How to Become a Doctor

How to Become a Doctor

Great medical care is essential to the well-being of all people. Highly trained medical professionals are required to perform routine check ups, diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe medications, and perform surgery. This is the job of doctors.

What does a doctor do?

Doctors (also commonly called physicians) provide medical care to a wide variety of patients. They diagnose ailments and administer the best treatment to people who are suffering from disease or injury. They thoroughly examine patients, gain medical history, and order, carry out, and read diagnostic tests. They also often advise patients on preventative health care, hygiene, and diet. Physicians typically work in one or more of a many different specialties such as general medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine, anesthesiology, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery.

There are generally two types of doctors, Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). They both use all accepted treatment methods, but D.O.s typically focus on preventative medicine and holistic patient care. Most physicians work in hospitals or private offices or clinics.

What kind of training does a doctor need?

All types of doctors must complete 8 years of postsecondary education, including 4 years of undergraduate education and 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency. Students must pass the Medical College Admission Test to be accepted into medical school. Medical school includes classroom instruction, laboratory experience, and clinical rotations in a variety of areas such as family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, psychiatry, and obstetrics and gynecology. The internships and residency programs vary among specialties.

All states require physicians to be licensed. Licensing requirements include graduating from an accredited medical school, conclusion of a residency program, and receiving a passing score on a licensing examination.

What are the prospects for a career as a doctor?

Employment of all doctors is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing population and the continuous expansion of the healthcare field will fuel job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be great especially for doctors willing to practice in specialties or in rural or low-income areas. Job openings will also arise to replace doctors who retire or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do doctors make?

As of October 2009, doctors earned annual salaries from $121,871 to $208,661 depending on specialty and position (2).

A career as a doctor is an excellent choice for individuals who have a strong desire to care for a variety of patients and promoting their health and well-being. Doctors must be self-motivated, have great bedside manner, and have excellent communication. They must be quick on their feet and be able to respond to a variety of medical situations. They must be able to handle the stress and pressure of working long hours and effectively deal with emergency situations.

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