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The prestige, financial returns and the feeling of fulfillment makes a career as a doctor a highly desirable one for many.But what are the ins and outs of becoming a doctor?
What does a doctor do?
Also known as physicians, doctors diagnose diseases and illnesses and devise appropriate treatment plans for patients. They examine patients, take patient histories, perform and interpret diagnostic tests and advise patients on taking care of their health.
Doctors rarely work in isolation, and usually nurses, physicians’ assistants, and other doctors will be working on a case as a team. Even those who have their own private practices usually need a support staff to help with their job duties.
What are the educational requirements for becoming a doctor?
The path to becoming a doctor may not be difficult, but it takes time and a lot of hard work. After a 4-year undergraduate degree with courses in biology, chemistry, physics and math, one has to attend 4 years at an accredited medical school, with the last two years involving practical work in various areas under an experienced physician’s supervision.
What about training requirements?
Following this, 3-8 years of residency training are required depending on the specialty taken, before one can sit for a standardized national licensure examination, such as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Licensing requirements vary by state.
One can choose to obtain further certification in a specialty after gaining additional experience and residency training in that specialty.
What are some specialties in the field I can go for?
You can become a general practitioner (GP) who treats common problems or you may choose to become a specialist in certain types of health problems. Some common specialties in this profession include cardiology, internal medicine, pediatric care, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry and surgery.
Are the work hours in this profession really long?
Yes, many doctors work around 60 hours a week on average. Besides, there are overnight duties and one may also have to attend some cases in emergency when they are on call.
How much do doctors earn?
This is a very well-paying occupation. The BLS estimates a 2010 median annual pay of more than $166,000.
What about employment prospects?
At a job growth outlook of 24 percent between 2010 and 2020, job prospects are good, particularly in rural and low-income areas.
So if you wish to get into this profession, start looking for accredited schools today!