Medical Doctor Career Path

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Medical Doctor Career Path

Becoming a medical doctor is no easy task. It takes years of hard work and dedication to achieve the level of education and training required to practice medicine. But it is a very rewarding career, both financially and emotionally. In this post, we will explore the process of becoming a medical doctor, from start to finish.

1. What Is a Medical Doctor?

A medical doctor is a person who practices medicine, which is defined as the science or practice of diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease. Medical doctors diagnose illnesses using tools such as blood tests and x-ray imaging, among other techniques. They also perform surgeries, deliver babies and prescribe medications to treat health problems. Medical doctors can specialize in many areas of medicine, including internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, and general surgery.

Medical doctors are also called physicians. As you might guess, there are few differences between the terms “doctor” and “physician.” Generally speaking, a doctor is anyone who has received an academic degree in medicine from one of several universities around the world that offer M.D. or D.O.-type degrees. A physician is someone who practices medicine and may or may not hold an M.D. or D.O.-type degree.

2. What Does a Medical Doctor Do?

Medical doctors diagnose and treat thousands of illnesses in a variety of specialties using a range of treatments, including medications, surgery, and rehabilitation therapy. Physicians may also order diagnostic tests to help make an accurate diagnosis.

Wellness checkups are important for preventive care, which can catch health problems before they become more difficult or expensive to treat. Medical doctors also administer vaccinations, treat injuries and provide rehabilitation to people recovering from surgery or an injury.

Medical doctors are responsible for writing prescriptions for medications that patients need. They usually collaborate with other professionals in a patient’s healthcare team, including pharmacists who fill the prescriptions they write.

3. What Is it Like Being a Medical Doctor?

It takes many years of intensive study to become a medical doctor, followed by many more years of on-the-job training. At the beginning of their careers, medical doctors are usually called residents or interns. You can choose an area of medicine in which you want to practice and enter a residency program tailored for your choice. For example, if you work as a high school biology teacher but have always dreamed of being a medical doctor, you can pursue your medical degree and then spend several years in residency learning to be an obstetrician/gynecologist.

4. How to Become a Medical Doctor?

The initial step to becoming a medical doctor is obtaining an undergraduate degree, which includes courses in the sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), mathematics, humanities, social sciences, and English. It usually takes four years of college work to obtain this degree. During the last year of college or during the summer after graduation, you should apply to medical school. Medical schools require that applicants have a bachelor’s degree and good grades in courses such as biology or chemistry. In addition, you must pass several exams before being admitted into medical school.

During the first two years of medical school, students take classes in anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, and immunology. They also take classes in the laws governing medicine and ethics, and they participate in laboratory and clinical work.

During their last two years of medical school, students start seeing patients under supervision. They spend less time in classrooms and more time working directly with patients as part of their training to become medical doctors.

After completing medical school, graduates begin four years of post-graduate training (residency) in the field of their choice. Some students complete one or more internships before starting residency. During this time, medical doctors gain valuable experience and learn how to diagnose and treat illnesses using modern equipment and technologies under the supervision of experienced physicians at teaching hospitals.

5. What Is the Job Outlook for Medical Doctors?

The job outlook is good. With the growing and aging population, demand for medical doctors is expected to rise as they are needed to treat an increasing number of patients. However, intense competition will continue to exist for positions in most specialties.

Job satisfaction is another factor that influences the career prospects for medical doctors. Some areas of medicine are more satisfying to certain medical doctors than are others. Physicians working in competitive metropolitan areas often have more job satisfaction compared with those practicing in rural areas, where the cost of living is low, and the pace of life is typically slower.

But regardless of their specialty or location, most medical doctors work long hours that may involve nights, weekends, and holidays.

6. How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Doctor?

Becoming a medical doctor takes many years. You must complete four years of undergraduate work, four years of medical school, and at least three to eight years of residency training before you are able to practice independently. During this time, your primary focus is your education, so it can be challenging for some students to hold down a job. Many medical students work part-time to help pay for their education expenses.

7. What Skills Are Needed to Become a Medical Doctor?

To be successful in this field, you should be able to communicate well because you will spend much of your professional life talking with patients and other people who can influence the course of patients’ illnesses. You must also have excellent problem-solving skills because you will need to diagnose illnesses and prescribe appropriate treatments.

Medical doctors also must have good manual dexterity since they often have to perform procedures that require them to cut into the body for diagnosis or treatment purposes. And because medical doctors are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they should be able to handle stress.

8. How Much Can Medical Doctors Earn?

The salary you could earn as a medical doctor will depend on your work setting, the area of medicine in which you choose to practice, and how many hours you work each week. Generally speaking, doctors who complete postgraduate training can expect to receive higher earnings than those who do not.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 871,400 medical doctors employed in the United States as of May 2011. The lowest 10 percent earned an annual wage of $101,750 or less, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000 per year.

The median annual wage for all medical doctors was $187,200 in May 2011.

9. What Are the Long-Term Career Prospects for Medical Doctors?

Medical doctors who complete postgraduate training and gain experience can reasonably expect to be promoted to higher-paying positions with increased leadership responsibility and management duties.

Because of their advanced training, they also may qualify for research or administrative positions that do not involve direct patient care.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical scientists who work in a university setting can expect a median annual salary of $66,850 as of May 2011, while those employed by the federal government earn a median annual wage of $72,710.

Medical doctors may also advance to become high-level administrators in academic institutions or health care organizations.

10. What Are Other Careers Available in the Medical Field?

Although the most common career path is to become a medical doctor, there are other options. Here are some of them:

Physician assistant – A physician assistant works with an attending physician to provide patient care under the supervision of licensed physicians. Job duties can range from interviewing patients and performing examinations to diagnosing ailments, writing prescriptions, and administering treatments.

Nurse practitioner – Nurse practitioners, have several years of education beyond the bachelor’s degree level and often work directly with patients within a medical practice or hospital setting. In contrast to registered nurses who provide bedside care under the supervision of a doctor, nurse practitioners provide more extensive patient care and can order laboratory tests and x-rays, prescribe medications, and treat patients with minor injuries.

Registered nurse – Registered nurses perform many duties within a hospital setting that may include assessing patients, administering treatment, and writing patient reports. In order to become a registered nurse, candidates must earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from an approved program at a nursing school.

Licensed practical nurse – Licensure as a licensed practical nurse is needed in order to perform many of the same duties as registered nurses, including conducting physical exams and recording vital signs. However, they typically work under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse and cannot provide medication or treatment without a doctor’s order.

Dental hygienist – Dental hygienists work in dental offices alongside dentists to provide preventive oral care to patients. They are also responsible for taking x-rays, applying sealants and fluoride treatments, cleaning teeth, and instructing patients on proper home dental care techniques.

Dental assistants – Dental assistants work alongside dentists and dental hygienists to ensure the office runs smoothly by performing billing duties, sterilizing instruments, and preparing materials for patient examinations. Some states require a degree from an accredited dental assistant program, while others only require on-the-job training.

Medical assistants – Medical assistants work in a variety of medical settings, including physicians’ offices, community health clinics, hospitals, and outpatient care centers. They are responsible for preparing patients for examinations by cleaning instruments, removing sutures, and taking blood pressure measurements.

11. Best Medical Schools

Some of the best medical schools are:

  • University of California, San Francisco
  • San Diego State University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pittsburgh

Medical school is a challenging and expensive venture for many people.

If you are considering medical school in the near future, start preparing now by taking advanced high school courses in languages, science, and math.


So, you’ve decided that you want to be a medical doctor. Congratulations! This is an incredibly rewarding and challenging career path. Before you get started on your journey, there are a few things you need to know. In this article, we will outline the steps it takes to become a medical doctor, from getting accepted into college all the way to becoming a practicing physician. We will also discuss some of the challenges and rewards of being a medical doctor. So, let’s get started!

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