A doctor is a medical professional who is highly educated in a field of medicine, and they work as physicians, surgeons, and other highly trained medical experts. Doctors provide healthcare to patients in a variety of forms, such as performing tests, prescribing medications, diagnosing illnesses and diseases, operating on them, implementing treatments, and much more.
These medical professionals must complete years of higher learning and a number of rigorous exams, as well as completing years of intense training. Doctors are also required to work closely with other healthcare professionals and to be able to communicate with patients and the families of patients in a compassionate manner without technical or medical jargon.
If you’re looking to become a doctor in the USA, you’ll need to consider where you want to apply and how. In this guide, we have provided the information that has been most important for our readers on becoming a doctor in the USA.
A Step-by Step Guide to become Doctor
The first step to becoming a doctor is to find out if you have the characteristics that will help you succeed in this career. Because your training will primarily consist of science coursework, you need a strong aptitude for this subject. You also will need specific soft skills, and you must be compassionate and sensitive to other people’s feelings. Also necessary are strong critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as excellent listening and speaking skills, will allow you to communicate with patients and colleagues. You should also be well organized and detail-oriented.
1. Required Education
A bachelor’s healthcare, healthcare management degree, or healthcare administration degree can create a world of possibilities. The term healthcare is often open to interpretation, particularly regarding career opportunities for allied health professionals. Generally speaking, many individuals who pursue a bachelor’s in healthcare are interested in healthcare management or a health services administration program rather than a general health science degree or healthcare finance.
While it traditionally takes individuals four years to complete a bachelor’s degree, some people will finish their degree program in three years. This can occur by taking courses in the summer, adding additional courses to your workload each semester (most colleges allow up to 18 credits per semester), and by completing a number of college credits in high school.
2. Getting Into Medical School
Admission into medical school is very competitive. According to the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), an applicant with the best chance of getting into a school of osteopathic medicine “is well-rounded, has a broad background, and has demonstrated academic excellence.” In addition, he or she “wants to get involved in his or her community and spend time getting know his or her patients, is compassionate, and has solid communication skills and a healing touch.” To apply to medical school, you simply have to use the Association of American Medical Colleges application processing service. This centralized program will distribute applications to all the medical schools of your preference at the same time. Once you are accepted to and select the medical school of your choice, you will begin a long and rigorous program that will have you take courses in a variety of areas, such as pharmacology, psychology, pathology, medical ethics, law, and microbiology. You will also spend time in laboratories before you begin to work with patients whilst being supervised by a licensed physician. During this time, you will complete various rotations within a wide variety of medical specialties.
Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The Medical College Admission Test is a simple and interesting test. It is used to access the intelligence of candidates seeking to become medical personnel. You will be required to complete the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) before you are able to apply to medical schools. This is a standardized test that examines your potential ability to succeed in a medical school program. Each medical school will have a different minimum score required to apply to their medical program. Essentially, the better your score the more options you will have for medical schools. Keep in mind that the medical school from which you graduate can also influence your residency and career opportunities. This is an important step to start your career. All candidates are required to sit for the Medical College Admissions Test. The MCAT is a fully computerized test and will be offered numerous times on a national basis. Students following a regular program should take the MCAT in the spring of their junior year [April or May]. Scores are received within thirty-days of administration. A student should complete all admissions requirements prior to taking the test. Taking it “for practice” is not recommended since the resulting scores will become a permanent part of the applicant’s record. The test must be taken no later than the September test preceding the year of anticipated admission. Students are urged to apply early and prepare adequately for the test.
The College of Medicine will accept scores from MCAT’s taken no longer than five (5) years prior to the year of desired matriculation. The College of Medicine Admissions Committee will consider and evaluate the old MCAT exam, as well as, the new MCAT exam.
The four  section scores of the new MCAT are:  Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems;  Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems;  Psychological, Social and Biological Foundations of Behavior and  Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. The new MCAT is scored differently than the old MCAT. The range of scores for individual sections is 118-132. The range for the composite score is 472-528.
3. Paid Residency
The next step in a physician’s education is paid residency. Most residency programs are located in hospitals, although outpatient training in a clinic is included in many programs. During the residency, the graduate physician gains expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of patients, with a focus on the specialty she plans to practice. A residency program can last from three to eight years, depending on the specialty.
4. 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. Licensure candidates should plan on submitting their curriculum vitae or resume to their licensing board, since one reason for the licensure procedure is to ensure that candidates are technically qualified.
5. Achieve Board Certification Within Your Medical Specialty or Subspecialty
In addition to the basic requirements of college, medical school and residency, some physicians choose to go on to programs called fellowships. A fellowship offers one to three years of additional training for specialty and sub-specialty fields.
Top Medical Schools in the US
1. Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts
The most distinguished medical college in the United States of America is Harvard University. Since it got established in 1782, it has continued to churn out many brilliant doctors, academic gurus, and Nobel laureates winners.
2. Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore
Johns Hopkins University school of medicine has not failed to maintain its high reputation as one of the best universities in the country.This school receives lots of research funding from the National Institutes of Health and many others, including the Institute of Genetic Medicine and the Brain Science Institute.
3. University Of Pennsylvania
The third position is the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. This high-quality college is the first medical school and first teaching hospital in the United States. For over 20 years, they’ve maintained their dignity as one of the 10 best schools for medical students in the US.
4. New York University
The NYU School of Medicine is another outstanding college to have your medical education. For over 20 years, the college has maintained its dignity as one of the top 10 schools for medical students.
One feature students love about the school is their speed of light schedule, which makes medical school to be completed in 3 years.
5. Stanford University
Founded in 1908, the Stanford University School of Medicine has continued to train top-notch medical doctors all over the country. The school, which was formerly called Cooper medical college, is located in San Francisco.
This university boasts a well-developed medical college and a standard teaching hospital with state-of-art infrastructures and modern facilities for health care.
6. Columbia University
The number 6 position on this list of top 20 medical schools in the US is Vagelos College of physicians and surgeons. This excellent college isn’t only the best for medical students in US; it also ranks as #4 in Psychiatry, #5 in Obstetrics, and Gynecology. Also, #6 in Research, #7 in Internal medicine, #8 in Anesthesiology, #10 in Surgery, and #31 in primary care.
7. Mayo Clinic School Of Medicine
Mayo Clinic ALIX School of medicine ranks as the 7th best schools for training medical doctors in the United States of America.This institution has got many good reputations. It’s the most selective medical school in the nation. In 2017, medical students at this college had the highest USMLE Step 1 board test scores in the US.
8. University Of California, Los Angeles
The Medical in at the University of California is among the best. Still, it is also #5 in Psychiatry, #8 in Surgery, #6 in Research, and #10 in anesthesiology.The school has excellent medical facilities and a suitable environment for training medical students in the USA. Furthermore, students in this college are allowed to combine with degrees such as MBA, and the UCLA Anderson School of management.
9. University Of California, San Francisco
The University of California at San Francisco arrives on this list as one of the top medical schools in the US. It is another fantastic school to enroll in if you want to enjoy your medical school education.
Their motto is “let there be light.” And indeed, they are a light in the nation as they attract some of the best students.
10. Washington University In St. Louis
The medical institution at Washington University in St. Louis makes it to this list as the 10th best in the United States of America.
Medical students at Washington can begin to plan their medical careers right from day one. This is thanks to the numerous electives available.
Doctor Salaries & Job Growth
Doctors in America make an average salary of $179,081 per year or $86 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $340,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $94,000 per year.
Some of the salaries are as follows
· Resident Physician
Avg. salary: $127,554
A Resident Physician participates in a program of graduate medical education and training in a specialized area of medicine. They work with other members of the healthcare team to provide direct medical care to patients.
· Resident Physician In Radiology
Avg. salary: $202,921
A resident physician in radiology provides comprehensive education, training, and experience in all areas of diagnostic imaging, including plain film radiography, angiography, and interventional procedures, computed tomography, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, mammography, nuclear radiology, physics, radiobiology, and radiation protection. They also work to create an intellectual environment that encourages residents to continue active learning and continuing medical education following completion of the program.
Avg. salary: $232,982
Physicians’ general responsibility is to check, diagnose, and treat a patient’s condition to improve their overall wellness. A physician could be General Practitioners or Specialist Physicians, wherein General Practitioners are physicians who provide regular checkups for patients depending on their needs and refer them to a Specialist Physicians who are more skilled in a particular field of expertise for a thorough diagnosis. Physicians monitor a patient’s medical history and ensure follow-up checkups to observe if the condition of a patient is changing over time. A physician may refer a patient to other health professionals for further examination as needed.
Avg. salary: $227,080
A cardiologist is an expert at diagnosing and treating cardiovascular diseases. They are primarily in charge of conducting initial assessment and interview, conducting extensive examinations, studying the patient’s medical history, and recommending the best care practices for patients. A cardiologist must also discuss the situation with patients, helping them understand the extent of their conditions and corresponding procedures, referring them to other services as needed. Furthermore, there are instances when a cardiologist must use imaging equipment for diagnosis, prescribe medication, and perform surgeries.
Avg. salary: $233,873
Nephrologists are physicians responsible for diagnosing and treating kidney-related medical conditions. They focus on kidneys and the whole renal system of the body. They perform medical diagnoses, which can include glomerulonephritis, hydronephrosis, and renal cancer. They conduct consultations to diagnose disease by evaluating a patient’s kidney to determine treatment and occasionally perform transplant procedures. In addition, they will also refer patients to surgeons, recommending dialysis or treatment, and administer medication to manage kidney related-conditions.
Skills of a Successful Doctor Career
The following 10 qualities make a good doctor:
Perhaps, more than any other quality, patients seemed to want to have a sense that their doctor knows what they’re doing…and knows it. Whether dispensing treatment or dispensing advice, patients want a doctor who has, and who inspires, confidence. Over and over again, patients highlighted – above all else – their desire to have a doctor whose manner and actions reassure them that someone qualified is in the driver’s seat: Not at all an unreasonable request when dealing with your health!
“The ‘ideal’ doctor is someone who validates my pain, listens to my problem and treats me with professional courtesy,” says one patient. Above and beyond almost all other attributes, patients who were asked said they value a doctor who tries to understand what they am feeling and experiencing, physically and emotionally, and communicates that understanding to them.
More than just being book-smart, patients want a doctor who is talented at what they do: A doctor who uses evidence, method, and intuition, as well as other subjective and objective items in their toolkit to provide the fastest, most effective treatment possible.
Even more important than knowledge for patients is whether their doctor is “in the room” with them and not distracted with the flurry of other demands on their time. A past study suggested that doctors no longer have the luxury of building a relationship with their patients; in other words, an attitude of “get in, diagnose, on to the next person” now prevails. A dream situation for any patient would be to snag a doctor who has somehow found how to move beyond this mindset.
Higher-up on the list of priorities, patients – quite sensibly – want a doctor that has the broadest-possible general knowledge of medicine. They also want a doctor who is committed to continuing education, keeping abreast of the latest techniques and advances to the benefit of their patients.
Time and again, patients want to know that their doctor is not owned by big pharma. They also want to know simply that doctors are able to give unbiased advice, free from natural prejudice, non-factual opinions, and corporate influence.
7. Lives and promotes a healthy lifestyle
We were amazed this didn’t get mentioned even more, but nevertheless, many commented that their doctors should set an example as healthy citizens. This includes things such as being a non-smoker, eating right, exercising and maintaining a healthy physique, as well as taking the time to proactively emphasize the benefits of staying healthy, especially at routine check-ups rather than dispensing medical advice only after one or more things have started to go wrong.
“The doctor takes my input seriously and works with me,” is the way one of the hundreds of respondents to the Mayo survey best summed this up. Other oft-mentioned attributes that we felt fall into this category are a willingness to value patients’ wishes in the decision-making process and going to bat for patients with any other medical professionals they may refer them to.
9. Honest and forthright
“Tell it to me straight, doc. I can take it.” Even patients who were a little squeamish about bad news wanted their doctor to bite the bullet and just tell them the news in plain language. They want their doctor to just rip the band aid off; whether or not they themselves are willing to. Such patients also would be more forgiving of a doctor who made a mistake but at least admitted it straight away.
Among the ten most common items on patient checklists boiled down to whether their potential doctor had the ability to be caring and compassionate. In other words, patients want a doctor who is interested in their patients as human beings, not just information on a chart. Respondents also cited the importance of a doctor who actually remembers them.
The Bottom Line
The health-care industry is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the economy. Within the field, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 13 percent growth in new job opportunities for physicians and surgeons between 2016 and 2026. Doctors who are willing to practice in regions that have been traditionally under-served by the medical community, such as rural areas and inner-city communities, should have even better employment opportunities. Pay varies widely by specialty. The BLS reported a median income of $208,000 for all physicians and surgeons in 2016, but anesthetists and other specialized practitioners can earn well over $400,000 a year.