The first steps to obtain a doctorate in medicine are graduating from high school with the best grades possible, obtaining a bachelor's degree in a science or math subject and passing the Medical College Admissions Test. The next step is completing a degree program at a medical school.
Completion of the first three steps with an acceptable grade or score determines the type of medical school to which one is accepted. There are many accredited medical schools that offer an allopathic medical degree or a doctorate of osteopathic medicine. Once the student obtains this degree, the next step is completing a residency program that corresponds to his chosen specialty. The number of years required to complete a residency is dependent on the specialty chosen, but the minimum is three years. When the residency is completed, the candidate must pass the USMLE exam to earn a license to perform medicine in the United States.
Specific specialties then require an additional fellowship training period, such as cardiology. The next step is obtaining a license to practice in the state where the candidate lives. Once obtained, the candidate must pass a medical board exam to earn certification through the American Board of Medical Specialties. After completing that step, the medical doctor obtains local credentials and hospital privileges so he can care for and admit patients to hospitals in his area. Finally, a medical doctor obtains a provider number to participate in insurance reimbursement and a DEA number for prescriptions.