Studying medicine can take anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on the specialty you choose.
You can study to become a doctor online, in a classroom or a library, for a few years or for decades.
- An online bachelor’s degree, or just a high school diploma (without a college prep class)
- A medical school bachelor’s degree
- A medical school major
How do you become a doctor?
Becoming a doctor is a highly competitive process. A lot of people are accepted to medical school, but it’s a good idea to apply early before you’re too far behind.
A school that is a good match for you and your goals is likely to accept you. But you’ll need to take the MCAT and sit for the USMLEs.
How do I find out if I’m a good candidate for medical school?
If you’re considering applying to medical school, it’s important to find out if you’re a good candidate.
Take the MCAT
The MCAT is a standardized test that’s given to medical school applicants every year. It’s broken down into four sections:
- Verbal Reasoning
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Quantitative Analysis
- Written Communication
The test is scored for each section. The score for each section is analyzed to determine if you’re a good fit for medical school.
The Medical College Admissions Test is also called the MCAT.
It’s a four-hour test that takes place in a single day. You can take the test at your school or at a testing center.
Many people get a score that’s high enough after taking the test that they’re allowed to take the USMLEs. But if you’re not, you’ll need to retake the test.
The USMLEs are standardized tests that you take to see if you’re ready for medical school.
They’re given by the National Board of Medical Examiners. They’re offered every year, and they can be taken at a testing center or at your school.
To take the USMLEs, you must first get a score on the MCAT.
You will take the test more than once. You can retake it as often as you need to.
Take the USMLEs
You’ll take the USMLEs first and retake the MCAT later.
When you take the USMLEs, you’ll be given a score for each section. These scores are compared to the MCAT scores to determine if you’re a good fit for medical school.
If you’re not a good fit, you’ll need to retake the MCAT.
After you take the USMLEs, you can take the rest of the steps to become a doctor.
What happens if I get into medical school?
If you do get into medical school, you can expect to spend a lot of time on med school.
You’ll get an education on the basic sciences, such as anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry. You’ll learn how to work with patients and do patient care. You’ll also learn how to write reports and write for the board exams.
You’ll also learn how to make diagnosis, prescribe medications, and make treatment recommendations.
After med school, you’ll take a series of exams to become a doctor.
After you’ve completed all of your schooling, you can apply for one of the following specialties:
- OB/GYN: Obstetrics and gynecology
- Family Medicine: Family medicine
- Internal Medicine: Internal medicine
- Pediatrics: Pediatrics
You can become a doctor in as little as two years or as long as you want.
There are a lot of different paths for becoming a doctor.
If you’re not sure what route you want to take, you can always take the route that feels most suited for you.
It’s normal to want to become a doctor for a long time. It can take years to find the right path.
But don’t wait too long. It’s not unusual to have to wait a lot of years before you find a good match.
Take a look at the career paths for doctors.
What is the average medical school education?
There are different types of medical school, like:
- Doctor of Medicine (MD)
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)
- Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM)
To become a doctor, you must do the following:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree
- Pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
- Take the USMLEs
- Complete a residency
The amount of time it takes to become a doctor varies depending on where you go to medical school.
The average for MD degrees is 10 years. For DO degrees, it’s 8 years. For DPM degrees, it’s 7 years.
Depending on your goals, you can take as little or as long as you want.
For example, if you want to become a doctor and you want to be a general practitioner, you can take fewer years.
If you want to specialize in internal medicine, you can take more years.
How much do med school graduates make?
Med school graduates can make anywhere from $100,000 to $400,000 per year in the United States.
That’s based on the type of medical school you go to.
For example, MDs in the United States typically make between $200,000 and $400,000 per year.
You can expect to earn more if you go to a medical school that’s more competitive.
How much does a medical school graduate make depends on a few factors.
Your medical school’s prestige tends to affect your salary.
Other factors that affect your salary include:
Your age. You’ll make less if you’re under the age of 21.
Your location. You’ll earn more if you live in a metropolitan area.
Your sex. You’ll make less if you’re male.
Your personality. You’ll earn more if you’re extroverted.
In addition, your specialty can affect your salary.
For example, if you go to a research-oriented MD school, you may earn more.
What’s the outlook?
There’s no guaranteed path to becoming a doctor, but you can take steps to make the most of your career.
Take time to think about the steps that you need to take to become a doctor. It’s important to know what you want and what you can do.
There are a lot of different paths to becoming a doctor, and it can take years to find the right fit.
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