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Steps to Become a Doctor

Rashida Khilawala
Want to "heal the world"? Think you have it in you to be a top-notch doc? Don't think it is an easy task? Chuck the questions. Read this story for easy steps to have a good career as a doctor.
So, you think you have it in you to actually help save lives? Well, having the will to enter this noble profession is indeed the first step, but, note that the path is fairly long. Determination and focus are of utmost importance. Many people may have "sat you down" and given you advice on how to be a doctor. However, here is a simple, step-wise procedure to become one.

» Step 1: Graduate High School

This is a very obvious step. You need to graduate high school, and with good grades too. Your grades are important for your selection into a good college, as well as proving your inclination and aptitude in science.

» Step 2: College with required coursework

You don't particularly require a science degree from college to get into medical school. But, certain subjects would make it a whole deal easier to crack the MCAT. Make sure that you do have these subjects (or at least a basic understanding of it).
  • College Biology 111 & 112
  • College Chemistry 111 & 112
  • Molecular and Microbiology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Calculus 1
  • Algebra-Based Physics 1 (you require to take calculus before this, so that you understand it better)

If you get a low score on any, RETAKE the course. The score in the retaken test will be used to calculate your GPA.

» Step 3: MCAT

Make sure you clear MCAT during your senior year. Medical College Admission Test is the test you need to clear in order to get into a medical school. The better you score at this, the better the school you get into. The suggested subjects should be taken in college to make sure your MCAT is a relative breeze-through.

» Step 4: Med School

Obviously, your next step is application to medical school. Make your application as impressive as possible. Keep in mind that the panel reading your application should find you deserving, knowledgeable, but not an obtrusive know-it-all.

» Step 5: Interview

If selected after the elimination at the application stage, you will need to prepare for and give the admission interview. For this again, be confident but not over-confident. It is important that you seem eager to learn.

» Step 6: Graduate

Simple and sweet! Graduate from college comfortably. Note, the "fun" is about to begin!

» Step 7: Matriculate

The next step would be to matriculate to medical school.

» Step 8: 2 years of Classroom Education

Post-matriculation, you will be taking classes for 2 years. This could lead to a little bit of suffocation for a few, but you need to stay focused. Theory is often the key to better practice.

» Step 9: USMLE-1

At this stage (post 2 years of in-class education), you will need to give your first USMLE. These exams assess if you have understood, and can apply the basic concepts of medical science.

» Step 10: 2 years of Clinical Rotation

Once you have gotten through your USMLE-1, you will be on 2 years of clinical rotation. Many people are seen to develop "information overload" due to this. You need to stay calm and focused.

» Step 11: USMLE-2

After the 2 years of clinical rotation, USMLE-2 will assess your clinical application ability in medical science. Not tough to crack if you have gathered enough knowledge in the past 2 years.

» Step 12: Apply for Residency

Now, you get to choose a residency. Make sure you take a wise decision based on both, your interest as well as aptitude.

» Step 13: Graduate from Medical School

So, finally you graduate and the prefix of Dr. or suffix of Do. or MD can be added to your name.

» Step 14: Residency Completion

Complete your residency. This should take anything between 3 to 7 years, depending on your selection.

» Step 15: Fellowship or Practice

Once you have completed your residences, two roads open up. You could take up a fellowship and further specialize in it, or you could practice medicine at a hospital or private practice.
A doctor's job is a very noble one; once you have joined the medical bandwagon, make sure that you understand your responsibilities. You could be irritable and irritated like Becker (Ted Danson, the lead in the TV series "Becker"), but if you do your job right, you have done justice to your degree and your conscience.