Becoming a doctor can be a highly rewarding and fulfilling career choice that will give you the unique opportunity to save lives and help those around you. Doctors also benefit from several job perks, including an attractive salary package, excellent career progression, and enviable job security. That being said, becoming a medical doctor is not easy and requires several years of intensive training. You must, therefore, be fully committed and prepared to put in the hard work that is required to become a confident doctor. If you have decided that a career in medicine is for you, here are four essential steps to becoming a medical doctor.
1. Attend medical school
All aspiring doctors must attend medical school to gain the necessary skills and qualifications to practice medicine. Medical school typically takes four years to complete and involves a combination of classroom learning and coursework, along with supervised patient experience within healthcare settings. In the final year of medical school, students must pass various examinations, including the US Medical Licensing Examination. To gain entry into medical school, students must usually have earned a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject and have evidence of healthcare work experience.
2. Complete a residency
Following medical school, student doctors must complete a residency that can last anywhere from five to eight years. Ideally, the residency program you chose should be matched to your career interests and preferences. During residency, student doctors learn a wide range of medical tasks, including how to conduct physical exams, how to administer medication, and how to interpret laboratory data. Residency programs cover general medical processes along with medical specialties. Once the residency program has been completed, student doctors can apply for licensure and practice medicine professionally. The requirements for licensure vary between states, so be sure to check what is required in advance. You can refer to the Federation of State Medical Boards website for further information.
3. Specialize in an area of medicine
Gaining a specialty certification is not required, but it can be a reliable way to gain a competitive edge and increase your career advancement opportunities. Specialist doctors also typically earn a higher salary and enjoy better job perks when compared to general doctors. Some of the most popular specialist doctors include cardiologists, anesthesiologists, pediatrics, and critical care specialists. Being a medical specialist is a lengthy process that requires multiple examinations and certification by the American Board of Medical Specialties.
4. Learn medical laws and regulations
Doctors and other medical professionals must follow certain guidelines and comply with various rules that are in place to protect patients. Failing to follow the proper protocols can lead to compliance issues and have serious long-term consequences. For instance, an accidental error with medical billing can lead to an accusation of healthcare fraud, which could result in serious disciplinary action and your medical license being revoked. In some circumstances, doctors are also accused of Tricare insurance fraud, which is a very serious federal crime. You can find more information on Tricare fraud and best practices to avoid compliance issues by visiting Tricare Fraud Attorney – Healthcare Fraud Group LLC.
There you have it: the four essential steps to becoming a medical doctor.