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So You Want To Be A Doctor?

Apr 9, 2008
Life is a precious commodity and those who have dedicated their lives to helping maintain life in others can be a noble calling. While the rewards for becoming a doctor can be both socially and financially greater than other specialties, the effort to succeed at this demanding field is equally great.

For one wishing to follow the path of medicine, their quest will begin early in life. Even in primary and secondary schools the focus on science, biology, chemistry and mathematics is essential to getting a head start once you reach college. While many careers only require the four year degree provided by the average college or university, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree is just the next step on your way to becoming a doctor.

After proving yourself with the Bachelor of Science degree you will be able to apply for and take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). This test will show if you have the requisite knowledge to attend medical school and passing this examination is an absolute necessity for gaining entrance. By now the doctor in training will have usually decided on a specialty to focus on and the next few years of medical school will hone the skills required for the particular area of medicine the future doctor will practice.

The successful completion of medical school still does not grant the candidate with the full title of doctor. With so much at stake when dealing with the very lives of others, several years of work at a medical facility are also required. This apprenticeship service is called "residency" and provides a day to day hands-on experience for the student. Working under the supervision of an established medical doctor, the "resident" will perform the same types of functions as the head doctor with the exception that his decisions and recommendations are reviewed by superiors to confirm that the decisions are correct.

Finally, after years of study and experience, the candidate will sit for their State's Medical Board Examinations. Once successfully passing this last hurdle the hard work of years pays off and they will have the title of Doctor conferred on them. This is not by any means the end of the new doctor's study. There is at the very least a need to keep up with new developments in the field of medicine and medical procedures.

Every doctor in the United States must hold either the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree or the Doctor of Osteopathy (O.D.) degree. While these two aspects of medical treatment vary in their approach to treatment of illnesses and diseases, they are both acceptable to the Medical Association.

At this point in a doctor's career they may settle on maintaining their practice at the level they have acquired or they may decide to further their instruction with more post graduate study. A licensed doctor may attain the Masters degree level of their chosen field or advance to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) level of expertise. It is more likely that at this level of education the doctor will be more inclined to the field of research than work as a general practitioner.

To become a doctor is to dedicate one's life to the betterment of others. The level of education will be higher and the time to reach one's goal will be longer in coming. But to be trained and able to pull a fellow human's life from the grip of death is a skill that has no real comparison in the other professional trades.
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