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What are the steps to going into school and medical school.

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John’s Answer

Raeshell the educational process to become a heart surgeon, technically known as cardiothoracic or cardiovascular surgeon is 16-years, to pursue a career in this medical field is one of the longest out of all medical specialties. Cardiac surgeons must complete 4-years of college, 4-years of medical school, a 5-year general surgery residency and a 3-year specialized cardio or cardiothoracic fellowship. Cardiac Surgeons work at variety of settings such as hospitals, academic medical centers, community hospitals, private individual or group practices, medical clinics. These professionals also have to be on-call frequently.

UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE – Becoming a board-certified cardiac surgeon entails an extensive training process. The first step is completing 4-years of undergraduate school and fulfilling medical school prerequisites, such as courses in biology, chemistry, math, and physics. Some colleges and universities offer a pre-med major, but many schools may not. In those cases, students may consider majoring in a science-related field. These programs prepare you for medical school through classes in physiology, anatomy, and biochemistry. You may also consider accelerated medical programs that allow students to earn both a bachelor's degree and a medical degree in seven years instead of the typical eight. Graduates must take and submit the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) to be admitted to medical school, a minimum MCAT score of 501 is required.

MEDICAL SCHOOL – 4-years of medical school is required to earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. This training includes classroom and laboratory learning in the first two years and extensive work with patients under the supervision of one or more licensed physicians during the last two years. Along with practice in patient examinations and diagnoses, the student is often trained in acute, chronic, preventive, and rehabilitative care to provide a well-rounded medical education.

CARDIAC RESIDENCY AND FELLOWSHIP – After medical school, the you must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination to legally practice medicine in any state. As a licensed doctor your then required to complete 5-years in a general surgery residency followed by 3-years in a cardiac surgery resident or fellowship program. The distinctive cardiac training usually develops surgical skills that focus on a particular specialty, such as adult, pediatric, or thoracic cardiovascular surgery.

Hope this was helpful Raeshell
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Mary Jane’s Answer

Hi, Raeshell! In order to attend medical school, you need the proper classes and experiences. In high school, you should focus on taking as much math and science as you can in order to get a strong foundation for college. You might also explore the profession by volunteering and shadowing in medical settings. Chicago is a wonderful city for aspiring physicians because there are so many medical schools and many of them offer summer programs for high school students -- get on their websites and see what you can find!

In college, you'll want to take the required classes: intro biology and physics, general and organic chemistry, and calculus or statistics. You might also want to take courses in psychology, sociology, and biochemistry since all of those classes are tested on the MCAT, the exam required to apply to medical school. Make sure to use resources -- tutoring, office hours, study groups -- when you get to college. Cumulative and science GPAs are an important piece of your med school application, so the faster you figure out how to study and get help when you are struggling with challenging science courses, the less likely you will be to find yourself in a hole that you need to dig out of. Even very strong students find those college science courses challenging so don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

In terms of experiences, medical schools like to see shadowing and other clinical experiences (work, research, volunteering), community service, and leadership activities. Research is also valued, but the most important thing is to understand what the healthcare system is like, why you want to become a physician, and the impact you hope to have in your career. That all sounds like a tall order, but you have a lot of time to work on everything and if you have to work in high school and college, med schools are fine with you taking a couple of years after college to gain more experience before applying. Also, know that many colleges have a pre-medical advisor who can help you plan your steps as you work towards your goal. If you are looking at UIC for college, check out their Urban Health Program. They have an amazing advising staff!

Mary Jane recommends the following next steps:

Check out UIC's UHP (including Early Outreach high school program):
Tour 4 Diversity has amazing mentoring programs; follow their social media channels: