education will also be required throughout your career.

Employment and Salary Information

Medical doctors have some of the highest earning potential of all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In May 2013, pediatricians had a median annual income of $157,610, while family and general practitioners earned $176,530. As reported by the BLS, opportunities for doctors and surgeons were expected to increase by 18% nationwide, or faster-than-average, between 2012 and 2022. Although growth was expected all over the U.S., prospects for doctors may be greater in low-income and rural regions (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a Doctor of Medicine?

Education Overview

It usually takes a minimum of ten years of education and training to become a doctor. In addition to a bachelor's degree, you must complete medical school and a medical residency.

Undergraduate Training

A bachelor's degree in biological science or chemistry may allow for a concentration in developmental biology or genetics. Most biology degree programs include courses in anatomy, chemistry, cellular biology and physics, regardless of your specialization.

Medical School

In general, medical school includes a combination of classroom learning and clinical practice. Medical courses often include topics in human genetics, human development and microbiology. Later on, you'll also take part in clerkship rotations, which can help you decide which specialty you want to pursue. You'll also participate in a residency interview.

Licensing

After finishing your formal education, you'll have to become licensed in the state where you wish to practice. You can take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination after you complete medical school. While every state requires medical doctors to obtain a license, each one has its own requirements. If you specialize, you may pursue board certification after residency training.