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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Eight Steps to Becoming a Medical Doctor and Starting Your Own Practice

 

Has the current coronavirus pandemic got you thinking about switching careers? Perhaps the millions of new cases and undue stress on the medical staff has persuaded you to get into the medical field to join in the fight. The good news is that no matter what your current profession, you can pursue a career in medicine. 

 

Medicine--whether you’re a nurse, a medical doctor, or a technician-- is a highly rigorous and competitive field. So, training to become a doctor takes a lot of time and money. Also, the field of healthcare is ever-growing. Hence, the demand for doctors will keep on increasing in the years to come. The steps below are necessary if you desire to become a doctor in the United States of America. 

 

Step 1: Excel in High School

If you want to become a doctor, you must do well in high school. As stated above, this is a super competitive field. Therefore, the process will be more straightforward if you set your goals earlier.

 

In preparation for later steps, you need to focus your attention on the following:

 

Science and Mathematics - For you to fulfill all college pre-med requirements, you should take both science and mathematics classes. The two subjects will help in laying a solid foundation for medicine as a career. Also, you will have to ensure that your GPA in all other areas is exceptionally high.

 

Community Service - It is not only science and mathematics that make a good doctor. Volunteer to care for other people in your community while in High School. It would be better if your volunteer work is related to healthcare. By doing this, you will decide early enough if studying medicine is what you want. 

 

Step 2: Select a Good College

At college, you will start focusing on your studies in preparation for a medical career. So, you have to work hard and ensure that you do well in the courses below.

 

  • Biology with laboratory
  • Organic and inorganic chemistry with laboratory
  • Mathematics - featuring calculus
  • English and writing
  • Physics and laboratory

 

Good grades in the above course ensure that you develop a good rapport with both professors and mentors. You will need good recommendation letters when applying for a medical school. 

 

Participate actively in research projects and community services. The records from research projects and volunteer work will be vital when applying for a medical school.

 

Step 3: Sitting for MCAT

This test is mandatory for you to be admitted to a medical school. It is a standard and multiple-choice test that touches on the following areas.

 

  • Biology and biochemistry foundation about living systems
  • Biology, psychological and social foundations of behavior
  • Physical and chemical foundations about biological systems
  • Skills in critical analysis and reasoning

 

Each part has a score range from 118-132, with 125 as the median score. The total scores start from 472-578, with 500 as the average score; however, if you score 500 and above, you qualify to join a medical school. Because of the extraordinary demands of this testing, companies like Blueprint Prep can help you prepare for upcoming MCAT test dates with tutoring and practice exams.

 

Step 4: Apply for a Medical School

At this point, you are allowed to apply to about 13 medical schools. This scenario optimizes your chances of getting admission.

 

You can use the MSAR (Medical School Admission Requirements) website to get the necessary information. 

 

Admission to any medical school in the U.S.A is an accomplishment. The reason behind this is that the criteria and curricular for entry are so stringent. If you get admission to any medical college and successfully go through the internship program, you can find a job.

 

Step 5: Start your Course at the Medical College and Pass Your Boards

After admission, it will take you four years to finish your medical course. However, the experience at the medical school will not be similar to undergraduate education.

 

In year four, you will take primary classroom-based courses. The education in this period includes extended pre-med requirements. The classes will equip you with chemical, biological and anatomical foundations.

 

You will start training in primary medical specialties (also referred to as rotations). Finally, in year four, you will take preparatory elective courses based on your specialty of choice.

 

Step 6: Go through Your Residency

At this stage, you will be sent to any teaching hospital for an internship program. The National Resident Matching Program will allocate you a residency position under a supervisor.

 

The residency program will take you up to three years or more depending on your specialty. During this time, you will have to pass your final licensing test. 

 

Step 7: Taking Your Final Boards

After finishing your residency, you will take your final boards. After passing this last test, you will be allowed to find a good hospital or clinic for practice. Therefore, it will not take you long before you find a job. 

 

Step 8: Starting Your Own Practice

Before getting started, you’ll need to determine how you’ll cover the costs of starting and operating your medical business. 

 

While the rules and regulations to starting a medical practice vary by state, ideally, you’ll need to develop a business plan, decide on a practice name, select your company structure, register your business, obtain the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance, and acquire a tax identification number.

 

Finally, you can find the ideal commercial property, hire key personnel, invest in supplies and equipment, and implement a digital and traditional marketing strategy to acquire new patients. 

 

If there’s one thing the global pandemic has taught us, it’s the importance of having highly-capable medical professionals worldwide to support the health and wellbeing of humanity. While your dreams to become a doctor and start a medical practice might seem far off, the end results are both emotionally and economically rewarding. Fortunately, there are a plethora of resources available to help you every step of the way. 

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