How Long Does It Take To Become A Doctor?

Depending on your specialization, the time needed to become a doctor may vary. 

The length of time spent in a residency program after receiving your undergraduate degree and graduating from medical school depends on your specialization. 

Before pursuing a doctor’s profession, consider whether you’re prepared to improve your medical education beyond a four-year bachelor’s degree. 

This article discusses how long it takes to become a doctor and how to meet the prerequisites to pursue a career in this field.

The primary duties of a doctor, sometimes known as a “physician,” are to diagnose patients and devise treatment regimens. 

Additionally, they perform exams, request additional tests, write prescriptions, and, if necessary, refer patients to specialists. 

They also talk with patients about the symptoms that developed due to their diagnosis. 

To ensure they preserve administrative standards and adhere to laws related to patient confidentiality, they also work with teaching assistants who work for their practice. 

To succeed in your job as a doctor, you’ll need to have excellent interpersonal, technical, and time management abilities.

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What is Medical School like?

The medical school offers four years of medical training to enable you to excel as a physician. 

Her first two years involved classroom learning and lab work treating patient conditions. 

You will also learn advanced concepts related to biology and chemistry. Her final two years of medical school are associated with gaining clinical experience. 

During that time, completing rotations in hospitals and clinics will allow you to assess how you apply your medical knowledge outside the classroom.

The next benchmark to consider is the United States Medical Licensing Exam. 

This is his 3-step test of proficiency in medical terminology. The first two steps should be performed during medical research. 

The results of the exam are indicators of progress in medical education.

Is Attending a Medical School Worth it?

After finishing the first year of your residency program, you are qualified to obtain your medical license.

Your background in both academic and clinical settings ought to prepare you well to succeed on the test. 

To prepare for the questions you’ll need to answer, you should examine the requirements for the state exam and think about taking practice exams. 

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The questions should relate to your area of expertise. Still, it is also helpful to ask your mentor and coworkers for assistance on what strategies they used to obtain their licenses in addition to knowing the fundamental ideas.

In the state where you take the exam, you will be legally qualified to treat patients if you pass.

A residency program lasts three to seven years and is comparable to an internship for a doctor. 

Consider the specialty you choose carefully to determine how long it should take you to complete your residency program.

The good news is that residents receive full-time pay, which can help with living expenses and possibly some medical school loan repayments. 

Usually, the fourth year of medical school is when you begin training for your residency program. 

You spend most of your time working directly with patients in a specific medical setting. 

After completing your residency program, you can also complete a fellowship if you wish to focus your experience in a particular field, such as internal medicine or pediatrics.

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What Schooling do you need to be a Doctor?

The four-year basic training is a preparatory stage for studying medicine. 

You don’t have to have a specific major to qualify for medical school, but many aspiring doctors major in biology or chemistry. 

Other applicable degrees include pre-medical education, psychology, nursing, medical engineering, or physical education.

These undergraduate programs include anatomy, physics, biology, and human genetics.

Be sure to check out each school’s undergraduate programs so you can choose the right major and decide to become a doctor.  

During this time, you can network with doctors working in your area by scheduling information sessions and job shadowing opportunities, giving you full exposure to their daily work. 

It Provides an opportunity to ask important questions about her career path and receive personalized education and professional development tips.

You can prepare for and take the medical school entrance exam during your undergraduate education. 

The MCAT is a five-hour, computer-administered, multiple-choice exam that shows whether you have the valuable knowledge to get into top medical schools. 

You will be tested on biology, critical thinking, and science subjects. A score of approximately 500 is considered average for this exam. 

It is convenient to take this exam one calendar year before starting medical school. 

For example, if you planned to start medical school in July 2021, you should take the MCAT in April or May 2020.

How long does it take to become a Licensed Doctor?

For their chosen specialty, doctors must finish a four-year undergraduate program, four years of medical school, and three to seven years of residency training. 

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In other words, it takes 10 to 14 years to obtain a complete medical license. 

After completing your residency program and medical school, you must pass an exam for the state where you want to practice medicine.

This is a general timeline for becoming a doctor; however, depending on your chosen curriculum, your time in college and medical school may be cut short. 

After completing the required stages, you can obtain your medical license and qualify as a licensed physician.

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How much does it cost to become a licensed Doctor?

Whether you attend an in-state or out-of-state school and whether the university is private or public will affect the expense of your medical education.

And as many students are already aware, there are expenses other than tuition associated with attending college. 

This means that in addition to tuition, books, food, housing, and supplies, your budget also needs to account for the cost of living in the city of your choice. 

What is the cost of medical school, then? According to data provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges for the 2021–2022 academic year, here is a breakdown of typical tuition and fees by type of institution (AAMC).

You’ll see that the cost of attending an in-state public school is more than $24,000 less than the cost of attending an out-of-state private school, saving you close to $98,000 over 4 years!

This variation helps explain why it is so challenging to make generalizations regarding the price of medical school. 

On the other hand, average non-resident costs at public and private institutions are essentially the same, so if you’re searching out of state, don’t limit your selections to the public. 

Paying for medical school takes careful planning and budgeting because the costs are rising quickly.

A medical student should budget anywhere from $157,080 for an in-state public school to $254,768 for an out-of-state private school over four years. 

These are large amounts, especially if you go straight from college to medical school. 

Fortunately, the incomes in the medical field are among the highest in the nation, with a typical pay of at least $208,000. 

Make sure to look into all your financing alternatives for medical school, including exchange opportunities, specialized loans, grants, and scholarships.

Salary and Job Outlook for a doctor after study

To provide information on how physician remuneration evolved in 2021, Medscape polled 13,000 doctors in 29 specialties for its most recent physician salary study. 

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According to the latest poll, physician income is now increasing again after declining in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects. 

The pattern can be seen from the top-line data from the previous three years. 

The average salary for primary care doctors was $243,000 in 2019, slightly decreasing to $242,000 in 2020 and then rising to $260,000 in 2021. 

The average salary for specialists increased to $368,000 in 2021 from $344,000 in 2020, slightly less than $346,000 in 2019.

In 2021, almost all medical specialties experienced income growth, a first since Medscape started keeping track of physician salaries. 

Critical care physicians, who in many cases bore the brunt of the epidemic in hospitals, only witnessed a rise of 1%, while otolaryngology saw the biggest increase, at 13%. 

Since 2017, the list of specializations with the highest salaries has stayed largely constant. Plastic surgery brought in the most money, $576,000. 

In that order, the following four specialties are orthopedics, cardiology, otolaryngology, and urology.

Overall employment of doctors and surgeons is expected to grow by 3% from 2021 to 2031, slower than the average for all occupations.  

Job growth is limited, but it is projected that an average of about 23,800 physician and surgical positions will be created each year over the next decade. 

Most of these vacancies are expected to arise from the need to replace workers who transition to other occupations or retire.

Employment projections for doctors and surgeons vary by occupation 

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How long does it take to become a doctor in practice? 

In the US, you must finish a four-year undergraduate program, spend four years in medical school, and then work as a resident for three to seven years. To become a doctor, you must study and work between 10 and 14 years.

How quickly can a person become a doctor? 

The area of medicine you decide to study ultimately determines how long it will take you to become a doctor. A bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and at least three years of residency are the minimum requirements for becoming a doctor, which can take up to 11 years.


Population growth and an increase in the number of older people, who are more likely to have health problems and require complex care than younger people, are expected to drive overall job growth for physicians and surgeons. 

Growing demand for mental health care and increased access to mental health services contribute to the demand for psychiatrists. 

As rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease increase, people will seek advanced care using the latest technology, diagnostic tests, and treatments.


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