This is not easy! Not to scare you, but becoming a doctor in the USA is a journey with bumps, years of work, and consistent dedication. Since the profession requires too much from an individual, the results of that work are also equally fruitful. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. physicians are on top of the list of highest-paid professionals as per the 2021 median pay. As we said, hard work yields sweet fruits. Pay scale is just one attraction among many when it comes to becoming a doctor in the USA. Respect for working in one of the most progressive countries of the world is another but being able to practice the profession you love in a country of your dreams tops the list. It all looks very tempting, doesn’t it? Now the real question: How to become a doctor in the USA?
How to become a doctor in the USA: a step-by-step guide
Becoming a doctor in the USA is a tough ride but we are here to make it easier for you by providing you with a step-by-step guide on how to become a doctor in America. This guide will give you a crux of everything you need to know about the process of becoming a doctor in the USA. By using this, you can plan your next steps meticulously.
Step 1: Complete 10+2/ equivalent education
Well, this one is obvious. But the catch is that the subjects should be related to the field (of course). Some subjects that students around the world should consider taking are chemistry, physics, biology, human genetics, or related subjects. Since you are planning to pursue medicine, it is obvious that you choose subjects that are relevant. Studying economics or political science makes no sense if you eventually want to go to a med school and are thinking about how to become a doctor in the USA.
Furthermore, it would be great if you pass with the first division or at least get an aggregate of 60% marks. It is not a necessity but better marks make your application to a med school more alluring.
Step 2: Do a bachelor’s degree
This is a tricky one. It is one of the important factors to get a bachelor’s degree or have 4 years of education extensively in a medical field to become a doctor in the USA. It can be called a pre-medical course. Even though Caribbean and USA medical schools do not mention it as a necessity, they do require in-depth knowledge of certain subjects. Thus, students tend to take up these programs and you can too. You can apply to a pre-med program right now BTW at Commonwealth University!
Step 3: Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
As an aspirant who wants to know how to become a doctor in the USA, you must be aware of what the MCAT is. It stands for Medical College Admission Test. It is a common test that all students give to compete for getting into a good medical school. The test is competitive and requires rigorous studying. This test checks a student’s critical thinking, communication skills, aptitude, and subject matter knowledge of biology. Most medical schools consider this test’s score during the admission process. Do not worry, this test is not a necessity, at least at Commonwealth University. Many Caribbean med schools consider other skills as well and not just the MCAT results. It is one of the reasons why you should study medicine in the Caribbean because your holistic assessment is done during the admission process.
Other than the MCAT, few other requirements of medical school include maintaining a good GPA in the pre-med program, a letter of recommendation, completion of required credit hours. Clinical experience can also add a few more stars to your resume.
Step 4: Complete the MD program
Congratulations, You are in medical school now! Or well, you will be, soon. Med school has 4 years of education. Of these 4 years, 2 years are dedicated to theory and laboratory learning. You will learn the basics here about diagnosing and treating an ailment. The second year is a little more crucial since you need to take part in Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE Step1).
USMLE is a three-step examination that international students need to pass to be able to practice medicine in the USA. USMLE is a demanding examination that requires the right guidance and learning. At Commonwealth University College Of Medicine, all the registered students get free access to the USMLE learning facilities.
In the last two years of the MD program, you will be doing clinical rotations in the hospitals, clinics, outpatient care centers, etc. This is the practical training that will prepare you for the life of a doctor. In this you will be working with a physician, learning, and observing. Some students take this clinical experience before medical school as well; however, that is not a necessity.
In your 4th year of your MD Program, you will be taking the second step of the USMLE examination; USMLE Step 2.
Step 5: Complete residency, find your niche, and qualify USMLE Step 3
Residency is your internship under the supervision of a skilled and experienced doctor. Residency programs are long and depend mainly upon the niche you have chosen. It would be somewhere between 3-5 years. You are supposed to figure out your niche during your clinical experience so you can opt for the same during residency and gain experience. These are small decisions that have a huge impact on your career.
After completing the residency you will have to give the USMLE Step 3 (by now you must have cleared the first two steps.) The exam covers a wide array of topics, ranging from patient care to testing one’s ability to practice medicine. Step 3 is the final step of USMLE.
Step 6: Get your license
Once you successfully qualify USMLE, you are good to receive a license to practice medicine in the United States and other countries worldwide. Congratulations! It is important to obtain a medical license to practice legally in the USA.
Start your journey to become a doctor in USA
Since now you know about all the commitments you will have to take care of in medical school, it is time to stop working on how to become a doctor in the USA and start planning. The earlier you start the easier the process becomes to surmount. I know it all sounds easier said than done, however, roadblocks are a part of any journey and you will learn to get through them eventually. Hope all your doubts about how to become a doctor in the USA are cleared now.
Education, training, and perseverance are important components of this journey. Aptitude and academics go hand in hand when it comes to becoming a doctor. Even licensed and practicing doctors have to continuously study to keep themselves up to date with the new developments in the medical field. To get started on this incredible journey of a lifetime, initiate your application for admission to the medical program at Commonwealth University today.