Table of Contents
- Doctors are medical professionals trained to be experts in their fields.
- How to become a doctor in the United States
- 1. Finish your undergraduate degree
- Top undergraduate courses in the US to Become a Doctor
- BSc degrees
- Top postgraduate and doctorate degrees in the United States
- Postgraduate Degrees
- Doctorate Degrees
- Best universities for medical degrees
- 2. Score in the MCAT exam
- 3. Finish the four years of medical school
- There are two medical degrees available
- 4. Complete residency and find your niche
- 5. Pass USMLE Part 3 and complete residency
- 6. Choosing between fellowships and continuing education
- 7. Achieve board certification
- 8. Obtain a state license
- Key takeaways
Doctors are medical professionals trained to be experts in their fields.
In the United States, becoming a doctor is a time-consuming and lengthy process that requires years of hard work and patience. If you want to work in the medical field in the United States, you should expect to undergo medical training for at least 7 years in addition to college studies. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of the highest-paying occupations in the country is medicine. This blog will discuss how to become a doctor in the US.
The requirements for becoming a doctor vary depending on the specialty. Aspiring doctors must complete a four-year undergraduate degree program, followed by four years in a medical school, and then up to three to seven years of residency training before they are eligible for a medical license and can enter the workforce.
General medical education is usually included in degree programs. Medical professionals can choose a specialty during their residency.
How to become a doctor in the United States
The process of becoming a doctor in the United States requires extreme dedication to the field. You can begin preparing for medical school in high school by taking advanced placement (AP) courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and other sciences. It may satisfy your undergraduate coursework requirements later. You can also participate in extracurricular activities such as volunteer work to supplement your extracurricular activities at medical school.
Following is the entire process of becoming a doctor in the United States, as well as the best colleges and courses for obtaining a medical degree
1. Finish your undergraduate degree
The most essential requirement for becoming a doctor in the United States is a good bachelor’s degree, preferably in a medical field such as Biology, Chemistry, Human Genetics, or Physics. Some schools offer pre-med programs that include classes to prepare you for the medical college admission test (MCAT).
Top undergraduate courses in the US to Become a Doctor
The top undergraduate courses and specializations for becoming a doctor in the United States are-
- BA in Biology
- Medical Anthropology and Global Health
- Mechanisms of Disease
- BA in Health and Societies
- Global Health
- Disease and Culture
- Human Biology and Society
Top postgraduate and doctorate degrees in the United States
A medical student can pursue further studies in the field of medicine by enrolling in a postgraduate (Doctor of Medicine) program and doctorate courses in specialized fields of interest such as-
- MS Degree
- Medical Technology Quality
- Community Nutrition
- Public Health
- Dental Surgery
- Human Medicine
- Clinical Psychology
Best universities for medical degrees
The following are the top medical schools in the United States, along with their average course fees-
|University||Average Course Fees in USD|
|Stanford University||$ 20,731 per quarter|
|Yale University||$ 61,140 per year|
|Harvard University||$ 64,984 per year|
|Johns Hopkins University||$ 56,500 per year|
|The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)||$ 32,588 per year|
|University of California, San Francisco||$ 43,633 per year|
|University of Pennsylvania||$ 59,910 per year|
|New York University||$ 57,476 per year|
In some parts of the United States, medical graduates can work as health care providers without first completing a residency program. It is to address medical professionals’ shortages. These are the states of Utah, Arkansas, and Missouri. The fee structure might change from time to time.
2. Score in the MCAT exam
Medical school graduates who want to practice medicine must take the medical college admission test (MCAT). It is a multiple-choice exam used to admit students to medical schools. This 5-hour computerized exam assesses verbal abilities, critical thinking, biology, and physical science. Most medical schools use MCAT scores in their admissions process.
The following are the prerequisites for International students to take the MCAT and apply to US universities
- Pass English language proficiency tests such as the TOEFL or IELTS.
- Submit a letter of recommendation (LOR) and a statement of purpose (SOP).
- Obtain a high GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) score.
3. Finish the four years of medical school
Medical school consists of a four-year educational and medical training program. The first two years of medical school are dedicated to laboratory work and book study that prepares students to diagnose and treat diseases and illnesses. Students must take the first portion of the united states medical licensing examination (USMLE Step 1) in their second year of medical school, administered by the national board of medical examiners and covers basic medical knowledge and principles.
Students begin their clinical experience in the final two years by rotating through hospitals and clinics. Practical training in medicine begins, and students have to work under the supervision of attending physicians. The second part of the USMLE licensing exam is given in the fourth year of medical school. It covers disease development and clinical diagnosis topics as students begin residency training. Some institutions also provide a combined 6-year education and training program, allowing students to complete a shortened academic and medical examination.
Aspiring doctors can choose between a research-oriented medical institution and a medical school focusing solely on primary care.
There are two medical degrees available
- Medical Doctor, or MD degree
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or DO degree
4. Complete residency and find your niche
The residency is the clerkship or internship of a doctor in the United States under the supervision of an experienced and skilled doctor. Many doctors complete their residency programs in 3 to 7 years, depending on their chosen specialty. Pediatricians, for example, complete their residency in three years, whereas urologists have five-year residencies. Students can submit applications for residency positions through the national residency matching program (NRMP).
5. Pass USMLE Part 3 and complete residency
After completing their residency, the candidate must take and pass the third and final part of the USMLE. It is the final step because International Medical Graduates must be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) to take the USMLE Step 3. USMLE Step 3 assesses the doctor’s ability to practice medicine safely and effectively by covering clinical and patient management topics.
6. Choosing between fellowships and continuing education
After receiving the ECFMG certification, a candidate can pursue a one-year fellowship to study a subspecialty of their residency. Doctors who continue their studies advance their clinical skills and become experts in their field. Even after they are licensed, practicing doctors in the United States must participate in continuing education to understand relevant topics on clinical knowledge and developments in their field.
7. Achieve board certification
After completing medical school and residency, the candidate must choose a specialty from the American board of medical specialties’ 24 subjects and then appear in front of a board regarding the field.
Some of these specializations include
- Forensic medicine
- General medicine
8. Obtain a state license
Obtaining medical licensure from the state after completing the training and board certification is a must to practice medicine legally. The state licensing requirements for a physician vary depending on the state where they want to practice medicine. Passing all four tests of the United States medical licensing exam (USMLE) is the basic requirement for obtaining a license.
- Becoming a doctor is a time-consuming process that requires hard work and patience. To work as a doctor in the United States, you should undergo medical training for at least 7 years, including college studies.
- You can prepare for medical school in high school by taking advanced placement (AP) courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and other scientific subjects. It can be useful to satisfy your undergraduate coursework requirements.
- To become a doctor, the students must finish an undergraduate degree, score on the MCAT, complete 4 years of medical school, complete residency, pass USMLE part 3, get board certification and obtain a state license.
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Q1. Which type of doctor is the highest-paying in the US?
Ans- According to the most recent statistics, orthopedic surgeons earn the most in the United States, with an average annual salary of $511,000.
Q2. Can I be a doctor after completing BSC psychology?
Ans- You cannot be a doctor because BSC psychology graduates have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and do not have the credentials to practice medicine.
Q3. Can IMGs (International medical graduates) become doctors in the USA?
Ans- The physician must complete a residency program regardless of the training received abroad. IMGs seeking admission to Graduate Medical Education programs in the United States must obtain a visa that allows clinical training to provide medical services.