Medicine is one of the most awesome paths to choose as a career goal. You’ve probably been dreaming of becoming a doctor since early childhood. If your wise, you’ll start taking steps early on to become a doctor after high school.
Different Types of Physicians in the US
After certification, you can choose between becoming a general practice doctor or a specialized doctor. As a general MD, you will deal with your patients’ overall health. Specialized doctors focus on specific fields of study, such as neurology, orthopedics, cardiology or pediatrics.
Different types of physicians perform different roles. Some of general roles of doctors includes:
- Conducting tests
- Examining patients
- Performing procedures
- Prescribing medications
- Providing healthy living advice
- Treating injuries and sicknesses
For you to become a doctor after high school, you need to go through thorough education and training. This includes going to college after high school graduation. You must also participate in relevant extra curricular activities to show your intent to get accepted into medical school when the time comes.
There are various pre-med programs and summer camps that help high school students who want to become doctors. Find local events for teens and do your best to stay up-to-date on industry news.
7 Tips to Help You Become a Doctor After High School
To become a good physician someday, there are also skills you need to start developing now, as a teen. Here are just a few:
- Medical skills
- Attention to detail
- Interpersonal skills
- Problem-solving skills
Just like any other professional career, you need to follow certain steps to follow your dreams of becoming a doctor. Here are the main seven steps to work on while you’re still young:
1. Graduate from High School
Your first step to graduate from high school. This puts you one step closer to kickstarting your future medical career. You’re on the right track. So, head on to college now.
2. Earn an Associate’s Degree
Earning an AS or AA Degree is not mandatory for you to become a doctor. However, you might choose to attend the 2-year community college after high school to:
- Get a less intense experience with higher learning
- Prepare yourself for gruel of attending a university
- Make up your mind on the medical specialty you want to choose
- Save money on the cost of attending a university for the entire 4-6 years
3. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
You need to go to a university to earn your BA or BS. There’s nothing set in stone related to the major you should choose. But if you want to become a doctor after high school, science and science-related courses will be of great advantage to you.
Some of the science-related majors you can take include physiology, biology, anatomy, physics and chemistry.
4. Take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is your ticket into medical school. You must pass it to be considered for enrollment. MCAT consists of a set multiple-choice questions. This US medical exam will grade your abilities in the following areas:
- Writing Skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Problem-Solving Skills
- Scientific Principles Understanding
5. Graduate from Medical School
You’ll also need to enroll in a medical school for the Doctor of Medicine (MD) program. This program normally takes four years, if you work hard and don’t procrastinate.
During your time in med school, you’ll go through academic coursework and get hands-on clinical training. By the end of the four years, you will be exposed to various medical fields such as:
- Internal Medicine
- Medicinal Ethics and Law
This opens you up to new horizons. Such exposure helps you understand which field you enjoy most. That way, you can choose a specialty later.
6. Compete a Medical Residency Program
A medical residency program is a stage when medical school graduates begin their actual training as doctors. This is your opportunity to start practicing medicine in real teaching hospitals with real patients.
Do residents get paid? Of course they do! As a resident, you get paid a salary for this mandatory on-the-job training. You’re not fully licensed to practice medicine. So, you have to shadow experienced physicians during your residency.
It will take you 3-7 years to complete the residency program depending on the specialty you choose, if you choose one.
7. Earn Licensure
The last step is obtaining medical licensure and certification. This allows you to practice medicine legally in any medical facility.
To earn licensure, you must pass all the required United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLEs). These are federal-level US medical exams required for becoming a doctor in America.
Start Preparing to Become a Doctor While Still in High School
Can you apply to medical school right after high school? The answer is yes and no. You can’t go directly to med school after your high school graduation.
However, there are special programs to get you into medical school right after obtaining your Bachelor’s Degree without having to apply. In some cases, you may not even have to take the MCAT. Click here to learn more.
But you don’t have to wait until after college to start preparing to take the MCAT. MedSmarter offers an MCAT preparation course that helps high school students prepare to become doctors. This is an excellent, relevant extra curricular activity to list on your resume when applying to medical schools later.
Interested in learning about steps you can take now as a teen to work toward your future of becoming a physician in the US? Click the link below to check out MedSmarter’s MCAT prep course today!