Becoming a physician of any discipline is an exhausting journey. Schooling, studying, residencies, and test-taking will take years. General physicians often go through 11 years of schooling, while specialists may go to school for 13 years before they are ready to practice medicine independently.
Starting Your Journey
Since so much is involved in becoming a physician, once you’ve decided medicine is the career path for you it can be difficult to know where to begin. Your career path will begin in your undergraduate program, where you’ll study science, math, and other related subjects that will build a foundation for your career in medicine.
More Schooling and Exams
After completing your undergraduate degree you’ll want to move on to medical school, but first, you need to be accepted. To get into medical school you’ll need to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) exam and receive a passing score. This test can be extremely stressful for students as it is a huge hurdle that you’ll need to get over before moving on to the next step.
Once you’ve completed medical school, there are still more tests to be taken! You’ll need to pass your medical boards to become a licensed physician. The USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination) occurs in 3 phases during medical school and is required to move on in your career path. The first USMLE occurs after two years of medical school, in the fourth year students complete the second USMLE, and finally, the third exam is taken during the first year of residency. With the stress of medical school, it can be helpful to take a clinical knowledge prep course to help you prepare for the USMLE exams.
With years of schooling and tests required to move on in your chosen field, becoming a physician requires years of dedication, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Once you’ve completed your studies and can help patients all of your hard work will have been worth it!