Medicine is one of the most rewarding careers. If you desire to be a doctor, be prepared to spend more than a decade on your post-high school medical education. In particular, you are required to obtain a medical degree or Ph.D. Each of these courses usually run for four or five years.
The following section outlines the process of becoming a doctor in the US or Canada for Indian students.
Why Become a Doctor?
How can you be so sure medicine is the right career for you? You know your passion is in health care, but you’re having difficulty trying to make that career decision. Sure, you could become a lawyer and make the same amount of money. But while there are several ways to earn a decent living, medicine is a career that can’t easily be outsourced or automated. And doctors will continue to be the foremost authority on health and wellness matters.
If you want to become a doctor in the United States or Canada, here are the steps you can take to boost your chances of success.
1. Excel In High School
Students who excel in high school don’t wait until they’re ready to engage in an intensive study session. Instead, they maximize their learning opportunities and prepare for their medical future. Also, you can use drawing idea maps to remember what you are studying.
Your high school years should be filled with learning and growth. For some people, it comes easy. But for almost everyone else, it takes dedication. Consequently, you should select your classes meticulously. Read the class descriptions and seek advice from people who are currently pursuing a medical career.
2. Choose a Great College
Once you’ve decided on a course you’d like to study, select an appropriate college. There are 17 medical schools in Canada and 130 in the United States. Each of these colleges has different courses that are “required upon admission.”
You want to select a medical college that offers the academic rigor and right type of sessions to get you accepted into medical school. For example, a lot of medical students choose biochemistry as their undergraduate major but as a general rule, medical schools aren’t concerned about whether you major in sciences or not. You’ll, however, be required to take certain pre-medical classes as an undergraduate.
3. Get a Good MCAT Score
The MCAT is a test used to screen medical school applicants. It is designed to assess whether prospective medical students have the skills necessary for success in medical school. However, MCAT is more than just a formality for medical school admissions. The test is done on a computer, takes about 8 hours, and is known to be one of the most difficult standardized tests.
Ideally, you would be studying for the MCAT during college by taking rigorous classes in the sciences. A perfect MCAT score is 132 in all four sections for a total combined score of 528. Although it is tough to get an ideal MCAT score, some schools will not consider an applicant with a score lower than 511.
4. Apply and Get Accepted Into a Medical School
Deciding which medical schools to apply to is a very personal decision based on your interests and goals. To apply to most medical schools in the United States, you will need to use the AAMC’s application service.
First, review course requirements and ensure that your transcript satisfies these minimums. Next, start gathering all the materials that will go into your primary application. If possible, visit them and see what it’s like in person. Beware that if the medical school rejects your application, the process for that medical school terminates there. Also, remember that Canadian medical schools are significantly cheaper to attend than US medical schools.
5. Attend Medical School and Pass Your Boards
If you have been accepted into a medical school, congratulations. Now the hard work begins. First, you need to recognize that medical school is a sport, and you have to take part in the sport without letting it overwhelm you. Consequently, you’ll need to build relationships with mentors, manage your finances, and take care of your physical and mental health. Be mindful that mentoring relationships need to be mutually rewarding.
The first realization you’ll make is the sheer quantity of facts that you will need to commit to memory. Thus, it’s crucial to be able to prioritize the most critical information and work from there. Once you graduate from medical school, you are called a physician even though your training is not complete.
6. Choose your Specialty and Complete a Residency Program
It’s hard to believe that there is still so much to learn after four years of college and four years of medical school. That’s because you must complete a residency program to qualify to sit for a board certification exam. The residency can be taken from any country, though most aspiring doctors prefer to complete it in the United States. The benefits of taking the residency program in the US can include better pay and more flexibility.
Every program has something unique to offer, and great doctors come from everywhere. Nevertheless, you must pass all three parts of the USMLE to become qualified to apply for a medical license.
7. Take and Pass Your Final Boards
Before getting a doctor’s license, you must pass a standardized test called the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). The final board assesses a physician’s ability to apply knowledge and principles to determine fundamental patient-centered skills. Successful candidates must demonstrate adequate performance in the six core competencies defined by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
These exams are generally only taken once, but the doctor must renew every 2 – 3 years, depending on the state. However, with the onset of COVID-19, aspiring doctors find it challenging to prepare for this exam. That is why it is essential to enroll in online USMLE preparation courses.
Becoming a doctor is a long process that requires determination and hard work. Use this guide to track your progress.