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what it takes to become a doctor?


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Ana Maria’s Answer

Hello!


Being a doctor is very rewarding and a huge privilege. Doctors care for all types of people, striving to make their bodies and minds healthier so their lives are better. It is a very special career.


Becoming a doctor takes a lot of schooling first of all, which means it takes a lot of time and money to get to the point where you are practicing independently. However, if you like science, specifically biology, chemistry, and physiology, then you will enjoy your studies through out. And, most doctors end up making a decent salary to help pay off those student loans. There are also lots of scholarships out there to help along the way. I did not have a rich family or help from my parents, and I made it!


First, most people go to college after medical school. In addition to making good grades, you will also need to take (and ace!) the MCAT (medical college admissions test) exam. Each medical school is different, but most are also looking for applicants that have multiple interests and who have community service or leadership skills. Medical school is 4 years. Most schools have lecture-based education in the first 2 years and start a more clinical focus in the last 2 years, although every school is different and these things change. For specifics, look up a school you find interesting and cruise their website.


After medical school comes internship. Internship is 1 year and can be in several different specialties depending on the program to which you apply. After intern year, comes residency. Residency is where you study your specialty of interest, for example, surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, etc. Depending on which specialty you choose, determines the length of time you spend in residency. As examples, family medicine residency programs are 3 years and neurosurgery programs can be up to 8 years long!

Ana Maria recommends the following next steps:

Look up admissions requirements for medical schools
Look up scholarships available for people going into healthcare
Volunteer in your community, maybe at a hospital or clinic. This is a nice way to get involved in your community but also a good way to see if you are interested in helping people with their healthcare issues.

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Richard’s Answer

In the US, to apply to medical school, you need a bachelor's degree. Any 4-year university should suffice.

Pick a college that suits your personality and a major that interests you. You will need to get good grades in college in order to apply for medical school. At the medical school I attended, the average GPA is reported to be 3.85, so even one or two B's can hurt your chances of acceptance.

Aside from this, any major is acceptable as long as you complete the prerequisite courses.

Typical medical school prerequisites include:
Biology: Lecture – 4 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
General Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Organic Chemistry: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Biochemistry: Lecture – 1 semester
General Physics: Lecture – 2 semesters; Lab – 1 semester
Math: Statistics – 1 semester
English: Rhetoric (Composition) and Literature – 2 semesters


During college study for and complete the MCAT. Apply to medical schools during your last year of college.

Medical school takes 4 years to complete.

After medical school physicians complete a residency for additional training. These can last 3-6 years and are sometimes followed by an additional year or two of fellowship subspecialty training.

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Rachel’s Answer

4 years of college and 4 years of medical school.

Major in whatever field interests you and will allow you to maintain an excellent GPA. I majored in Spanish literature and had no trouble with my med school applications. You do need to complete the pre-med requirements, preferably with A’s. These include at least a year of biology, 1 year inorganic chemistry, 1 year organic chemistry + labs, physics, calculus, and biochemistry. Your junior year, you will need to take an MCAT study course prior to taking the MCAT. With a solid GPA and MCAT score, you should be a competitive med school applicant.

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Estelle’s Answer

Grit, determination, & persistence are important characteristics to help you succeed on the path to completing medical school & residency. It is a long road with a lot of hard work, but the career is extremely fulfilling. Do not give up! Good Luck!

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