Becoming a doctor is hard work, and the journey can be different for everyone, but there are some basic milestones that you should be aware of before you make the decision. It’s a long road, but well worth it if you truly wish to take up the noble mantle of helping others. What can you expect?
Your first step towards becoming a doctor is to get a Bachelor’s degree. Depending on your school, there can be a “pre-med” track in the Biology department that should offer a relevant major that will be attractive to potential medical schools, or you can earn a degree in chemistry or physics to fulfill prerequisites. Your next step is to attend medical school for four years- you will choose your specialty during your last year.
During your last year at medical school, you will be assigned a residency at a teaching hospital. This means that you will be both learning and working at the same time, to gain real experience under the tutelage of doctors and surgeons. You are usually assigned to a residency program in your chosen specialty. This can last from 3-7 years.
Once you’ve completed your residency, you’ll need to sit for the board exam. This qualifies you to practice medicine in a specific region, as well as your chosen specialty. Certain specialties require you to practice medicine for a year before you can take the exam, so check with your advisors when you choose one. There are programs designed to help you to prepare for the boards and other certifications, such as the usmle program illinois.
The entire process can take from 11-14 years, so you need to be prepared to commit to the long haul in order to become a doctor. Consider volunteering at a local hospital or clinic to feel out if this is the right profession for you before you make your decision. If you take it step by step, you’ll be saving lives and healing the sick before you know it.