Q:

How do you become a physician?

A:

Quick Answer

To become a physician, you must complete extensive schooling that sometimes takes 11 to 16 years. You also obtain rotating hands-on experience in internal medicine, obstetrics and more. Finally, you may pursue an area of specialty.

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Full Answer

  1. Get accepted to medical school

    Obtain at least a bachelor's degree in any field, although some classes in biology, math and related areas are helpful. Apply to various medical schools. Volunteer experience at hospitals or in medical settings helps with admission. In most cases, you must pass the Medical College Admission Test and submit letters of recommendation. You likely also need to interview with the admissions committee.

  2. Complete medical school

    Take about four years to finish medical school, although a combined undergraduate and medical school program may take six or seven years. Pass classes in anatomy, biochemistry, ethics, law and more during your first two years of medical school. In addition to coursework, you also work with patients, taking their histories, diagnosing them and more during internships. In the last two years of medical school, you rotate through various fields such as pediatrics and surgery.

  3. Choose a specialty

    Apply for a program that allows you to pursue your area of interest. These programs generally take three to eight years and are usually in hospitals.

  4. Get licensed

    Obtain a license no matter what state you are in, although requirements vary with states. You must have graduated from medical school, finished your residency and passed exams. You may also opt for certification to increase your chances of getting employed. Certification may mean a longer residency.

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