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How would I become a doctor?

I’m 14 and I’m a freshman how would I become a doctor how many years of collage is there anyway I could get some scholarships being a freshman.

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Subject: Career question for you


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Doc’s Answer

Hailee if dreaming of becoming a doctor plan on a minimum of 7 years of additional training AFTER earning a 4-year college degree. Yes, you read that correctly. A minimum of 11 additional years after high school. That being said, some specialties require even more training than that.

Admission to medical school is highly competitive; therefore, anyone making plans to become a doctor should prepare themselves as much as possible by taking what are considered ‘pre-med’ courses. These are mainly science courses such as chemistry, biology, physics, etc. While there are no “required” courses or degrees to get into medical school, students would benefit from taking these courses to prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).

Yes, there’s more school. The next four years consist of post-graduate training in medical school. Generally speaking, the first two years are spent in the classroom, learning coursework and participating in labs. Years 3 and 4 are spent in clinical rotations at both a ‘home’ hospital and at ‘away’ hospitals. During this time, you'll begin to practice the necessary skills to become a successful physician.

Finally done with school, our official (in name only) doctors, start their residency. While still considered part of their education process, this is really hands-on training for you. Depending on your chosen specialty, residency lasts anywhere between three to seven years.

Hope this was helpful Hailee

Doc recommends the following next steps:

The best way to find scholarships or internships is to use a personalized search, like Fastweb, that compares your student profile with a database of awards. Only those awards that fit your profile are identified as matches. Fastweb has the largest, most accurate and most frequently updated scholarship database.
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Scott’s Answer

Hi Hailee. I agree with all that Doc said. The only information/opinions I would add is that you are young and I suggest that while you do need to show your ability to handle science and math studies, you explore many different areas to find where your true interests lie. You might find for example you are more interested in biomedical research rather than being a doctor or who knows, perhaps you'll discover you have a love of music and head in a totally different career direction. The same concept applies to college studies. While there are required courses (1 year each of biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics and mathematics), it is not necessary to major in those areas, but whatever you choose, medical schools will want to see you had a rigorous course of study. Being a doctor is a wonderfully rewarding profession so I wish you good luck and remember to enjoy the ride!
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Paul’s Answer

You start by developing a strong desire to help others in a very significant way, and recognize that there will be some personal sacrifices along the way. You work hard in high school to make the best grades you can so that you can go to the best college you can get in to. It can help if. You can get a summer job connected to medicine because it both gives you some money and also gives you a taste of what the medical world is like. Then you go to the best college you can get in to and again work as hard as you can. You will need to take all the science courses in the pre-medical curriculum but you also will profit from as many liberal arts courses as you can fit in. Summers again should be devoted to work in a medically related field if you can find it. Toward the end of college you need to start searching for where you might go to medical school. Currently there are some schools which offer scholarships, and you will want to seek them out, but recognize that they are highly competitive. I would sum this all up as a requirement for intense drive and desire plus the ability to cultivate self discipline. If you can manage this you can be successful in any field.

Paul S. Treuhaft, MD, MA
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Hailee,

Embarking on the Journey to Become a Doctor: Your Step-by-Step Guide

Embarking on the journey to become a doctor requires dedication and a specific educational pathway. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate this journey and achieve your dream of becoming a doctor.

Laying the Foundation in High School

Your journey begins in high school. As a freshman, it's crucial to challenge yourself with courses in science, mathematics, and other related subjects. Strive for a high GPA and engage in extracurricular activities to make your college applications stand out.

Stepping into College Education

Once you've graduated from high school, the next step is to earn a bachelor’s degree. While there's no specific major required for medical school, most pre-med students often choose biology, chemistry, or related fields. Striving for academic excellence during your undergraduate studies is key.

Tackling the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Before you can apply to medical school, you'll need to conquer the MCAT. This standardized test measures your understanding of scientific concepts and problem-solving skills. A competitive MCAT score is a vital stepping stone to medical school.

Venturing into Medical School

After successfully completing your bachelor’s degree and the MCAT, you're ready to apply to medical school. This four-year journey combines classroom learning with clinical rotations across various medical specialties.

Entering the Residency Program

Upon graduating from medical school, you'll step into a residency program. Here, you'll receive specialized training in your chosen field of medicine. The length of residency programs can range from three to seven years, depending on your chosen specialty.

Securing Licensing and Certification

Once you've completed your residency, you'll need to secure a medical license by passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). You may also choose to pursue board certification in a specific medical specialty.

Exploring Scholarships and Financial Aid

Even as a high school freshman, it's never too early to start exploring scholarships. Numerous organizations offer scholarships specifically for students pursuing careers in medicine. Researching and applying for scholarships can help ease the financial load of a medical education.

In conclusion, the journey to becoming a doctor demands commitment, perseverance, and a significant investment of time and effort in education and training. By striving for academic excellence, preparing for standardized tests, and seeking out financial aid opportunities, you're well on your way to achieving your dream of becoming a doctor.

Top 3 Authoritative Reference Publications or Domain Names Used in Answering this Question:

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) - AAMC offers comprehensive information on the medical school application process, including details about the MCAT and medical education.
Khan Academy - Khan Academy provides free resources for MCAT preparation and guidance on pursuing a career in medicine.
U.S. News & World Report - U.S. News & World Report offers rankings and insights into various medical schools and educational programs.

May You Be Blessed Abundantly,
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Hailee:

Physicians and Surgeons are similar in their responsibilities and duties in taking care of patients and in dealing with hospital staff and medical personnel. The main difference between the two professionals is that Surgeons operate on patients whereas Physicians do not. Physicians diagnose patients and treat their medical conditions. Operations performed by Surgeons can be treating injuries like broken bones, removal of diseases like tumors and cancers, deformities, etc.

While in high school, one will need to focus on science and math classes to prepare to be a Physician or a Surgeon. Chemistry and biology will be the core science courses. For math, algebra, calculus and statistics will be needed. Both concentrations will enable you to focus and refine your analytical skills for research; complex problem solving; investigative and innovative critical thinking; attention to detail; etc.

Other skills that will need to be built upon center around team building, team work and communication. In any work culture, collaboration among team members, staff and partner departments occur on a daily basis. As a Physician or a Surgeon, communication is essential and critical when dealing with hospital staff and patients. A college course in Public Speaking, Communication and English will help with one's communication and writing skills.

To become a Physician or a Surgeon, a Bachelor Degree in Biology, pre-med or another science related field has to be earned at a college or university. Afterwards, a doctorate degree from an accredited medical school has to be obtained. The next phase will be training through a medical residency as well as medical certification and licensing.

For education and training, it will take up to 14 years to become a Physician or a Surgeon. The Bachelor Degree will be between 4-5 years. Medical school will be another 4-5 years. Medical residency, medical certification and licensing can take up to 3-4 years.

Being a Physician or a Surgeon can be a demanding and rewarding profession, especially depending if there is a specialized field or concentration. Remember, as a Physician or a Surgeon, you are the professional who saves lives. Your patients are impacted by you.

While in college, here are some undergraduate degrees to major in order to become a Physician or a Surgeon:

- Organic Chemistry
- Biochemistry
- Biology
- Chemistry

It will be best to seek advice from your high school guidance counselor as well as teachers to help you focus your interests for a specific major in college.

According to U.S. News & World Report, here is an overview of pursuing medical school:

According to U.S. News & World Report, here are the top colleges and universities to consider for Medical School:

- Harvard University
- John Hopkins University
- University of Pennsylvania (Perelman)
- Columbia University
- Duke University
- Stanford University
- University of California (San Francisco)
- Vanderbilt University
- Washington University (St. Louis)
- Cornell University (Weill)
- New York University (Grossman)
- Yale University

When reviewing colleges and universities, it is best to check the following:

- In-State vs Out of State Tuition
- Internships
- Scholarships
- Career Placement upon graduation
- Course work and offered classes
- Post-Graduate Degrees - Master and Doctoral

There are scholarships based on need, academic performance, school activities, sports involvement and community service. So, it will be to your advantage to seek out these types of scholarships. All of the academic staff at your high school that you interact with can write letters of recommendations for you based on what was just stated above. These recommendations can greatly help when filling out college and scholarship applications.

Scholarship applications can start to be submitted during your Junior year and will continue throughout your Senior year in high school. It is best to ask your Academic Advisor/School Counselor on the timeline process as well. Scholarship applications will have specific deadlines and requirements to meet in order to be submitted for review and consideration.

You may want to start to compile your resume/portfolio since a majority of scholarship applications will require academic grade point average (GPA), academic accomplishments, school activities (clubs, sports, etc.), community involvement (volunteer, church, etc.), academic and personal recommendations, etc. There may be essay requirements on why you are a qualified candidate to receive the scholarship, what your future goals are academically and professionally and other questions centering around who you are, your beliefs, etc.

Here are a couple of links for College Scholarships:

Also, it will be best to check with the colleges and universities that you will be applying to. You can check with the School/Department of your desired major, the Campus Career Center and the Register's Office for additional information for college scholarships and grants and specific requirements for qualifications.

Best wishes for your education and career path as a Physician or a Surgeon!
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Madison’s Answer

High school degree, undergraduate bachelors degree with pre-med courses, MCAT, med school, residency, possibly fellowship if desired
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Rita’s Answer

4 years high school
4 years college
4 years medical school
minimum of 3 years of internship and residency

I advise all premedical students to work as a medical scribe. This gives you the experience to know what physicians do. You get paid. You learn the language. You get to speak with doctors. Most importantly, as a preceptor, I've noticed the medical students that worked as scribes appeared smarter and better prepared because they had the experience.
Thank you comment icon This is a great response. As a current medical student, I do agree that working as a medical scribe would be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the medical field. A few other options include obtaining a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) certification or an EMT license. Many of my classmates worked as a medical scribe, CNA, or EMT prior to medical school to gain experience. Also, an alternative to medical school is physician assistant/associate school. This is usually a 2 year masters degree, and after they’ve graduated, they have the freedom to work in many medical specialties alongside physicians. Karen W.