Doctors can either specialize in a certain area such as surgery or pediatrics or work in primary care, but regardless of the field, the main responsibility of doctors is to diagnose as well as treat ailments by properly examining the patients, coming up with the best treatment plan and prescribing medication. It is also very important to keep the medical records of every patient treated. Doctors can also analyze test results by other physicians as well as perform operations. However, becoming a doctor involves extensive education and training that depends on the type of doctor one is training to become. This article outlines a step by step guide on how to become a doctor:
How to become a doctor
Get a bachelor’s degree
Prospective doctors are not required to pursue any specific majors during the undergraduate program to enroll in medical school. However, a student who wants to become a doctor should focus more on science and science-related courses such as Biology, Physics, and Chemistry. There are also some universities and colleges that offer pre-medicine track which includes courses such as physiology and anatomy.
Take a medical college admission test
Medical schools are very competitive, and for any person to join, he or she is required to take the medical college admission test; MCAT. This is a standardized and multi-choice exam that covers problem solving, writing, critical thinking and scientific principles. One is expected to perform well in the test in order to be accepted into the medical school of choice.
Enroll in medical school
Medical students should choose either to pursue a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O) or a Doctor of Medicine (M.D) degree. The both programs are almost the same, but a degree in D.O involves training in osteopathic manipulative medicine. Students spend four years in medical school completing academic coursework and gaining experience by doing practical work in school laboratories. During the first two years, medical students should complete the following courses:
- Medical law and ethics
During the last two years in medical school, the students participate in clinical rotations where they are required to gain experience in clinics and hospitals. They learn how to practically diagnose and treat patients under the supervision of licensed physicians.
Complete a Residency
After graduating, future doctors enter a residency program in hospitals that last for about 3-8 years depending on one’s specialization. Residencies give the graduates an opportunity to treat patients under the supervision of more experienced doctors.
Get a license
All doctors should have a medical license to be able to practice in any medical facility. Licensing requirements vary from one state to another, but it often involves passing a national standardized exam covering topics in patient care, medical concepts, and management in ambulatory settings.