Doctor / Physician Career Plan

Become a Doctor / Physician…

Pre-Med / Physician Resources

If you have your sights setting on becoming a physician, it’s never to early to begin!

Steps to become a doctor:

  1. Take a rigorous college prep curriculum with some AP courses. You’ll want a strong foundation in the sciences. Take trigonometry if it is offered at your school.

    Take some health care electives like bioethics and health careers exploration.

  2. Consider volunteering in a health care facility and joining a health careers related club. The Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) allows students to compete in areas like bioethics debate, medical reading, and skills events.

    Shadow health professionals to get a sense of what they really do on the job.

  3. Enroll in an undergraduate program at a respected university. You don’t need to enroll as a pre-med student. You have your choice of majors, but you do need to take the prerequisites that medical schools require for admission. Typically these include biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus.

    Don’t take too difficult a courseload your first semester or two — give yourself some time. But do visit the site of the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) to find out about pre-med summer enrichment and other resources.

  4. Continue to participate in pre-med and volunteer activities as an undergraduate. Strive for a high GPA.

  5. Take the MCAT. Solid scores on the medical admissions test will help you get admitted to a good medical school.

  6. Apply to medical programs that have been accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Enroll in a program and take Steps (examinations) when you become eligible. (You may also choose to apply to a school accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation and pursue licensure as a D.O. — the line between D.O and M.D. is blurring.)

  7. Find a residency. This is supervised practice in your specialty area. Generally, the process entails going to multiple interviews during your final year of medical school and rank ordering them. Then you apply to the National Resident Matching Program for an appointment.

    Complete your residency. You will be providing medical care at this point, and you will be paid, but you will still be in training, and the hours will be intense.

  8. Meet all licensing requirements.

  9. Find your first job as an independent physician. Professional memberships will aid you. You might consult the HRSA about high need positions that offer loan forgiveness.

Personality Traits of a Doctor

The AAMC reports that a prospective doctor is a caring person who is intrigued by medicine, values education, and likes to delve deeply into subjects.