What it Takes to Be a Doctor

We often hear parents say they want their children to become doctors because it’s considered a lucrative and prestigious career. What many fail to realize is that it requires a lot of work, study and commitment to get that point. Learn what it takes to be a doctor.

Education, Education and More Education

If there were one thing that may deter students from wanting to become doctors, it would be the education requirement. Becoming a doctor requires completion of the following.

• Undergraduate study
• Medical school
• Residency

The first requirement is earning a bachelor degree, which takes four years. While there are no specific majors students need to earn, they should get as many science courses out of the way at this time as possible.

These include biology, physics, chemistry, anatomy and physiology. It can also be beneficial to find work in a medical facility. This experience, as well as any letters of recommendation from employers, can be helpful when enrolling in medical school.

Medical School

Before you’re accepted into medical school, you’ll need to take the Medical College Admission exam. The first two years of this four-year program are spent completing a variety of science and medical-based courses. The last two years, students complete clinical rotations in local hospitals. They typically have to work in various departments.

Residencies and Specializations

When people say it takes eight years to become a doctor, they are not including the years spent in residencies, which are required before you can get your medical license. The length of the residency can be from three to seven years or more depending on what area of medicine you wish to specialize.

Examples might be pediatrics, oncology, orthopedics or general medicine, among others. Med students who know what they want to specialize in while still in medical school often participate in internships for extra credits and experience.