How Many Years of School Do I Need To Complete To Become a Doctor?

Become a DoctorHow many years of school to become a doctor is a question commonly asked by potential medical school students. As a doctor, you get the chance to give back to your community. You might work with underprivileged children, expectant mothers or help others as you work in an emergency room. You typically spend at least eight years in college and medical school before completing your residency and working as a doctor.

Undergraduate Years

If you want an answer to the question of: how many years of school to become a doctor, you need to look at your undergraduate years first. Most students enter college as a pre-med major, but some students also study science or another medical field. According to The Apprentice Doctor, you will spend an average of four years finishing your degree or program. You’ll take a variety of courses relating to anatomy, psychology, social work and science, but you also need to take some general education courses, including history, English and math. Pre-med majors also take a number of laboratory courses.

Year One and Two of Medical School

Before attending medical school, you must take the MCAT. The higher you score on that examination, the better the chances are of schools accepting you for admittance. During your first two years of medical school, students take courses in anatomy, chemistry, microbiology and other similar topics. You will also spend some time learning how to work with patients and take their medical histories. A medical history refers to any medications the patient takes and any diseases or medical conditions the person has or had in the past. At the end of your second year, you need to take one or two tests before you can continue in the program.

Year Three

Year three of medical school is one of the most important years in your studies. Year three is when you gain more experience in different fields and learn more about what doctors actually do on a daily basis. Third year medical students rotate between different fields, spending several months working for doctors in different specialties. They take histories from patients, present findings to doctors and spend time with patients. At the end of the year, you have the opportunity to pick which specialty interests you and what you want to do with your life.

Related Resource: Best Undergraduate Majors for Medical School

Year Four

When looking a how many years of school it takes before becoming a doctor, you also need to look at your fourth year of medical school. During your fourth year, you must take two more tests and apply for a residency program. Your residency refers to the years you spend after medical school. You will work for a doctor or a hospital and gain practical hands on experience. Your last year in medical school is when you take some electives relating to your chosen field and learn more about the tasks that you’ll do during your residency and after you graduate.

It takes a minimum of eight years of schooling before you can undergo your residency. After finishing your residency, you can work as a doctor or do a fellowship to gain more experience.