Becoming a doctor is no easy task. It requires years of schooling and training, and many people choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine. But how long does it actually take to become a doctor? In this article, we’ll explore the various steps involved in becoming a doctor and provide a timeline for the entire process.
Becoming a doctor requires more than just dedication. It takes years of schooling and training to practice medicine, including four undergraduate years, four years in medical school, at least three years in residency programs for specific specialties, and up to an estimated 15 years spent as a practicing physician before becoming fully independent. That’s almost an entire decade of school or more.
Becoming a doctor is complex and takes years to complete, but it doesn’t have to be extremely expensive if students are willing to make sacrifices along the way. Many people choose to attend medical school by pursuing highly competitive scholarships and grants offered through many different programs. There are also accelerated 4-year degree plans, which students can take advantage of if they’re willing to work hard and focus on their studies.
How to get started on the path to becoming a doctor
If you’re interested in becoming a medical doctor or already know that you want to go into medicine, you should start preparing early. First, take the time to explore your career options by collecting information about different specialties and meeting with professionals in those areas. Then meet with a premed advisor or other academic advisor at your school who can help you plan for college and get on track towards getting accepted into medical school.
How long does it take to become a doctor?
In total, becoming a doctor can take from 10 to 15 years. This time includes the four years of college, four years of medical school, one year of internship and residency, and three to seven years as a practicing physician. In some countries it is even longer because instead of going to college first they start directly with medical school.
But on average, it typically takes at least twelve years after completing high school before someone becomes a medical doctor.
9 Steps to become a Doctor
The process of becoming a doctor is long and arduous, but it is definitely worth it in the end. Here are the steps you need to take to achieve this goal:
1. Choose a specialty.
There are many different specialties in medicine, and you will need to choose one that interests you the most. It’s important to pick a specialty that you can see yourself practicing for many years.
2. Complete an undergraduate degree.
You will need to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university before you can begin medical school.
3. Attend medical school.
This is where you will learn the basics of medicine and start your journey to becoming a doctor. The average length of medical school is four years, but some programs can last longer.
4. Complete a medical internship and residency program.
Medical school is only the beginning of your training. You will need to complete a three to seven year residency in your chosen specialty before you are qualified to practice medicine on your own. Some doctors choose to specialize further during their residency or do more research into their field.
5. Get licensed.
Before you can practice medicine, you will need to acquire a medical license in your state. This is usually handled by your local board of registration or licensing agency. You will then be allowed to work as a doctor in that state only. If you want to work in another state, you may need to go through the process again.
6. Pass certification exams.
Once you have completed all your training and received your medical license, you will need to pass licensing exams in your specialty area. These three certifying examinations include: ABIM, ABFM, and ABSITE.
7. Get experience.
It usually takes some years for new doctors to gain the necessary experience to become independent practitioners; however, this length of time can vary depending on your specialty area and location. Many hospitals or clinics require new doctors to complete a residency or internship before they are allowed to work on their own.
8. Become proficient in an additional language, if needed.
If you want to work with certain international patients, you may be required to learn another language fluently. You can do this through classes at your local community college or university, but it will take time and effort on your part first before it becomes second nature.
9. Consider joining a specialized medical association (optional).
Most physicians join one or more professional organizations, but this is completely optional. Joining an organization might help you enhance your medical career and keep up-to-date with the latest advancements in medicine, but it will cost you some time and money.
Frequently asked questions on Becoming a Doctor
What does it take to become a doctor?
To become a doctor in the United States, you’ll need to complete four years of undergraduate school and graduate with a bachelor’s degree. You will also be required to get at least one year of graduate level training in a medical setting. This usually takes the form of an internship or residency program.
What are the benefits of becoming a doctor?
There are many benefits of becoming a doctor. The most important one would be that you will get to help people live healthier and more fulfilling lives. You can also make quite a bit of money, become famous or even change the world. If you work hard, it’s possible to reach the very pinnacle of success.
The length of medical school
The length of medical school varies depending on the degree you are pursuing. For example, to become a doctor who practices family medicine, it takes four years of graduate level schooling after completing one year of undergraduate study (or eight total years). To become an ophthalmologist , it takes eight years of graduate level schooling after completing four years of undergraduate study (or twelve total years).
Specialization in medicine
Doctors who complete their residency programs are able to practice general medicine, but many choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine. For example, doctors may choose to specialize in surgery or pediatrics . Other examples of specialties include internal medicine, psychiatry , and obstetrics .
Residency and fellowship programs
Residency is a period of time during which a doctor receives on-the-job training in a particular field. This usually takes place after medical school and before the doctor is eligible to practice independently. This period can last anywhere from a few years to more than ten.
How long does it take to become a Naturopathic Doctor
The average time it takes to become a naturopathic doctor is four years. However, this can vary depending on the program you choose and your level of education.
How long does it take to become a Pediatric Doctor?
It takes many years to become a pediatric doctor. You will need to go to medical school and then specialize in pediatrics.
How long does it take to become a family doctor
The average amount of time it takes to become a family doctor is about 10 years. However, this can vary depending on the person’s level of education and experience.