How to Become a Doctor

The role of a doctor is complex, challenging, and ultimately rewarding.

When you become a doctor, you will be working to make people healthier.

This may consist of diagnosing and treating diseases, providing health advice, or prescribing medicines.
If you are interested in health and science, have a strong aptitude for study, and enjoy working with people, then you might find a career in medicine fulfilling and rewarding.

Education Requirements to Become a Doctor

Becoming a doctor can be competitive, you’ll need excellent grades in high school as well as college to be accepted into further study, and later into an internship program.

The educational path to become a doctor is a long one, and requires at least 11 years of education.

You’ll need to start by completing a three or four year Bachelor Degree with a focus on premed.

You’ll then need to attend a medical school for four years, and then spend a minimum of three years as an intern and resident in a hospital.

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Some specialties take further study also.

Premedical students will study subjects such as biology, anatomy, physics, mathematics and chemistry.

It’s a good idea to take a volunteer job at a local hospital or clinic so as to gain some experience, at this point.

This may help you gain selection into medical school and internship later on.

After college, you will need to take the Medical College Admission Test.

You entry into medical school will be based on these score, your college transcript, along with consideration to your personality, leadership qualities, and any other
relevant information.

The first two years of medical school are spent in the classroom, where you will gain a wide range of knowledge.

The second two years are mostly spent under supervised practice in a teaching hospital.

After medical school, you will spend a year as an intern in a hospital, then a further 2-6 years as a resident, depending on your specialization.

All doctors in the US must be licensed within the state they practice in.

In most places you will be required to complete an exam before registration.

You can find useful information at the American Medical Association website.

Doctor Job Description

A doctor works with a patient to diagnose illness, provide treatment, prescribe medicines, and give health advice.

Most doctors work in hospitals or private clinics.

Some of the tasks of a doctor could

  • Communicating with a patient
  • Taking a patient history
  • Checking a patient’s vital signs
  • Ordering, performing, and analyzing tests
  • Diagnosing illness
  • Prescribing medicines
  • Preparing a treatment plan
  • Giving advice on health
  • Following up on patient progress

Doctors who work in hospitals may be required to work long hours, as well as shifts at night, on weekends, as well as on holidays.

Those who work in clinics may find themselves working less hours.

Doctor Salary and Career Path

There are many different areas and roles a doctor may specialize in.

Here are some of the common areas of specialization that a doctor may work in:

Family and General Practitioner – The local doctor that people will see when they are feeling ill or would like some health advice.

You might see your doctor if you had the flu, or were thinking about losing weight, or quitting smoking.

Pediatricians – Pediatricians work exclusively with children, either in hospitals, or in small private clinics.

General Practitioners also treat children.

Surgeons – Surgeons perform operations, for instance, removing an appendix or setting a broken bone.

Other Specialists – With further study, a doctor can move on into other specializations.

The employment prospects for a doctor are strong, it is predicted that there will be shortages in many areas of medicine in the coming years.

The median salary of a general practitioner is around $185,000 a year.

A specialist could earn as much as $330,000 a year.

The pathway to become a doctor is a long and demanding one.

To be successful, you’ll need to be a hard worker with a strong ethic.

If you have a true passion for health and medicine, it is likely that you will
enjoy your career.

While it may be a long road, doctors have a rewarding job and high level satisfaction.

They also earn a large salary in line with their study, responsibility, and very broad knowledge and skills base.

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