A medical education is time-consuming, expensive, and highly competitive. It’s also fascinating and can open the door to a wide variety of medical careers. Anyone looking to study medicine and health should know the best ways to get started in their education. Here are a few things you should know before getting a medical education.
All doctors must have a bachelor’s degree to get into medical school. Although many choose a science degree, it is not required for all career types. Medical school lasts four years and is always followed by a residency, which usually lasts four years as well. Surgical residencies, however, can last as long as seven years. After completing a residency, many doctors begin to practice. Specialists typically go on for an extended period of training called a fellowship. While it is not required to practice, many doctors choose to become board-certified in their speciality.
Medical school has the highest cost of almost any occupation. It will be more expensive if you choose a private school. Most students finance the education with loans that are deferred until after graduation. The average medical student in the US graduates with $180,000 in debt and some have debt at or above $250,000. You may be able to get a deferment of your loan repayment if you commit to working in a medically underserved area for two years after graduation.
Your income will be dependent on your speciality and whether you practice full time. It may also be influenced by whether you join a group practice or work for an organisation such as a hospital or managed care organisation. For example, Becker’s Hospital Review reports general orthopaedic surgeons had an average annual salary of $542,362 in 2015. Family practice doctors earned $225,546. however, family practice doctors can generally expect more of an increase in salary percentage-wise because there is high demand for this speciality.
Like any profession, certain kinds of medical specialities are in higher demand than others. Psychiatrists and primary care physicians top the list in this respect today. Primary care physicians include family practice doctors, internists, and paediatricians. Hospitalists, who manage patients in the hospital but generally don’t have a private practice outside the hospital, are also in demand. If you choose a high-demand medical speciality, you may have more options and may be eligible for sign-on bonuses and other benefits. It might also be worth your time to be versed and educated in new hospital technologies. A student who already knows how to navigate healthcare data storage will be more of an asset right away.
No profession is perfect. Being a doctor, however, is a respected and honourable profession with a great opportunity to make a good living and be of service. Before starting in your education, make sure you are ready to face the basics.