Medical school choices in the US

Medical schools

A report from the American Association of Medical Colleges projects there will be a national shortage of about 46,000 to 90,000 physicians by 2025. Joining the ranks of doctors to fill this shortfall requires a substantial amount of time and effort to get more students in Medical school.

How to become a doctor?

Developing the skills and knowledge necessary to practice medicine requires a great deal of time and effort, so it is important to research the training process before taking the plunge. The following section outlines how physicians prepare for their careers.

Doctor careers

Medical doctors are required to earn the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from accredited schools of medicine (Medical schools). They must complete seven or more years of rigorous training and earn a medical license to practice medicine. Doctors specialize and treat patients in a variety of areas, such as radiology, oncology, internal medicine, anesthesia, pediatrics, psychiatry, surgery and gynecology. They use their medical knowledge to diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries; prescribe medications; perform diagnostic tests; perform surgery and counsel patients on healthy living behaviors. They may delegate some tasks permitted by law to other professionals such as nurses or nurse practitioners.

Medical doctor

Medical doctor

See also: What's an university?, What is Science?, What's the best university? What's a medical doctor in society?, What's a High school? and What's a college?


 

How to become a doctor?

Developing the skills and knowledge necessary to practice medicine requires a great deal of time and effort, so it is important to research the training process before taking the plunge.

DOCTOR CAREER BASICS

Physicians and surgeons are authorities in the practice of medicine. They assess patients, diagnose diseases and illnesses, and treat a variety of conditions. They may order and perform tests and use those tests to diagnose and treat their patients. Surgeons also perform operations and more complicated invasive procedures on patients. Doctors and surgeons work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and private offices to health clinics and schools.

How physicians must prepare for their careers

COMPLETE AN UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION

Medical school admissions boards require all applicants to earn bachelor’s degrees from accredited colleges and universities. While there is no specific undergraduate degree recommended for all medical school hopefuls, The College Board lists pre-medicine, biology and exercise science among potential majors.

Undergraduate studies are important for students preparing for the rigors of medical school. Because no specific major is required to be admitted to medical school, most universities do not offer an explicit pre-medicine major. Most students enroll in other disciplines that can provide the experience admissions boards seek in qualified applicants. Two of the most common majors with a pre-med emphasis include biology and chemistry.

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN BIOLOGY
The Bachelor of Science in Biology with a pre-medicine emphasis includes specialized courses that develop students’ understanding of organic and general chemistry; the fundamentals of biochemistry and microbiology; and core concepts in human anatomy and physiology. This structured four-year course plan prepares students to take the MCAT examination at the end of their junior year.
Example Courses

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Genetics
  • Human Physiology
  • Pathophysiology
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN CHEMISTRY
The Bachelor of Science in Chemistry for pre-med students offers a track of coursework in the natural sciences and humanities aimed at preparing competitive candidates for medical school. Curricula emphasize chemistry and biology courses, such as organic chemistry, that satisfy the admission requirements of medical schools. Chemistry programs help students gain key laboratory and research skills while preparing them to take the MCAT at the end of their junior year.
Example Courses

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Polymer Chemistry
  • Microbiology

PASS THE MCAT EXAMINATION

College juniors interested in a career as a doctor should register for and take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The MCAT is a standardized, multiple-choice examination used by medical school admission committees to assess a candidate’s likelihood of succeeding in their program.

MEDICAL SCHOOL ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Medical school admission committees enroll students who come a variety of backgrounds, locations and undergraduate programs. Although admission requirements vary from school to school, coursework and testing requirements generally remained unchanged. Below is an overview of common medical school requirements.

Students need to complete a series of prerequisite coursework, particularly in the sciences. Below is a general overview of the types of classes required for admission:

Course Description Credit Hours
Biology One year with laboratory 8
Chemistry One year with laboratory 8
Organic Chemistry One semester with laboratory 4
Biochemistry One semester 4
Calculus One semester 4
Statistics One semester 4
Physics One year with laboratory 8
Humanities English, history, political science and other classes 24
Letters of Recommendation

Two letters from faculty members, one in science and one from a non-science field. Letters from college advisers and employers are also helpful.

APPLY TO MEDICAL SCHOOL

There is no required timeline for applying to medical school. Students generally begin the application process during the summer after their junior year in college, but some choose to take a year off after completing their undergraduate degrees before applying. Most medical schools in the US use the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS), a centralized application processing service from the Association of American Medical Colleges. Students select their target medical schools and submit a single application to AMCAS, which distributes the application to each institution.

Medical school is a major undertaking that requires dedication and hard work to complete. Learn more about what medical school entails, what students experience during their programs, and what happens after they graduate.

Who Is The Ideal Medical School Candidate?

There is no universally ideal medical school candidate. Medical school students come from diverse backgrounds, but most begin directly after finishing their bachelor’s degrees. Their undergraduate educations vary – some students study the sciences (e.g. biology), while others major in the humanities (e.g. English).

Medical schools seek candidates that bring diversity to the workforce, are sincerely committed to service and have an unyielding interest in medicine. Attractive candidates should be analytical thinkers with good problem solving skills. They should be strong communicators who can establish relationships with others and make challenging decisions while under pressure.

Are There Different Types Of Medical Schools?

There are two types of medical school programs in the United States: allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO). Both programs take a similar approach to curriculum. However, osteopathic programs place a greater emphasis on holistic and therapeutic treatment techniques.

How Long Does Medical School Take To Complete?

Medical school curricula traditionally require four years to complete, then students assume residencies that lasts at least three years (but can go upwards of 11 years). Some doctors may go on to complete additional years of training in a fellowship.

What Are The Requirements In Medical School?

Although specific courses can by school, medical school curricula generally follow the same four-year format. The first two years focus on the fundamentals of body structure and anatomy, with coursework in biochemistry, gross anatomy, human organ systems, infectious diseases and pharmacology. During this time, students familiarize themselves with the role of the physician by studying ethics, health law, patient interaction and medical examinations.

In order to move to year three of medical school, students must take and pass Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. This test ensures students have learned the core scientific fundamentals required to practice medicine in a competent manner.

During the final two years of medical school, students participate in clinical rotations in primary and specialized care settings. Clinical rotations serve as an opportunity for students to apply their classroom-based knowledge in real-world, supervised experiences with patients. In order to graduate and move into a residency, students must also take and pass Step 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Step 2 assesses the candidate’s medical knowledge and clinical science skills.

Once they’ve completed their core curriculum and clinical rotations, medical students move to the residency phase of their training.

What's a Residency?

As they near their final year of medical school, students begin preparing for residency. A residency is a three- to eleven-year training program where doctors receive specialized professional training guided and supervised by experienced physician educators. Residency length varies by specialty. For example, pediatricians participate in a three-year residency while urologists have five-year residencies. The residency matching process takes nearly a year. Students submit applications through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), a process that matches them to open postgraduate residency programs. To complete their programs, residents must pass Step 3 of the USMLE. This examination tests the candidate’s clinical assessment and management knowledge and skills.

COMPLETE TRAINING AT MEDICAL SCHOOL

The path to becoming a physician begins in medical school, which generally requires four years of full-time study beyond one’s undergraduate studies. Curriculum is divided between classroom-based instruction in the sciences and clinical rotations where students develop applied skills in various areas of medicine.

PASS PARTS I & II OF THE US MEDICAL LICENSING EXAMINATION (USMLE)

In order to practice medicine legally in the US, students must take and receive a passing score on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a three-part examination taken during and after medical school. Medical students must pass the first part of the examination, which covers basic medical principles, before entering their third year of studies. During their fourth year, students must pass the second part of the exam, which covers clinical diagnosis and disease development.

MATCH WITH RESIDENCY

During their final year of medical school, students start narrowing down their medical specialty options (e.g. pediatrics, anesthesiology). They submit an application for residency and are matched to open residency programs throughout the country.

GRADUATE FROM MEDICAL SCHOOL & START RESIDENCY

Newly-minted doctors transition from graduate school residency programs. These programs generally require at least three years to complete and provide in-depth training in students’ chosen specialties.

PASS PART III OF UNITED STATES MEDICAL LICENSING EXAMINATION (USMLE) AND FINISH RESIDENCY

The final step of the residency process is to complete Part III of USMLE. This examination covers clinical management and assesses the doctor’s ability to practice medicine safely and effectively.

EARN BOARD CERTIFICATIONS

Once their medical educations are complete, doctors may obtain certification in their chosen field. There are 24 specialty boards that certify physicians in hundreds of specialties and subspecialties. Board certifications require a written and, in some cases, an oral examination.

GET A STATE LICENSE

Medical licensure is governed at the state-level by state boards of medicine, and each sets its own licensing requirements and procedures. Trained and board-certified doctors must apply for state medical licenses before they enter the field.

APPLY FOR JOBS

The final step to become a doctor is securing a job. Many doctors begin their search during residency. It is common for residents to transition into full-time positions after their residencies end. However, some doctors choose to go on the open market and seek out career openings. Other physicians are contacted by recruiters to fill a position.

 

Medical University

Medical University

Sample list of Medical schools

School Tuition & Fees Acceptance Rate Student Population School Type Pro-grams
859
Both Online and Campus
1
1,627
Both Online and Campus
1
Brown University Providence, RI
In-state: $46,408
Out-of-state: $46,408
96.12%
9,581
Campus
1
In-state: $42,766
Out-of-state: $42,766
81.13%
11,025
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $48,646
Out-of-state: $48,646
94.69%
29,073
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $33,796
Out-of-state: $33,796
77.85%
9,130
Both Online and Campus
1
Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
In-state: $44,646
Out-of-state: $44,646
67.36%
30,747
Both Online and Campus
1
Duke University Durham, NC
In-state: $45,800
Out-of-state: $45,800
94.85%
17,575
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $3,959
Out-of-state: $19,156
58.63%
30,441
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $6,312
Out-of-state: $22,656
43.17%
16,999
Both Online and Campus
1
1,245
Both Online and Campus
1
Emory University Atlanta, GA
In-state: $44,400
Out-of-state: $44,400
88.92%
15,852
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $4,721
Out-of-state: $16,529
54.19%
65,128
Both Online and Campus
1
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
In-state: $4,640
Out-of-state: $19,084
79.13%
46,733
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $48,700
Out-of-state: $48,700
79.38%
28,616
Both Online and Campus
1
Georgetown University Washington, DC
In-state: $46,200
Out-of-state: $46,200
94.91%
21,415
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $5,786
Out-of-state: $19,590
30.3%
9,648
Both Online and Campus
1
Harvard University Cambridge, MA
In-state: $40,418
Out-of-state: $40,418
97.52%
35,611
Both Online and Campus
1
Howard University Washington, DC
In-state: $22,737
Out-of-state: $22,737
60.32%
10,895
Both Online and Campus
1
1,104
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $7,878
Out-of-state: $29,058
43.43%
37,027
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $47,060
Out-of-state: $47,060
93.08%
25,553
Both Online and Campus
1
Loma Linda University Loma Linda, CA
5,557
Both Online and Campus
1
999
Campus
1
3,203
Campus
1
In-state: $36,146
Out-of-state: $36,146
73.35%
17,951
Both Online and Campus
1
Marshall University Huntington, WV
In-state: $5,450
Out-of-state: $13,950
44.49%
17,211
Both Online and Campus
1
Mayo Medical School Rochester, MN
296
Campus
1
1,259
Both Online and Campus
1
3,169
Both Online and Campus
1
812
Campus
1
In-state: $33,480
Out-of-state: $33,480
62.6%
9,657
Both Online and Campus
1
Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
In-state: $13,200
Out-of-state: $34,965
78.86%
54,857
Both Online and Campus
1
372
Campus
1
1,522
Both Online and Campus
1
832
Both Online and Campus
1
Oakland University Rochester Hills, MI
In-state: $10,613
Out-of-state: $23,873
45.6%
23,467
Both Online and Campus
1
In-state: $9,168
Out-of-state: $25,668
83.5%
62,715
Both Online and Campus
1
3,221
Both Online and Campus
1
819
Both Online and Campus
1

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