How To Become A Doctor In The US

How to Become a Doctor in the US

Do you love saving the lives of people and cure the lethal diseases that hurt them? If you’re positive, becoming a doctor will help you treat humans and get rid of all pain and disorders. While watching movies, we all got inspired by the scene in which doctors saved the life of the victim and played the role of God descended on earth. Some of us took this scene as our passion, while others followed the imprints of ones around them, saving lives every day. So, if you want to play the role of the savior, this guide can be a good start for you. 

In case you love saving lives of animals than humans, you can also follow our guide:-

How to Become a veterinarian

Who is a Doctor?

A Doctor is a professional who practices medicine. These are professionals who specialize in diagnosing, curing, and treating injuries. Their most important function is to restore life form to its usual and healthy self.

Doctors are also referred to as Physicians and Medical Practitioners, Medical Doctors. All Doctors practice medicine, but some choose to specialize in an area familiar to their interests. A doctor who treats various illnesses in different age groups and sexes is a general physician. A Doctor who specializes in a particular area is a specialist.

Types of Doctors – Different Fields of Practice

Doctor in Psychiatry

They specialize in mental disorders in a human, and after they test a mentally disturbed person, they can prescribe medicine to a patient.

for more info, also read our guide:-

How to Become a Psychiatrist

Doctor in Podiatry Medicine (DPM)

These are specialists who do diagnosis, studies and treats patients with foot, lower legs, and ankle problems in humans.

Doctor in Optometry

These are specialists who treat eye problems that also include vision. Also, they treat eye disorders like Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Macular degeneration.

Dental Surgeon

These are doctors who specialize in dental issues with human teeth.

Urologist

A doctor who specializes in the study of urinary tracks of human males and females and the male reproductive system.

Obstetrician

A doctor who specializes in women’s reproductive tract, childbirth, and postnatal. Most gynecologists are modern obstetricians.

Pediatrician

A doctor who specializes in the health of infants, adolescents, and children.

Oncologist

A doctor who specializes in diagnosing cancer (tumor) in humans and treating it through surgery, chemotherapy, etc.

Neurologist

A doctor who specializes in dealing with the human nervous system.

Cardiologist

A doctor who specializes in heart disorders in humans.

Nephrologist

A doctor who specializes in studying, diagnosing, and treating diseases of the Human Kidney.

Rheumatologist

A doctor who specializes in diseases like arthritis and joint pains in humans.

Dermatologist

A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating skin problems in humans.

Endocrinologist

A doctor who specializes in the study and treatment of thyroid diseases in a human.

Gastroenterologist

A doctor that specializes in disorders of the human digestive system.

Surgeon

A doctor who specializes in surgeries.

To serve as a medical assistant who executes surgery, read our blog:-

How to Become a Medical Assistant 

Anesthesiologist

A doctor who specializes in administering anesthesia to a patient undergoing surgery.

History and Origin of Medicine

The history of medicine has its association with Hippocrates, who was an ancient Greek Physician. He’s known as the father of modern medicine. He was the creator of the first medical school in Greece called the “Hippocratic School of Medicine.” Many believe that medicine first originated from ancient Egypt rather than Greece. But, even then, the epitome of ancient medicine was Hippocrates.

Up until the 16th-century, the medicine existed only in the form of herbs and plants. It was a German Scientist named “Domagk” who concluded that to stop the bacterial illnesses from spreading the use of drugs is crucial.

In 1846, it was an American dental surgeon named “William Thomas Green Morton,” who first used anesthesia on his patients. It is because of his efforts that they did not feel any pain during surgery. He used Ether, a colorless liquid for inhalation, which will make a person unconscious. Today anesthesia has developed so much that only a small part of it on a patient makes the part numb in a particular body part.

Discovery of Penicillin

Another important event in the history of medicine was the discovery of Penicillin. It is an antibiotic that was first used to kill bacteria that caused syphilis and staphylococcus infections. The inventor of Penicillin was a Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming in 1928.

Yet another discovery in the history of medicine was Streptomycin. A Jewish scientist discovered it by the name of Selman Abraham Waksman in 1943. Streptomycin was an antibiotic that could cure tuberculosis. The first trial of Streptomycin took place on a pulmonary tuberculosis patient between 1946 and 1947.

In today’s life, we are fortunate to have so many practitioners who become doctors to cure our illnesses. Yet, there are so many other illnesses that we are however, to find cures for—for instance, cancer, AIDS, progeria, diabetes, hepatitis, e.t.c. But, the advancement in this field will bring innovations in the field of medicines. 

To know more about the field of medicines and the job roles it offers, read our blog:-

How to Become a Pharmacist

How Much Does a Doctor Earn in the U.S.?

A doctor’s salary depends on various factors like their specialization, practice, and where they work. Doctors are amongst the top five percent of people in the United States who draw the highest salary. Well, why not since they invest:-

  • a lot of money (approx of $142,000 in debt to attend medical school)
  • So much time (approx eleven to twelve years of schooling and training)
  • a lot of personal sacrifices to become a doctor.

The annual average salary of a doctor in the U.S. is anywhere between $150,000 to $260,000. Now, these figures are to give you a general idea and might differ as per each state and area of practice. Cardiologist and Neurologist in any country received the highest salaries. In the U.S. alone, they get about $500.000 or more per year.

The next highest-paid doctor in the U.S. is an anesthesiologist. The starting salary of this physician is $250,000 to $451,000 avg per year. A Dermatologist earns $225,000 to $420,000 avg per year. A Pediatrician earns $130,000 to $166,000 avg per year. An Oncologist earns $200,000 to $400,000 avg per year.

Since these doctors have spent so many years in medical education that they do not know how to invest their earnings for future returns, most of their salary goes into tax, and the remaining lie around, which, if you see, they can put into other investments for later returns. 

Educational Qualification for Becoming a Doctor

The decision to become a doctor might be difficult, as a lot of money, time, and hard work are the need by the medical school. The initial step to becoming a doctor must take place in high school. You need excellent grades in biology, physics, chemistry, and math to be able to register for the entrance exams.

The Undergraduate Degree

After you’re done with high school, you will have to enroll your self in the right undergraduate college to seek a bachelor’s degree. To complete a bachelor’s, you’ll take four years to complete. The subjects you choose here find a relation to science and maths with English as well. These three subjects are essential in medical school, along with a good grade point of 3.5 to 4.0.

If you graduate with a good GPA, you’ll have to sit for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) test. MCAT is a standardized method of testing prospective medical students in:-

  • problem-solving
  • principles of science
  • scientific concepts
  • analysis
  • writing skills
  • critical thinking

While applying to a medical school, the board committee will consider two main factors, i.e., your GPA and MCAT scores. Then, if you get selected, the interview fixing takes place with you to approve of your school’s admission. So make sure you put in a lot of time and dedication to prepare for the MCAT test if your only plan is to become a doctor. Sometimes medical schools will also need a recommendation letter from your undergraduate college.

The Master’s Degree

Once a medical school has selected you, the other processes continue after that. It will take you another four to complete the degree program to become an M.D (Doctor of Medicine) or a D.O (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). The first two years of course work will be on subjects related to:-

  • anatomy
  • physiology
  • biochemistry
  • histology
  • pharmacology
  • microbiology

After the completion of the second year in medical school, you can take USMLE (the United States Medical Licensing Examination), which is for M.D. 

You can also take the COMLEX (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination) licensing exam, which is for D.O.’s. Medical students take these tests to progress to the third year of clinical.

After the second year of medical school and the step one licensing exam, you can get into the third and fourth years of medical school based on clinical. In clinical, students will learn to take care of patients under the supervision of resident doctors. These last two-year students will also put on Rotations to teach you many other settings in a hospital environment. After the completion of the third and fourth year of medical school, you will have to sit for step two licensure exams of USMLE and COMLEX.

The Doctorate Degree

Now that you have completed the four years medical school and the step two licensure exams, you are currently titled as M.D. and D.O.’s. But, becoming a doctor won’t wrap up with this much. You can’t practice unless you complete a one-year internship program and take the third step USMLE and COMLEX licensure exam. M.D.’s (Doctor of Medicine) and D.O.’s (Doctor in Osteopathic Medicine) are the same with a negligible difference. Both these doctors have an equal scope of opportunities to practice in the United States.

How Many Years Does it Take to Become a Doctor?

To become a doctor in the U.S., it would take approx 10 to 12 years or beyond, conditional. Before you enroll in medical school, make sure you ask all the relevant questions.

Although one spends a lot of money on becoming a doctor, the reward one gets back as a salary is outstanding. Also, the satisfaction of saving others’ lives that comes along with these monetary benefits is eternal.

USMLE is a three-step licensing exam for students attending four-year medical school to be M.D.’s (Doctor of Medicine). 

COMLEX is a three-step licensing exam for students attending four-year medical school to be D.O.’s (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). 

Following up with all the above criteria, you can become a doctor in the U.S. at good pay. So, follow your passion for saving lives and bring in innovations in the field of medicine. 

If nursing than treatment is more of your trait, you can read our blog:-

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner 

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