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what does it take to become a Doctor ?

How do you become a doctor, how much is starter pay, what's the best and worst part about your job, how many years of schooling is required, and is it hard work to get there?

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Subject: Career question for you

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Bhavna’s Answer

Hello Andre,


It takes hard work and dedication to become a doctor. The exact amount of schooling required to become a doctor varies depending on the type of doctor you are aiming to be. Typically, becoming a doctor requires at least 11 years of schooling after high school, which includes a bachelor's degree, four years of medical school, and three to eight years of residency.

Starting pay for a doctor is dependent on the specialty, location, and other factors. However, a general rule of thumb is that an entry level doctor will make an average of around $120,000 to $200,000 per year.

The best parts about working as a doctor are being able to help people and make a real difference in their lives. Also, the job provides a great amount of intellectual challenge and satisfaction in being able to successfully complete complicated tasks.

The worst parts about working as a doctor are the long hours and high stress levels. As a doctor, you may also be required to deal with difficult family situations and even death, which can be emotionally draining.

Ultimately, becoming a doctor requires hard work, dedication and many years of schooling. Although it can be a difficult job, it can also provide immense satisfaction and fulfillment.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
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Fred’s Answer

I am not a doctor, but my understanding is:

high school degree (4 years)
college degree (4 years)
med school (4 years)

At this point, it varies. You will most likely have to do a residency or fellowship, which can be another 3-5 years (or more). If you want to sub-specialize, it may be another 2-3 years.

Starting pay will vary depending on what field you are in, what location you are in (New York will probably pay more than Iowa), and if you are in private practice, part of a group, or work at a university/teaching hospital.

I don't know anyone who became a doctor who DIDN'T say it was hard work, but then most also said it was worth it.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Andre'
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Kess’s Answer

Hi, Andre'!

These are great questions!

Great question! You'll need to complete medical school to become a doctor then residency. Here is the general breakdown:

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. You might want to consider an undergrad degree in something like Sports Physiology, Anatomy, BioMedical Science, or others. 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.

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

6. Prepare for and apply to medical schools (MD (medical doctor) and DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine) and podiatrists are all physicians).

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 residency - another 3 or more years of training. (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. For example, this could be an orthopedic surgeon who then specializes only in knees and ankles.

GOOD LUCK! YOU CAN DO IT!!!



As for pay, it varies. Plastic surgeons make the most at about $575,000 per year. General pediatricians make an average of $224,000 per year.

Kess recommends the following next steps:

For more information on compensation: https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2022/04/19/physician-compensation#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20primary%20care%20physicians,2021%20and%20%24346%2C000%20in%202020.
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