Being a general practitioner is a very rewarding choice for many aspiring doctors. Although the pay is above what most people make, it is low compared to other doctors. After paying student loans and medical malpractice insurance along with other expenses, they make considerably less than specialists. You can get an idea of all of these things at Physicians Thrive as it is a website for physicians.
Some are fine with this as they have a desire to be a force of good for their community. Becoming a specialist brings in far more money, and the work is much different when you specialize.
Specializing is also a great way to be challenged on a daily basis. Instead of treating the flu or infections, the work is more rewarding on an intellectual level. Whatever your reason for choosing a specialization, there are ways to find the right path for you.
In this article, I will go over some of the things you need to do to become a specialist.
You’ll need to have an undergraduate degree in something that will set you up for medical school afterward. If you choose a university with a pre-med program, then this is very helpful, but not 100% necessary.
A degree in biology or other science is extremely helpful and will prepare you for many of the concepts that you will find in medical school. This is where you will learn the difference between education and actual learning.
After you get your bachelor’s degree, it’s time to seek out a medical school. The first step is to take the MCAT or Medical College Admission Test. This is going to determine things like critical thinking and proficiency in science-based subjects. You can only go forward with the medical school if you test well.
To become an MD you have to go through four years of medical school with the first two focused on pathology, biochemistry, and law. Then the last two will focus on some specializations. This is your chance to find the right path towards a specialization that you are most interested in.
Do a residency
After medical school, you will be required to be a resident at a hospital for between four and seven years. This is a good time to pick a specialization that interests you most so you can focus on learning the details.
Some specialties are more competitive than others, so some flexibility is usually necessary. You can even change specialties in time if you feel your chosen one isn’t a good fit.
Take some time to apply to hospitals even further afield as there may not be any openings for your choice of specialty nearby.
Once your residency is complete, you will need to take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination. This is when you will officially be a doctor. After you take this, then you can do a fellowship for your chosen specialty. It is basically an apprenticeship in which you will work under the master of that specialty until you are ready to branch out on your own.