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Becoming a Doctor :: Education, Training and Costs

It’s easy to say that you want to be a doctor. But the process of becoming one is lengthy, expensive and extremely challenging. Once you’ve learned about the different types of doctors, and picked the field that interests you most, you can look into the specific training and education you’ll need.

While we can’t cover every type of doctor in this article, we'll give you a general idea of what you can expect from education, training and costs.


Education

High School: The road to becoming a doctor begins with high school. Take 4 full years of biology, [kwlink1743]chemistry[/kwlink], physics and math (including calculus). These are important prerequisites for getting into college, so make sure you get good grades. Also, experience is invaluable. Volunteer at your local hospital or doctor’s office in order to get your required volunteer hours.


College: Post-secondary is a whole new ballgame. You’re looking at 3 to 4 years of college in which you must earn a bachelor’s degree. Study biology, English and chemistry, and make sure that your grade point average stays above 3.5.


Medical School: Next you’ll have to score well on the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) before applying to medical school. Med school lasts about 4 years. But the learning doesn't stop there.


Training

After you complete medical school, you’ll begin your residency (or internship) which lasts upwards of 2 years. Here you’ll focus on a specialty and work with patients, but not as a full-fledged doctor (similar to the characters on Grey’s Anatomy). After your residency, you can get a licence and open your own practice.


Costs

Becoming a doctor is not cheap. Depending on your location and specialty, medical school alone can cost between $50,000 and $150,000, and that’s only tuition. Textbooks, housing, meals, equipment and fees are added expenses.


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