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Is becoming a doctor hard?

Hi my name is Ross and I'm in the 9th grade and I'm confused about what career I'm interested in but I want to know if I choose a career in medicine ( I need to know honestly from pediatricians, general practitioners or whatever) . Was it worth it in the end? Do you wish you could take it back? Also is the whole process difficult because I don't work well under pressure or stress and how long exactly does it take does it depend on what department of medicine you choose? Finally, what other health related careers can I get into?(oh also could you tell ,e some good places to study overseas and the subjects I need if you can) Thanks doctor medicine teaching teacher pediatrics

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Gary’s Answer

I am not in the medical field but I see no one has answered you yet so I wanted to provide some information...hopefully someone in the medical field will answer you as well.
I found a link for you on a career as a Doctor, this link gives you some good information about a medical career, education, training, licensing, etc. It can be a lot of work to become a Doctor, but if it is something you really want then it will be worth all the work and effort in the long run. Good luck!
Doctors in the United States are licensed by state medical or osteopathic boards. Those who want to learn about specific requirements should contact the board in the state in which they plan to practice. Visit the Federation of State Medical Boards for a list of those boards. While requirements vary, all MDs must pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and DOs must pass the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA).

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Zahid’s Answer

A little late to the party but perhaps this response can help others. I'm not in the field but have family/relatives who have done medicine, including pediatrics.

Here is the process of going into medicine:

It can take 11 or more years of education and training to become a medical doctor. If you want to be a specialist, you may spend 13 or more years in practice and study. The time and money invested in medical school and training is substantial, but job satisfaction and quality of life is high in this profession.

A good way to start is by starting early, like during High School. Take challenging classes in HS (as oppose easy classes) so you will be prepared for the rigor of college and med school. If offered, enroll in Advanced Placement classes or take advantage of post-secondary option courses at a nearby college. You’ll also want to be involved in extracurricular and volunteer activities to demonstrate your leadership skills. High school sets the stage for the fundamental knowledge that you’ll need to be successful in college and med school.

In college, you’ll want to major in the hard sciences to gain the best preparation for medical school. Popular options include physics, biochemistry, biology, behavioral neuroscience, chemistry or evolutionary biology. You may also select a pre-med program that offers a variety of courses geared toward preparing you for med school.

If you are looking to cut the time short in studying then consider doing medicine outside of USA. Many International medical schools usually allow entrance without a bachelors. On other hand, if you come back to the US then you may still need to take some extra courses to be "US level" qualified before you get your American medical license.

If financial burden is something you do not want to take on then consider international schools, many universities in Europe are free to everyone and lot of American students take an advantage of that.

If you are staying the US, then you will need to earn an Undergraduate Degree and then take the MCAT and apply to medical school. Unless, you are looking for bypass traditional application process and skip the MCAT. Make no mistake: these programs are not a walk in the park to get into. Some would argue that they are more difficult to get into than the traditional four-year MD program!

One of the most common ways medical students get in without taking the MCAT is through a combined BS/MD or BA/MD program. Traditionally, future medical students go to a standard four-year university to obtain their Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. With a combined BA/MD or BS/MD, you can do just that. As you might have guessed, these programs are simply lengthier programs where you work towards your undergraduate degree and medical degree at one school. Most of these last four seven years in total. Some may last for eight years! Whatever the case may be, you’re technically not a medical school student when you first get accepted. The first three or four years of your education are going to focus on undergraduate studies.

Things to consider while doing undergrad: For a semester or so, studying abroad or an international volunteer opportunity will enhance your medical school application. Gaining cultural awareness and global understanding is essential to demonstrating the ability to interact with a wide range of people. It's an option, not mandatory or a must. US is diverse enough to compensate for that. Instead, you can get involved on campus in extracurricular activities .

Another thing to consider although not necessary is becoming certified as an Emergency Medical Technician or Certified Nursing Assistant while in college. You can earn a little extra cash and, more importantly, gain insight about what it’s like to work in the trenches of a medical facility.

One of the best ways to glean a broader understanding of doctor requirements is to shadow a physician. In addition to seeing the work happen in front of you, you’ll develop valuable connections that may help you in the future.

Begin studying for the Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, during your senior year in college. Expect to spend three months or more preparing for the test. Identify your academic weaknesses and take practice tests to become familiar with the question format. Be ready to retake the test if you aren’t satisfied with your score. There are MCAT study guides and books that can help you do a decent job on the exam.

Once you are in the medical school, then the real studying starts. Expect heavy work loads and lot of time commitment. Making study groups and reliable friends to collaborate and study with help ease some pressure and stress. You’ll begin applying for residency programs during your last year of med school. Residencies vary based upon the specialty that you choose. Residency is basically like a paid internship/co-op but with crazy hours and heavy work load dumped on you to see if you can handle it. It's probably the most stressful and demanding part of the whole process.

After you finish your residency, you’ll take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, or USMLE. The first step of this exam is a full day of comprehensive testing on the fundamentals of medicine. The second part assesses your clinical application knowledge, and the final step determines your knowledge about patient management and other clinical principles. Once you’ve passed this exam, you’ll be licensed to practice medicine in the U.S. or go on for a subspecialty fellowship.

So is that hard? it depends on you the individual. If you have poor studying habits/skills then it will be hard unless you improve on those skills and get better.

Can't work under pressure? Try shadowing a physician now even before starting and ask him/her about the pressure of the job. It'll give a better idea, also you would have a better idea of what is the limit to the amount of pressure you can handle? It may be in your threshold or it may not be, something for you to explore and figure out. You probably could look into exercises, games, activities that help build your threshold working under pressure.

Another thing to consider is, can you handle sight of blood or people screaming in pain? Seeing it on TV is one thing, seeing it in front you in person is totally different and not many can handle it. It's not about how macho they are or not, it's just matter a matter of the heart and some people's heart just can't handle watching that.

There are other healthcare fields that are not as lengthy nor do they require that much education. There fields there require only certifications, such as,
Certified Cardiac Monitor Technician - Certification: Approximately 3-6 months;
Medical Assistant - Certification: Approximately 9-12 months

There are also careers that pay as much as medical doctors, if not more, but are less stressful or have less pressure to deal with A pharmacist is one such option. Pharmacy school generally lasts about 4 years of professional study, with varying options for pre-professional study. The pay is very good in the US, although I don't think it's that highly valued or pays as much outside of the US.