What we hope to achieve with this article is to provide you with a detailed step-by-step process on how to pursue your career in medicine especially if you are unsure of which steps to take.
We shall go from covering the requirements and prerequisites to completing residency and becoming licensed.
So let’s dive in and explore what it takes to become a medical doctor.
Who is a medical doctor?
According to Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, a medical doctor is simply “a person who has been trained in medical science, whose job is to treat people who are ill or injured.”
The truth is that becoming a medical doctor is not an easy task, it takes so much commitment and most time it requires a passion for getting there.
However, it is a very rewarding profession and because you are dealing with lives, your services will always be in demand.
What are the steps to becoming a medical doctor?
1. Understand the requirements and prerequisites
The first box to tick on your journey of becoming a medical doctor is to understand what is expected of you.
To become a doctor, you are required to spend four years of full-time study to obtain a bachelor’s degree and while applying, you should show prerequisite coursework in English, biology, chemistry, physics, and maths.
Additionally, you are required to provide other application materials which include, an admission motivational letter, and letters of recommendation.
It’s important to give yourself plenty of time to complete these materials and to ensure that they are meticulously prepared.
2. Getting relevant experience
Medical students who are really passionate about their future are expected to participate in various related activities that will not only build their confidence but also add to their experience and give them an edge.
There are many related activities students can involve themselves in such as volunteering or shadowing healthcare professionals.
With your experience in the field, we can move to the next step which is to prepare and take the MCAT test.
3. Taking the MCAT test
The goal of the MCAT test is to assess your ability to solve problems in difficult situations, and your knowledge of the natural, social, and behavioral sciences.
There are many training platforms both online and offline that help to brush you up and give you the required confidence to take the test.
Once you feel confident in understanding the material and have taken several practice tests, you can conquer the MCAT and move on to the next step in pursuing your dream career in medicine.
4. Apply to a Medical School
The program is structured to allow students to have both classroom-based studies and clinical training, this helps to give the students hands-on experience.
After applying and submitting your application, if accepted, congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a medical doctor.
5. Complete Medical School and Graduate with an MD degree
After you have been accepted into your preferred medical school, it’s time to put in the hard work to earn your MD degree.
This involves extensive coursework, clinical rotations, and exams to become proficient in various medical disciplines, such as anatomy, pharmacology, and pathology.
Through this process, you will develop a deep understanding of the human body and its functions, as well as the skills and knowledge needed to diagnose and treat patients.
Once you graduate with your MD degree, you will be well-equipped to pursue a career in medicine.
6. Complete the Residency Program
Reaching this stage means that you have earned your MD degree, what you have to do next is to complete a residency program and become licensed.
A residency program is a well-designed training program that is available for recent medical graduates, it helps to put them under the supervision of experts within their chosen specialties.
The duration of this residency program can vary depending on your area of specialization but typically lasts between three to seven years.
7. Get licensed
After completing the residency program, you will need to obtain your medical license.
To process your license, first, you need to understand the requirements because they vary by state but typically include passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMPLEX).
Additionally, while processing your license, you may need to satisfy other requirements such as completing a background check, proving your citizenship or residency status, and paying a fee.
Once you have completed your residency and obtained your licensure, you will be ready to begin your career as a licensed physician.
Related: The 5 Best Medical schools in Kansas
Just as we have described, becoming a medical doctor is really not an easy feat, but with a clear roadmap, it is attainable.
By following the steps outlined in this article, it is only a matter of time, dedication, and hard work before achieving this rewarding and fulfilling career.
Remember that your future patients are counting on you to make a difference. So take it one step at a time, and don’t give up.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become a medical doctor in Canada?
To become a medical doctor in Canada, you will spend at least ten (10) years in the whole process, this includes both studies and residency.
Do you get paid for residency?
Yes, medical residents are actually paid for their work, although the salary will vary based on the year of residency and specialty.
How long does it take to become a medical doctor in the United States?
To become a medical doctor in the United States, you will need to complete a four-year undergraduate program, and a four-year medical school, you will also spend between three to seven years as a resident.
Therefore, it takes between 10 to 14 years to become a doctor in the United States.
How much does a doctor earn in Canada?
As an entry-level doctor in Canada, you can start with $44,805 annually, as you build experience over the years, the salary can go to about $299,546 annually.
The average doctor’s salary in Canada is $97,500 per year or $50 per hour.
How much are medical doctors paid in the USA?
As an entry-level doctor in the United States, your salary is around $209,190 annually, the average salary ranges from $181,121 – $233,989.
Which country pays doctors the most?
Switzerland has been listed as one of the most lucrative countries for doctors, the salary is quite good, as a general physician, you can get paid as high as about 13000 EUR per month.