How do I become a doctor? How long does it take to become a doctor?
Are you a high school student, college undergrad, parent of a budding pre-med, or a non-traditional / career changing applicant? There is a path to medical school for each one of you.
Imagine Sarah. She wants to become a doctor, but is unclear about her timeline to medical school. What does she need to do to get in? What are the prerequisites? Are there any mines along the road to becoming a docotr? How long will it take before Sarah can legally call herself an M.D. or D.O?
Your “Become a Doctor” Timeline
Here are the major hoops you will jump through:
1. Go to college, earn your bachelors degree, and fulfill your medical school prerequisites. This will take you about four years.
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2. Apply to and get in to medical school. Do this during your junior year of college.
3. Attend medical school and graduate from med school. This takes the average medical school student four years.
At this point you have earned an MD and you can call yourself a doctor. However, you cannot practice medicine until you complete your residency requirements and earn your medical license.
4. Complete the steps 1, 2, and 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) during your junior and senior years of medical school.
5. Apply to and get accepted to a medical residency the summer before your senior year of medical school.
6. Complete your medical residency. Two years or more, depending on your specialty
7. Complete step 4 of the USMLE after you complete your residency. Woohoo! You’re officially a doctor now!
Total time from first day of college: 10 years, but you will start to be responsible for patients in less than six.
At this point, you might decide to complete a medical fellowship or board certification to become more qualified within your specialty, or add another specialty.
Become a competitive applicant early on by completing the Save My GPA program. Save My GPA will empower you with the smart and efficient study skills that you will need if you want a competitive GPA that will attract medical schools.