1) College. When you graduate from high school, you will start by going to college to ultimately get a 4-year degree. You can start at a community college and transfer to a larger one later if you like! You can actually get any degree you like there, however you'll need to take a set of college classes that are together called "pre-med". Mostly this is a lot of biology, chemistry, and physics!
2) Medical School. After you graduate from college with your degree, you will take the MCAT (it's like the SATs) and go to a medical school! These can take 4 years as well, and usually the first 2 years will teach you a lot about all kinds of medicine in the classroom. In your second two years, you get to do what's called a "rotation" where you spend time with different doctors that work in different medical fields. Surgery is one of those fields, but you'll also get to see a bunch of other stuff like helping children or people sick with diseases. During those 2 years you'll decide which field you like the most (maybe surgery!) or you can decide that you want to be a general practitioner which is like your doctor you go to for checkups.
3) Residency. After you've graduated from medical school and you've decided on your speciality, you will get matched to a hospital where you can start helping people and can be called a doctor (although you're not done yet)! A residency is usually 3-years and acts like on-the-job training - you are actually helping patients but you're working with more experienced doctors that help you out. These doctors-in-training are called "residents".
Once you have completed your residency you'll be a full fledged doctor!
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The 7 Steps to Becoming a Doctor: A Complete Guide
Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Feb 9, 2020 10:00:00 PM
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Medicine is one of the most challenging yet rewarding fields a student can enter. But before you decide whether becoming a doctor is right for you, it's important that you know every step you'll have to take along the way.
Here, I'll walk you through exactly how to become a doctor, starting with high school. This career is definitely not for everyone—it requires huge investments of time, money, and effort—but if this path is right for you, this guide is what you should read to start preparing yourself early for a successful career as a doctor.
What Is the Career Outlook for Medical Doctors?
Medicine is a super competitive and rigorous field: doctors have a lot of responsibility and must spend tons of time and money on their training. Healthcare is also a growing field, which means that the demand for doctors will continue to increase in the coming years.
As long as you do all the necessary steps below, you shouldn't have any issue finding a job as a doctor.
Let's take a look at the career outlook for physicians and surgeons using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
2018 Median Pay: Greater than or equal to $208,000 per year
Job Growth Rate (2018-28): 7%, which is a little faster than the current average growth rate of 5%; this means that there will likely be an increase in demand for doctors
Note that pay and job outlook can vary depending on what type of doctor you want to be, so if you have a particular specialty in mind (such as dermatology or rheumatology), I encourage you to do your own research on that field's projected career outlook.
To lend you a hand, we've created the following chart, which presents the median salaries and job outlooks for various types of doctors (arranged in order of highest salary to lowest):
Type of Doctor Median Salary (2018) Job Growth Rate (2018-2028)
Anesthesiologists ≥$208,000 4%
Obstetricians and gynecologists ≥$208,000 2%
Psychiatrists ≥$208,000 16%
Surgeons ≥$208,000 1%
Family and general practitioners $201,100 10%
Physicians and surgeons, all other $200,890 8%
Internists, general $194,500 4%
Pediatricians, general $170,560 2%
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Become a Doctor: 7-Step Career Path Overview
Becoming a doctor is a pretty complex, multi-step process. Here are the seven major steps we'll be covering in more detail below (you can skip around by clicking the links to each step):
Step 1: Do well in high school
Step 2: Get into a great college
Step 3: Take the MCAT (and get a good score)
Step 4: Apply and get into medical school
Step 5: Attend medical school and pass your boards to become a licensed doctor
Step 6: Choose your specialty and complete your residency
Step 7: Take and pass your final boards to practice independently