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How do you become a medical doctor?

After undergrad and receiving your bachelor’s degree, do you continue to grad school then med school? Or after undergrad, you go straight to med school? #doctor #medical #college #medicine #premed

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John’s Answer

How to Become a Physician or Surgeon - see website www.bls.gov/ooh, use search handbook

Physicians and surgeons may work in a medical specialty, such as cardiology, dermatology, pathology, or radiology.
Physicians and surgeons typically need a bachelor’s degree as well as a degree from a medical school, which takes an additional 4 years to complete. Depending on their specialty, they also need 3 to 9 years in internship and residency programs. Subspecialization includes additional training in a fellowship of 1 to 3 years.

Education
In addition to requiring a bachelor’s degree, physicians and surgeons typically need either a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. No specific undergraduate degree is required to enter an M.D. or D.O. program, but applicants to medical school usually have studied subjects such as biology, physical science, or healthcare and related fields.

Medical schools are highly competitive. Applicants usually must submit transcripts, scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and letters of recommendation. Medical schools also consider an applicant’s personality, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. Most schools require applicants to interview with members of the admissions committee.

Some medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 to 8 years. Schools may also offer combined graduate degrees, such as M.D.-Ph.D., M.D.-MBA, and M.D.-MPH.

Students spend the first phase of medical school in classrooms, small groups, and laboratories, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, and in the laws governing medicine. They also gain practical skills: learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.

During their second phase of medical school, students work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and clinics. They gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses through clerkships, or rotations, in a variety of areas, including internal medicine, pediatrics, and surgery.

Training
After medical school, almost all graduates enter a residency program in their specialty of interest. A residency usually takes place in a hospital or clinic and varies in duration, typically lasting from 3 to 9 years, depending on the specialty. Subspecialization, such as infectious diseases or hand surgery, includes additional training in a fellowship of 1 to 3 years.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states require physicians and surgeons to be licensed; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty.

Licensure requirements include passing standardized national exams. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). For specific state information about licensing, contact your state’s medical board.

Board certification in a specialty is not required for physicians and surgeons; however, it may increase their employment opportunities. M.D.s and D.O.s seeking board certification in a specialty may spend up to 9 years in residency training; the length of time varies with the specialty. To become board certified, candidates must complete a residency program and pass a specialty certification exam from a medical certifying board. Examples of certifying boards include the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).

Important Qualities
Communication skills. Physicians and surgeons need to convey information effectively to their patients and to other healthcare workers. They also must be able to dictate or write reports that clearly describe a patient’s medical condition or procedure outcome.

Compassion. Patients who are sick or injured may be in extreme pain or distress. Physicians and surgeons must treat patients and their families with understanding.

Detail oriented. To ensure that patients receive appropriate treatment, including medication, physicians and surgeons must be precise in monitoring them and recording information related to their care.

Dexterity. Physicians and surgeons must be agile and sure handed, especially when working with extremely sharp medical instruments.

Leadership skills. Physicians and surgeons must coordinate with a team of other healthcare workers to manage patient care or direct medical procedures.

Organizational skills. Good recordkeeping and other administrative skills are critical for physicians and surgeons in both medical and business settings.

Patience. Physicians and surgeons must remain calm and tolerant when working with patients who need special attention, such as those who fear or ignore medical treatment.

Physical stamina. Physicians and surgeons may spend many hours on their feet, including walking between patient visits or procedures. Surgeons may spend a great deal of time bending over patients during surgery.

Problem-solving skills. Physicians and surgeons need to evaluate patients’ symptoms to determine appropriate treatment. In some situations, such as emergencies, they may need to analyze and resolve crises quickly.
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Cameron’s Answer

Hi Leetsy! Once you've graduated from undergrad, there are many paths you can take to medical school. Some include:

1. Going straight to medical school
2. Going to graduate school to obtain your Master's or PhD before medical school
3. Taking a few gap years to work, volunteer, or travel before going to medical school
4. Attending a post-baccalaureate program to improve your science skills before going to medical school

There is no single correct path to medical school; it all depends on you and your goals!
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Dante’s Answer

Yes. You will need to complete a Masters degree and PhD program with the goal of being a doctor.

Depending on the type of doctor you are looking to be will determine what will happen after you pursue your Masters degree.
Thank you comment icon Hello Dante! Thank you for your answer but I believe it is more so geared towards other areas such as being a doctorate not a medical doctor as a medical doctor requires an MD or DO degree from medical school. Have a nice day! Yasemin G.
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Yasemin’s Answer

Hi Leetsy! After Bachelor's you go to medical school, many students can complete a Master's to improve their grades/competitiveness for their application process, maybe take time off and pursue work for financial reasons but it is not necessary. Usually students apply their junior year to medical school because it takes a year of matriculation. I would advise to check out AAMC.org and AACOMAS for more information on MD and DO medical doctor programs. PhD is for doctorate-- they are not medical doctors but are doctors in other areas like Psychology for example. I hope this helps!

Let me know if you have any more questions about pre-med/applying to medical school!
Best of luck!
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Kess’s Answer

Hi Leetsy! Good question!!

1. Complete high school

2. Research what college you want to go to for your bachelor's degree. Most medical schools will consider any degree as long as you've completed the prerequisites for the med school. Make sure to take some classes that you enjoy as well! Med schools want to see well-rounded applicants with passions outside of medicine, not someone who just checked the boxes.
(I have a bachelor's in biomedical science with minors in chemistry and sociology, and my friends in medical school have English, Russian history, and Psychology degrees.)

3. Take as many classes as you can for your degree at your community college to save money (but make sure they transfer to a university)! Apply for financial aid through FAFSA. Some community colleges have programs to get you from that community college and into a nearby university.

4. Apply for and graduate with at least a bachelor's degree. Some people opt for a Master's degree such as in Public Health but it is not required.

5. Prepare for and take the MCAT (medical college admissions test).

6. Prepare for and apply to medical schools (both MD (medical doctor) and DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine) can be surgeons, doctors on in hospitals, etc). Also, depending on where your interests lie, maybe consider Podiatry.

7. Complete 4 years of medical school (the first 2 years are book learning, second two years are clinical rotations). Licensing exams are done after the 2nd year of medical school and another after the 3rd year. Then the 3rd one is done during residency. I am unsure of how podiatrists do their licensing.

8. Apply for and attend the residency - another few years of training depending on specialty. (Take your 3rd major exam here.) If you really want, you can then pursue a fellowship to advance your knowledge of a specific area; this is usually another 1-2 years of training.

GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT!!!
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