Doctor In US: The Guide For How To Become A Doctor

Doctor In US: The Guide For How To Become A Doctor

Last Updated on April 13, 2023 by Akwaowo Akpan

Doctors are experts in medicine. Becoming a doctor in the US takes a lot of time and effort. It requires working hard for many years and being patient. If you want to become a doctor in the USA, you will need to study for at least 7 years in addition to going to college. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics says that doctors make a lot of money and it is one of the top jobs that pay well in the US.

The things you need to do to become a doctor can be different depending on what area of medicine you want to specialize in. To become a doctor, you usually need to finish a 4-year degree and then attend medical school for another 4 years. After that, you’ll have to train for 3 to 7 more years before you can get a license to work as a doctor.

Degree programs usually teach about general medical topics. During medical training, doctors can choose a specific area of expertise. This article will talk about how to become a doctor in the USA. It will also discuss good colleges to go to, what you need to be eligible, and how much it will cost.

Steps to Become a Doctor in the US

To become a Doctor in the USA, you need to work hard for a long time and be really committed to the job. You can get ready for medical school during high school by finishing tough classes like biology, chemistry, and physics that are called Advanced Placement (AP) courses. It can help you complete your college classes in the future. You can do volunteer work to improve your chances of getting into medical school.

Here is how you can become a doctor in the US! We’ve also listed the best colleges and courses to take for a medical degree:

1. Complete Your Undergraduate Degree

To become a Doctor in the US, you need to have a good bachelor’s degree. It is best if your degree is in medicine-related fields like Biology, Chemistry, Human Genetics, or Physics. Some schools have special courses for students who want to become doctors. These courses teach you the things you need to know to take a really important test called the MCAT.

Top undergraduate courses to become a Doctor In the US

The top undergraduate courses and specialisations that one can opt for to become a Doctor In the US are:

  • BA in Biology
  • Medical Anthropology and Global Health
  • Neurology
  • Mechanisms of Disease
  • BA in Health and Societies
  • Global Health
  • Disease and Culture
  • BSc
  • Human Biology and Society
  • Neuroscience
  • Paramedicine
  • Psychology

Top postgraduate and doctorate degrees to become a Doctor In the US

To learn more about medicine, medical students can take advanced courses like a Doctor of Medicine program or a doctorate in a field they are interested in:

Postgraduate Degrees
  • MD Degree
  • Psychiatry
  • Ophthalmology
  • Obstetrics
  • Paediatrics
  • Gynaecology
  • MS Degree
  • Medical Technology Quality
  • Medicine
  • Community Nutrition
Doctorate Degrees
  • PhD
  • Public Health
  • Dental Surgery
  • Human Medicine
  • Optometry
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Pathology

Read Also: How to Become a Medical Doctor in Finland (7 Steps)

Top Universities for Medical Degrees

The top universities that offer medical courses in the United States, along with their average course fees, are:

University Average Course Fees in USD
Stanford University $ 20,731 per quarter
Yale University $ 61,140 per year
Harvard University $ 64,984 per year
Johns Hopkins University $ 56,500 per year
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) $ 32,588 per year
University of California, San Francisco $ 43,633 per year
University of Pennsylvania $ 59,910 per year
New York University $ 57,476 per year

In some parts of the US, doctors can work as healthcare providers even if they haven’t finished their training program. This is to solve the problem of not having enough medical workers. Utah, Arkansas, and Missouri are areas.

2. Pass the MCAT Examination

If you want to become a doctor after college, you need to pass a test called the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The test has different answers to choose from and the result decides if students can attend medical school. This test lasts for 5 hours and covers skills like talking, thinking, and science. It includes biology and physical science. Many medical schools use MCAT scores when deciding who to admit.

The things Indian students need to do to take the MCAT test and apply to universities in the US are called requirements:

  • Clear English language proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Submit a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) and Statement of Purpose (SOP).
  • Get a good Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score.

3. Complete the 4 Years of Medical School

A school for becoming a doctor takes four years to complete the education and training. In the first two years, students will study books and work in a lab to learn how to find and treat different sicknesses and diseases. In the second year of medical school, students need to take a test called USMLE Step 1. This test covers basic medical knowledge and principles. It is given by the group called National Board of Medical Examiners.

During their final two years of school, students participate in hands-on learning at hospitals and clinics. The students in medicine start learning by working with experienced doctors. The second part of a test that allows someone to work as a doctor in the US is given during the fourth year of medical school. This is about how diseases grow and how doctors learn to diagnose them when they start working in hospitals. Some schools have a program that combines education and medical training that takes six years instead of the usual time. This helps students finish their studies and exams faster.

People who want to become doctors can choose to go to a medical school that focuses on research or one that mainly teaches how to take care of patients. There are two types of medical degrees that you can choose from:

  • Medical Doctor, or MD degree
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or DO, degree

4. Find Residency Along With the Niche

When a doctor works with a skilled and experienced doctor in the US to learn more, it’s called residency. Doctors train for 3 to 7 years, depending on their area of focus. Paediatricians take 3 years to finish their training, while urologists take 5 years. Students can apply for programs using the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

5. Pass Part 3 of USMLE and Finish Residency

Once they have completed their residency training, the person must take the third and final exam of the USMLE. International doctors need to be certified by ECFMG before they can take the USMLE Step 3 exam. This is the final step they must take. This test checks a doctor’s skills in managing patients and their medical problems to make sure they can do it safely and well.

6. Opting for Fellowships or Continuing Education

After passing the ECFMG certification test, a candidate can choose to study a subspecialty of their residency for one more year by joining a fellowship program. When doctors keep learning more, they become really good at treating patients and are very knowledgeable in their area. Doctors in the US must keep learning even after they get their license. They need to stay up to date with new knowledge and changes in their field.

7. Earn Board Certification

After finishing medical school and residency, the person has to choose one of 24 medical specialties and be evaluated by a board in that field. There are certain areas of expertise, known as specializations, that some people have:

  • Forensic medicine
  • Anaesthesia
  • Psychiatry
  • Physiology
  • Anatomy
  • General medicine
  • Pharmacology

8. Get State License

After finishing the training and getting certified, you need permission from the state to be allowed legally to work as a doctor. To become a doctor in a particular state, the rules to get licensed are different in each state. To get a license, you need to pass all four tests of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE):

  • Step 1: Multiple-choice exam to test basic clinical concepts and scenarios.
  • Step 2: Clinical Knowledge Exams (2 separate exams)
  • Step 3: Multiple-choice exam to test the ability to apply medical knowledge

Pursue a Master’s in Public Health in the USA

You can study MBH to become a doctor in the USA. Most people who finish their medical degree (MBBS) choose to study for a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) before going for an MD. Choosing to study MPH in the USA can give you extra time since student visas last for 5 years. Once done, they use the rest of the time to submit applications for medical tests.

The student has two degrees now. One is for finishing the residency, and it’s called clinical degree. MD and other degrees that are not medical, like MPH or a certificate in Public Health.

Job Responsibilities of A Doctor In US

Depending on the specialisation, the role and responsibilities of a medical doctor can vary but typically includes the following roles:

  • Assessing the health of a patient through medical history and exams.
  • Reviewing the result of tests to identify any issues.
  • Addressing the health concerns of the patients.
  • Ordering blood tests and various other tests to identify the problems.
  • Planning, discussing, and implementing suitable treatments.

Doctors can find jobs in hospitals, health centers, clinics, colleges, and research centers. They have jobs that focus on specific areas like delivering babies, giving anesthesia, treating women, caring for children, working as family doctors, and performing surgeries.

Career Prospects for a Doctor in the US

Doctors have many choices for how they can work in medicine. The AMA has over 200 different types of doctors, and the Council for Graduate Medical Education has more than 140 types of doctors with extra training in specific areas. Some medical fields are anesthesiology, allergy and immunology, critical care medicine, orthopaedic surgery, and cardiology. Doctors in the USA make a lot of money. On average, they make $122,000 per year. However, some doctors make a lot more, with the median salary being $232,000 per year.

Some of the top career prospects for a Doctor In the US and their average salary are:

  • Family Practice Physician

They give medical help and take care of patients by checking for illnesses, helping with having a family, giving treatment, and giving shots to prevent diseases. A family doctor earns around 214,498 USD per year on average.

  • Ob/Gyn Physician

An Ob/Gyn doctor is someone who knows a lot about women’s health. They help women to give birth to babies and are also involved in taking care of pregnant women. On average, they earn about $191,153.

  • Internal Medicine Physician

Internal medicine physicians are trained to identify, treat, and prevent adult diseases. Their average annual pay is about 294,682 USD.

  • Internist

With a median salary of 196,520 USD, general internists deal with chronic illnesses. They perform checkups and provide preventive care facilities.

  • Anesthesiologist

Anesthesiologists monitor and administer anaesthesia for patients during surgical and medical procedures. They have an annual median salary of 248,100 USD.

Related Careers

The other career options that are important for the healthcare and medicare sector and their median salaries are:

Job Title Average Salary p.a.
Pharmacists $ 121,500
Registered Nurses $ 67,490
Physician Assistants $ 98,180
Nurse Practitioners $ 98,190
Optometrists $103,900
Audiologists $ 74,890


Doctors make a lot of money in the USA, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the United States, a doctor who has received a license can make about $122,000 each year. Doctors in the US can have different types of jobs, such as working as Internists, General physicians, Gynaecologists Physician, Anesthesiologists, Surgeons, and more.

Doctors and physicians in the United States love to work in New York or Las Vegas.

There are some really good companies in America that employ doctors, like Aspen Medical, Centura Health, Groups Recover Together, Inc., and Envision Physician Services.

Doctors make a lot of money and their job pays well, according to a government agency called the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But it is also difficult and needs persistence and perseverance. To become a doctor in the US, you start by getting a college degree in a medical subject. You can study and take a test called the MCAT to get into a good school after you finish college. Once someone finishes their graduate studies, they need to apply to a 4-year medical school. This is where they start their hands-on training full-time. To become a doctor, you have to take a test called the USMLE. The test has three parts and you take it while you’re in medical school and after you finish.

Next, a person must choose a place to learn and work in their specialized field where they will be guided by an experienced medical expert. Once you complete your residency, you can get a certificate from a board and a license from the state to legally work as a doctor. Doctors can become Internists, General physicians, Gynaecologists, Anesthesiologists, Surgeons, and more. A doctor in the US can make around $122,000 per year on average.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What job prospects are available after completing an MD in the USA?

The top career prospects in the USA after an MD are:
a. Family Physician – $192,000 per year
b. Anesthesiologist – $248,000 per year
c. Surgeon – $247,000 per year
d. Paediatrician – $183,000

2. What are the basic eligibility requirements for an MD in USA?

Different universities in the USA have different conditions for who can qualify to study for an MD. But there are a few things that are usually needed. Here they are:

a. Academic Requirements
The candidate must have completed 4 years of bachelor’s degree in Biology or any other related field of study.
b. MCAT Score
Acceptance to any college is generally processed after the MCAT scores, where a minimum score of 519 should be obtained.
c. Language Requirements
English proficiency tests are required for students who have passed out from institutions where the primary language was not English. The minimum required score for the TOEFL exam is 250 to 300. (computer-based)
d. Documents
Documents such as Letter of Recommendation, CV, Academic Transcripts, GRE Scorecards, etc.

3. What common skills and competencies can help one become a doctor in the USA?

Some of the common competencies and skills required by doctors are:
a. The ability to handle responsibilities professionally and perform tasks safely, sensitively, and ethically.
b. The ability to provide effective and appropriate patient care.
c. Dedication towards the profession.
d. Advanced medical knowledge.
e. Interpersonal and strong communication skills to deal effectively and empathetically with patients and their families.


  • Akwaowo Akpan

    Hi there, welcome to Online Studying Services. As a fan of authentic information and a student, I devise this means to offer reliable information to international students wishing to either study abroad or online. Thanks for stopping by!

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