There are many people who think of becoming a doctor, but they are not aware of the hardships and hard work that they need to go through in the process. There are some who do have a strong determination of entering the medical field, but after knowing about the studies, practicalities, and responsibilities in the medical field, they prefer to take their step back. For those wondering how long does it take to become a doctor, you need to remember that becoming one is no joke, and it certainly takes several years. You may have sleepless nights, and wonder if it is really worth all the efforts and hard work.
The decision of becoming a doctor is generally not a very easy one, since it needs a substantial amount of time as well as money to achieve. If you are thinking of choosing a medical career as a doctor, you are required to go through four years of college, four years of medical school, and three to eight years of residency preparation. So typically, it may take 12 - 15 years to become a doctor.
Related High School Education
If you are thinking of the qualifications to become a doctor, the initial step should be decided when you are in high school. For this purpose, you are required to be the best in school by getting good grades, taking several science courses such as physics, chemistry, biology and math; and even volunteering at nursing facilities, hospitals or doctors' offices.
Obtaining a Bachelor's Degree
After you have completed your high school education, you need to step forward for holding a bachelor's degree. You need to make sure that you apply to the right college. You are required to study subjects which are related to biology, organic chemistry, inorganic chemistry, etc. A fair knowledge in these subjects would really help you in your study at medical school later.
Taking the MCAT Exam
The next very important step is to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which is a conventional test that is helpful in evaluating the knowledge of problem solving, scientific principles and concepts, written analysis, writing skills, and critical thinking. You need to make sure that the school which you are applying to is reputed and recognized.
Gaining Admission in a Medical School
If you are uncertain about the application process, you may avail the services provided by several medical school application services who will carry you through the process smoothly. The main determinants which will allow you to gain entry into a good medical school are the MCAT scores and Grade Point Average (GPA). You might even be called for an interview by the medical school. For this interview, you need to be well prepared for all possible questions asked. To complete the medical school education, you may require four years, out of which two would include of rotations and the other two would consist of schoolwork.
Types of Medical Schools: Before gaining admission into any medical school, you need to choose which school is appropriate for you; allopathic or osteopathic. The former type offers students a Doctorate of Medicine (M.D.), whereas the latter offers a Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). It is important to know that a D.O.'s way of working will be slightly different from that of an M.D. He would give more significance to treating the whole patient and taking preventive care, instead of just treating illnesses and symptoms.
Undertaking the Residency Training
The next step is to undertake residency training, a program which centers on a certain medical specialty. The period that you might take for completing this training predominately counts on the kind of specialty you opt for. Thus, the time taken to become a doctor cannot be answered at this point of time. The training's first year is called internship.
Obtaining License to Practice
After successful completion of the residency training, you need to obtain the license for practicing medicine. When it comes to getting a license for this purpose, the rules and requirements vary from state to state. Generally, it takes approximately 60 days for receiving the license after applying for the same. If you have any doubts regarding licensing, you need to get in touch with your respective state's medical board.
I hope the above article has informed you in general regarding becoming a doctor, the ways to go about it and the approximate time frame that might be required.