Medicine is one of the most admirable professions by many people all around the world. However, it requires commitment, good grades and thus barring the majority of the people from pursuing it.
It also requires a lot of time and commitment. It has two major categories which are: Doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O) and medical doctors (M.D). Skills such as empathy, problem-solving, leadership and communication are also necessary.
Despite the irregular working hours, doctors earn highly. Medical professionals are also among people who are most satisfied with their career choice. This can be attributed to their hands on positive impact on the patients health and their communities at large.
The following steps are taken in the career path of becoming a doctor:
- A bachelor’s degree
This is an essential requirement if you are to enroll in medical school. While no specific major is needed, as an applicant, completion of undergraduate coursework in chemistry, physics, biology, and mathematics is essential.
Before deciding whether to apply to join medical school, you can act as a volunteer in community service. This can be either in hospitals or clinics to ascertain whether you want to pursue medicine.
- Pass the MCAT
The MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) is used to determine whether you’ll be admitted into medical school.
It takes more than seven hours to complete the test. The content areas tested are physical sciences, biological sciences, verbal reasoning and writing skills.
Studying for the MCAT can be its own challenge. There are ways to prepare yourself for this intense exam:
A formal MCAT prep course:
This is taken when you need a review schedule to keep you on the right track. An excellent course enables you as a pre-med student to leave no stone unturned on content knowledge. These can be done in person, online, or a combination of both. A prep course can take several months to complete due to the extensive subject matter.
The internet can be a great resource when you are aiming towards covering a lot of content. Several online sources provide free or affordable study materials like an MCAT practice test, vocabulary help, Q&A forums and more. Enough time and research and you can cover a large portion of the materials.
- Acquire a medical degree
This takes four years in which the first two are spent on the classroom and laboratory. The third and final year are spent interacting with patients under supervision from experienced doctors.
The experience gained in the third and last year enables you to choose residency type that you prefer after completion.
- End of a residency program
A residency program which is also known as an internship allows you to engage with patients in specific areas of medicine. A residency can last from three to seven years depending on the field of specialization.
During this year’s, residents perform tasks such as physical examination, a compilation of medical records and patient care.
- Obtain a license
After completing a residency training program and pass exams, you need to obtain a license.
Various states have various requirements and its advisable to check on them. The US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) is for medical doctors whereas D.O.s should take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-US).
This is not a necessity, but it increases chances of employment. It’s done by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).
With these steps, you got the knowledge about what it means to begin a career in the field of medicine.
You got the knowledge, make a decision, follow your heart and what you are passionate about but remember this means commitment, time and self-sacrifice.