How to Become a Doctor
There are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who aspire to become doctors. Those people hold this dream for various reasons, the least of which being to help others or to make a respectable amount of money. Maybe they simply enjoy the puzzle that is modern medicine. For whatever the reason, one must understand that the incentive must be strong enough to withstand rigorous training and responsibilities.
As a doctor you will be, perhaps, the last thing standing between an innocent person and death. It will be your duty to confer to the patient and to frightened family and friends what is going wrong within their loved one. Your hours will be long and irregular, the pressure will be immense, and in today's day and age, you will be at an almost constant risk of lawsuit.
So before you read on, please ask yourself--is your incentive strong enough?
You should get acquainted with the field of medicine before you begin attending pre-medical classes. Volunteer in hospitals or as an EMT; take CPR and first aid courses provided by the Red Cross, American Heart Association, or local programs. There are also examinations available that will allow you to become a CNA, or Certified Nursing Assistant. This occupation will largely entail tending to patients, usually the elderly, and will help to improve social skills and bedside manner.
If you aspire to become a doctor, be prepared to be spend most of your early years studying. In addition to education from kindergarten through twelfth grade, it is essential to complete a routine four years of college study in which you complete a standard pre-medical program. This program will prepare you namely for the exam you will have to take to enroll in a medical school.
As a college student, science will be the most required class of you if you wish to pursue a health career. Chemistry, physics, biology (organic, namely), and higher math (calculus, statistics, and the like) will likely all be recommended, in addition to any other college graduation requirements your school places upon you.
Following completion of the necessary courses, you will have to take the MCAT--the Medical School Admissions Test. You will be tested in a variety of areas, including biological and physical sciences. Your answers (which will include written essays) will be graded on a scale of 1-15. As a rule of thumb, try to score a 10 or above in all areas to achieve competitive scores.
Upon entering medical school, you will learn the intricacies of modern medicine and decide what you will specialize in as a doctor. The first two years of medical school involve learning the routine details essential to every doctor's career, including taking patient histories and learning to diagnose according to presenting symptoms. You will be tested again following your second year (USMLE Step 1), and you must pass in order to continue on to your third year of education. The third and fourth years focus largely on focusing on specialties that interest you through mandatory courses and electives.
Following your graduation from medical school, you will be tested once more (USMLE Step 2).
The work does not end with graduation from medical school. You do not launch into a career and begin making a hundred thousand dollars a year, nor will you immediately begin saving lives with ease and finesse.
Many specialities will require you to complete a one-year internship at their hospital (or other place of practice), followed by a three to four year period of residency in which you will tend to patients while supervised by attending physicians. After this period, you will take the USMLE Step 3 in order to become state-certified to practice medicine. The USMLE Step 3 focuses largely on clinical practices and management.
Top 100 Medical Schools in the United States
- The Med School 100 -- Ranking the Best Medical Schools in the United States
A list of the current top 100 medical schools in the United States of America.