10 Steps to Becoming a Doctor in USA - Global Scholarships (2023)

As of September 2021, there are over 1 million active physicians in the United States. As the COVID-19 onslaught continues, there is still a shortage of medical doctors for a country of more than 331 million people. The American Association of Medical Colleges predicts that the US will have fewer than 122,000 physicians by 2032.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of practicing physicians was decreasing. Burnout is common among physicians, with 40% of physicians experiencing symptoms of burnout once a week. The pandemic has exacerbated doctors' tough work routines, prompting many to reduce their work hours or take early retirement.

Amid multiple variant COVID mutations and failed health protocolsMedical school applicants increased by 30%from 2010-2011. More than 100,000 students enrolled in medical school in 2020. The road to becoming a professional physician is long and difficult, but with enough determination and a comprehensive plan, you too can become a next-generation physician. In this article, we'll walk you through a step-by-step guide to becoming a medical professional in the United States.

1. Complete your basic training.

To become a physician in the United States, you must first complete at least four years of undergraduate study before moving on to four years of medical school and a three- to seven-year residency. Completing a bachelor's degree is the first step in becoming a physician.

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Medical school does not require medical school applicants to choose a bachelor's degree with a strong scientific focus. Instead, you are free to take whatever degree your heart desires. It is highly recommended to take preliminary medical courses so as not to fall behind in medical studies. This includes courses in English, Calculus, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics and Biology.

2. Revise e passe no MCAT.

Medical schools in the US use theAdmission test for medical school.to evaluate candidates who are suitable to enroll in their programs. Set aside some time each day to prepare for the MCAT, as this test cannot be taken with a lot of studying. The MCAT is your ticket to medical school, so give it your all and pass the exam.

3. Enroll in medical schools.

Yes, you read that right: schools. Most medical schools have low acceptance rates. This fierce competition for admissions should encourage you to apply to multiple schools as quickly as possible. While there's no rush to apply, it's best to make a note of the medical schools you want to apply to.

When you are ready to submit your requests, be careful when filling out the form.American Medical College Enrollment Serviceor AMCAS. The AMCAS is your single application document for all medical schools you will apply to.

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4. Enroll in medical school.

In addition to obtaining a college transcript and passing the MCAT, another step toward becoming a doctor in the US is to enroll in a medical school. Medical schools will also test your interpersonal and communication skills through interviews. Impress the panel with thoughtful, thoughtful answers to your questions. This should leave a lasting impression on you and increase your chances of approval.

Medical schools have differences that you need to be aware of. If you want to specialize in research work, a research-oriented school will take you one step closer to the laboratory. On the other hand, primary care specialists deal with the hands-on care and treatment of patients.

Some of the most popular schools to study medicine in the United States includeHarvard University,Johns Hopkins University, it's himUniversity of Chicago.

5. Pass the first 2 parts of the national licensing exams.

If you are interested in becoming a doctor with an M.D. or a doctor of osteopathic medicine with O.D. degree, you must pass the licensing exams. MD students take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Meanwhile, the D.O. must pass the United States Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination or COMLEX-USA. You can also opt for USMLE.

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These entrance tests are divided into three parts. Experts strongly recommend that medical students take the first two parts of the exam during medical school.

6. Apply for a residency program.

As students reach their fourth year of medical school, they will begin to explore specialty options they are passionate about, such as anesthesiology or ophthalmology. Applying for a residency program is another important step in becoming a physician in the United States. To apply for residency in the United States, you will likely do theNational Resident Correspondence Program. If you want to specialize in a highly competitive field such as neurological surgery, you may need to take advantage of a blended program designed specifically for that medical specialty.

7. Complete medical school and begin your residency.

After completing your medical degree, you are officially a doctor. Congratulations! It's time to embark on a new journey as a medical professional. Length of stay in the United States is typically 3 to 7 years. Before opening your clinic, you must first serve as an intern. Medical residents work full time and also receive full salary.

8. Pass the last part of the national licensing exams.

As you approach the completion of your medical residency program, you can focus on passing the third and final part of the national licensing exam. Whether USMLE, COMLEX-USA, or both, these national licensing exams determine your qualifications to effectively practice as a physician.

(Video) How to Become a Doctor in the USA

9. Get a general medical license.

In the United States, a general medical license is among the minimum requirements for a physician to practice medicine. The physician's license ensures that you, as a physician, have a credible medical background and are capable of diagnosing patients in your area of ​​responsibility. Licensing is a mandatory process, while board certifications are a voluntary process.

10. Work towards board certifications.

Unlike medical approvals, board certifications are completely up to you. Board certifications are specific to the specialty and/or subspecialties you practice. Each certification comes with its own set of requirements. Board certifications usually consist of rigorous written exams and occasional oral exams.

HeAmerican Board of Medical SpecialtiesFacilitates board certifications. If you pass the exams, you will be recognized as a diplomat.Certification Authority. There are 24 certifying bodies in the United States, all of which assess physicians' skills and abilities to provide safe services to their patients within their specialty.

Pursuing a career in medicine is about more than just the money and prestige it brings to your name. Before becoming a full-fledged doctor, you must put in years of hard work studying and improving your medical specialty. Working hours in the medical field are long and unpredictable. Burnout is common among physicians. Not to mention the lack of doctors in the near future.


But of course, being a doctor also brings some of life's greatest triumphs. As a doctor, you can help people feel better and overcome their illnesses. There is nothing more rewarding than having patients thank you for your services and expressing their gratitude for entrusting you with their health.

I hope this article on the steps to becoming a doctor in the United States has been helpful. You can find more information about studying abroad atPrograms available for international students!


What are the 10 steps to becoming a doctor? ›

How to become a doctor
  1. Complete an Undergraduate Education. ...
  2. Pass the MCAT Examination. ...
  3. Apply to Medical School. ...
  4. Complete Training at Medical School. ...
  5. Pass Parts I & II of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) ...
  6. Match with Residency. ...
  7. Graduate from Medical School & Start Residency.

How can an international student become a doctor in USA? ›

It can be useful to satisfy your undergraduate coursework requirements. To become a doctor, the students must finish an undergraduate degree, score on the MCAT, complete 4 years of medical school, complete residency, pass USMLE part 3, get board certification and obtain a state license.

How can I study medicine in USA for free? ›

List of Tuition-Free Medical Schools
  1. New York University School of Medicine. ...
  2. Washington University School of Medicine in St. ...
  3. Cornell Medical School. ...
  4. Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. ...
  5. UCLA Medical School.
Feb 16, 2023

What are the steps to become a doctor in USA? ›

What are the major steps to becoming a doctor?
  1. Graduate from high school with strong academics.
  2. Attend and finish college – 4 years.
  3. Earn a bachelor's degree. ...
  4. Attend and finish medical school – 4 years.
  5. Complete a residency training program +/- fellowship training programs in your desired field – 3-7 years.

Does it take 10 years to become a doctor? ›

If we sum up like 12th will take 2 years, MBBS will take 5.5 years and MD or MS will take 3 years. Hence 10.5 years is required to become a doctor.

How can I get medical scholarship in USA? ›

Application Process for MBBS Scholarships in the USA
  1. Good academic record in 10th and 12th class higher secondary education.
  2. Bachelor of Sciences(BS) degree in Biology, Chemistry, or another related subject.
  3. Good scores in NEET and MCAT exam.
  4. Proof of English proficiency through high scores in IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, etc.
Nov 4, 2022

How do international students pay for med school? ›

It is also recommended that students speak directly to the financial aid staff at each medical school they may be interested in attending. In most cases, international students will need to secure private loans or institutional loans if offered by the medical school.

How many years is med school in USA? ›

How long is medical school? Medical school takes 4 years to complete, but to become a doctor you'll also spend 3–7 years in residency.

Do med students get paid? ›

Medical students don't get paid during school, clinical rotations, or clerkships. Of course, those who hold a job—like those listed above—can earn some money during their medical student years. But medical school students don't earn anything for the clinical care they provide until they've completed their studies.

What country is the cheapest to go to med school? ›

These are the cheapest countries for MBBS:
  • China (3,000-10,000 USD/year)
  • Kyrgyzstan (2,000-9,000 USD/year)
  • Kazakhstan (3,000-9,000 USD/year)
  • Bangladesh (4,000-7,000 USD/year)
  • Philippines (3,000-7,000 USD/year)
  • Georgia (4,000-7,000 USD/year)

What country has free medical school? ›

University of Bergen Norway Faculty of Medicine

Founded in 1946, the University of Bergen is in Norway. Neither international students nor Norwegian students have to pay tuition fees. However, international students should know that most of the courses are taught in Norwegian.

What is the fastest way to become a doctor? ›

In the U.S., the fastest way to becoming a doctor is to choose a short residency after completing your eight combined years of medical school and an undergraduate degree.

At what age will I become a doctor in USA? ›

Generally most people graduate college at age 22 and medical school at 26. Then after three years of internship and residency, many physicians begin their career at age 29. However, the training for some specialties can last until the physician's early to mid 30's.

Which doctor is easy to become in USA? ›

1. Family Medicine. Family medicine practitioners are trained in pediatrics and adult care (including gynecology and gastroenterology) so that they can treat every member of the family. Their work involves comprehensive care and requires an understanding of most ailments.

Is 23 too late to become a doctor? ›

There is no age limit for medical school. You can become a doctor in your 30s, 40s, 50s, and even 60s. In the end, medical schools want students who will make good physicians. Age is not a factor.

What is the best age to become a doctor? ›

Complete MBBS- Although many people enter right away after graduating, students can wait until they are 25 to submit an application. It's ideal to begin medical school two years after passing your class 12th board examinations. Minimum age of 17 years is required for enrollment in the MBBS program.

How old is the average doctor? ›

The average age of a physician is 53.2 years old as of 2021, according to data firm Definitive Healthcare. Definitive Healthcare analyzed more than 800,000 healthcare physicians tracked in its database with a reported birth year. Here are the specialties with the highest average ages of physicians: Cardiac surgery: 58.

Do men prefer a female or male doctor? ›

Among men, 23% prefer a male doctor while 58% have no preference.

Do female doctors marry doctors? ›

One in four women physicians are married to doctors, and 16% of male doctors are married to physicians, says a survey of more than 15,000 physicians in 29 specialties that was published on the Medscape news website.

Which type of doctor is highest paid? ›

Surgeons, Gynecologists, and Prosthodontists are the highest-paid doctors in India, with annual salaries averaging INR 1.91 crore, INR 1.77 crore, and INR 1.67 crore, respectively.

What GPA is required for scholarships USA? ›

Some scholarship committees only consider applicants whose GPA meets a certain threshold. Minimum requirements range from around 2.0 on the lower end to 3.75 or higher for competitive academic scholarships. Generally speaking, a 3.0 GPA or higher will give you a decent shot at qualifying for a variety of scholarships.

How can I get full free scholarship in USA? ›

  1. Fulbright Scholarship 2023. Level: Masters / PhD. ...
  2. Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program. ...
  3. Knight Henessy Scholars Program at Stanford University. Level: Masters / PhD. ...
  4. Yale University Scholarship. ...
  5. Bill Gates Scholarships. ...
  6. University of New Haven Scholarship. ...
  7. AAUW Fellowship Program. ...
  8. Boston University Scholarship.
Dec 10, 2022

Is it harder for international students to get into med school? ›

Medical school applications are hard enough, but on top of that, only a subset of America's medical colleges accepts international students. Plus, most require international applicants to meet certain additional criteria, like coursework at an American-accredited university or demonstrated proficiency in English.

Can you get scholarships for med school? ›

There are medical schools in the US that award scholarships to students with excellent academic backgrounds and other exceptional characteristics, such as leadership, empathy, community involvement, and responsibility. Eligible students usually have GPAs of 3.7 and above and MCAT scores in the 95th percentile or above.

How much does medical school cost in USA for international students? ›

The tuition fees for an MBBS degree course in the USA range between 18,000 USD ~ INR 13,68 Lakhs to INR 65,000 USD ~ 49,43 Lakhs per year.

What is the #1 med school in the US? ›

What is the #1 medical school in the US? Harvard Medical School is the highest ranked in the US. Established in 1782, Harvard has spent 2½ centuries building a reputation of excellence.

Do you get paid in residency? ›

Resident salaries are determined by an institution and correlate with training year rather than specialty. So, in a given training institution, all residents who are in their third year of training typically get the same salary, and all in their sixth year are paid the same as well.

How long is a day in med school? ›

Most medical students spend 6-12 hours every day either in class or studying, so if you do not enjoy learning, you should have major second thoughts about going to medical school.

How do med students afford living? ›

Nearly all medical students qualify for federal student loans , which may include the Direct Unsubsidized Loan and possibly the Direct PLUS Loan. These loans will cover the entire cost of attendance, including tuition, fees, room and board, and all other official miscellaneous expenses.

Can you have a life in med school? ›

Believe it or not, having a “life” in medical school is possible. You might be amazed to learn that you can have school life balance in medical school. While there are times in medical school when you have almost no free time, you can still have time for a social life in medical school and perform well in class.

How long is doctor residency? ›

Once medical school has been successfully completed the graduate school experience begins in the form of a residency, which focuses on a particular medical specialty. Residencies can last from three to seven years, with surgical residencies lasting a minimum of five years.

What is the cheapest medical university in USA? ›

According to U.S News, the cheapest medical school in the US is the University of Texas Health Science Center, followed by:
  • Texas A&M University.
  • Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.
  • University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Sep 21, 2022

In which country is it easiest to become a doctor? ›

In What Country Is It Easiest to Become a Doctor?
  • India has one of the shortest medical school programs at four and a half years. ...
  • Germany requires the completion of a five-year education program to become a doctor. ...
  • Six years of undergraduate study must be completed to become a doctor in Nigeria.
Feb 17, 2023

Where is the cheapest place to become a doctor? ›

Russia comes in first as the cheapest country in the world to pursue a medical degree. Studying for a medical degree in Russia can go as low as US$1,750 per year.

Is Harvard med school free? ›

Harvard Medical School Scholarships

This program is funded from endowed funds, current fundraising, and unrestricted income. For a full-need student, the HMS scholarship funding covers both tuition and mandatory fees.

What is the easiest medical dr degree? ›

A general practice doctor is probably the easiest doctor to become. Even though students must complete four years of medical school and one or two years of a residency, this is the minimum amount of education required for medical doctors.

Does it take 7 years to become a doctor? ›

The six years of study as a medical student is followed by two years of internship, working in a hospital environment, and a one year of community service. After completing the two years of internship and one year of community service, the candidate can register with Health Professions Council as a medical doctor.

Can you become a doctor in 2 years? ›

Doctors must complete a four-year undergraduate program, along with four years in medical school and three to seven years in a residency program to learn the specialty they chose to pursue. In other words, it takes between 10 to 14 years to become a fully licensed doctor.

What are the hardest doctors to become? ›

  • Integrated interventional radiology.
  • Orthopedic surgery.
  • Integrated plastic surgery.
  • Radiation oncology.
  • Neurological surgery.
  • Otolaryngology.
  • Thoracic surgery.
Nov 21, 2018

What is the youngest doctor ever? ›

Balamurali Krishna "Bala" Ambati (born July 29, 1977) is an Indian-American ophthalmologist, educator, and researcher. On May 19, 1995, he entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's youngest doctor, at the age of 17 years, 294 days.

Is 22 too old to become a doctor? ›

There are many aspiring physicians who wonder whether becoming a doctor later in life is a realistic option. How old is too old for medical school? While many physicians enter Doctor of Medicine (MD) programs shortly after graduating from college, you can pursue a medical degree at any point in life.

At what age do doctors retire? ›

According to a report from AMA Insurance, a subsidiary of the American Medical Association, the largest percentage of physicians retire between the ages of 65 and 70.

Which type of doctor is best? ›

Here is our list of the top 10 happiest doctor specialties according to work-life balance:
  • Family Medicine.
  • Otolaryngology.
  • Dermatology.
  • Anesthesiology.
  • Ophthalmology.
  • Pediatrics.
  • Psychiatry.
  • Clinical Immunology/Allergy.
Jun 9, 2022

Why are doctors so tall? ›

Being taller and better looking has several evolutionary advantages for surgeons. Their extra height makes them more likely to be masters and commanders, and gives them a better view of the operating room, including the patient lying on the table.

What is the lowest salary of a doctor in USA? ›

How much does a Medical Doctor make in USA? The average medical doctor salary in the USA is $174,850 per year or $84.06 per hour. Entry level positions start at $48,750 per year while most experienced workers make up to $225,000 per year.

What is the order to become a doctor? ›

Take the MCAT (and get a good score) Apply and get into medical school. Attend medical school and pass your boards to become a licensed doctor. Choose your specialty and complete your residency. Take and pass your final boards to practice independently.

How many steps does it take to become a doctor? ›

You must complete the following steps after high school to become a physician: Complete an undergraduate degree (4 years) Finish medical school (4 years) Complete a residency in your specialty (3-7 years)

What are the basic needs to become a doctor? ›

A degree in medicine is essential for entry into this profession. Doctors (GPs) must undergo full-time study in medicine, followed by an internship and community service. A National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a degree course is a prerequisite.

What's the easiest doctor to become? ›

Least Competitive Medical Specialties
  1. Family Medicine. Average Step 1 Score: 215.5. ...
  2. Psychiatry. Average Step 1 Score: 222.8. ...
  3. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Average Step 1 Score: 224.2. ...
  4. Pediatrics. Average Step 1 Score: 225.4. ...
  5. Pathology. Average Step 1 Score: 225.6. ...
  6. Internal Medicine (Categorical)
May 20, 2021

What age do you become a doctor? ›

Combine that with an average starting age of 24 (or 26 for DO—doctor of osteopathic medicine—applicants), and this means the vast majority of medical students don't become independent physicians until their early 30s.

Can you finish med school in 3 years? ›

Accelerated medical studies take around 3 to 4 years to complete, depending on the school. This often allows students to save a year of tuition, housing and other fees.

What GPA to become a doctor? ›

Admissions experts advise aspiring medical school students to aim for a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Dec. 3, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

How hard is it actually to become a doctor? ›

Becoming a physician in the U.S. is a time-consuming endeavor, and anyone who intends to pursue a medical career in this country should expect medical training to last at least seven years beyond college. Doctors are typically well compensated.

What is the highest paid Dr? ›

What is the best paying job in medical specialties and fields? Anesthesiologists are among some of the highest earners in the medical field. According to the BLS, these professionals earned an average income of $331,190 in May 2021.

Which subject is best for doctor? ›

Subjects To Choose In High School To Be A Doctor

Having a strong background in biology, chemistry, and mathematics will come in handy when studying further. Other subjects like psychology and English will also help in your medical journey.


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