Becoming a doctor takes more than intelligence, passion, and dedication. It also takes a great deal of time. Exactly how long it takes a particular person to reach their dream of being a doctor depends on several factors.
What is The Typical Medical School Timeline?
The typical medical school timeline starts with an undergraduate degree. Taking AP classes in chemistry, biology, physics and other sciences in high school could give you a jump on meeting the requirements of your undergrad program.
During undergrad, make sure you’re taking the courses that are required for medical school. Some of these include one year each of sciences like biology, physics, and chemistry. You’ll also need one year of English and at least a semester of calculus, statistics, or algebra.
Medical school is also typically a four-year process. Completing extracurriculars, such as volunteering, while you’re in high school could reduce your requirements once you’re in medical school.
Once you’ve been accepted to medical school, you’ll first have pre-clinical studies, which take place in the classroom. Clinicals occur after that and enable you to get a more hands-on education.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Doctor?
Medical school is a long process that starts when you obtain your four-year undergraduate degree. You’ll then need to apply for medical school and complete that program. This typically takes about four years as well.
Once you graduate, you’ll do a residency match that will last between three and seven years. The time frame that you’ll be a resident depends on the specialty you choose.
The total amount of time it can take to become a doctor can range from 10 to 14 years.
How to Become a Doctor at 30
It is possible to become a doctor before 30 but the process takes careful planning. The earlier you solidify your ambitions to become a medical professional, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to start practicing before you turn 30.
You’ll need to take the right courses in high school so you are set up for entering college successfully. When choosing an undergrad program, medical school, and residency, it helps if you are certain about the direction you want to go. Any changes could mean that you won’t be able to become a doctor before you’re 30 years old.
A key factor in finishing your degree by the time you’re 30 is the residency you choose. Some specialties, such as pediatrics and internal medicine, require that you complete three years as a resident. If you want to become a neurosurgeon, however, plan to spend six or seven years in your residency.
Can a 5-Year Program Help You Become a Doctor More Quickly?
Some students can enter a five-year program to become a doctor faster. It is designed to build on the strong foundation that students with advanced coursework bring to college.
A two-year degree with courses in mathematics and specific sciences, such as chemistry, physics, and biology is typically required. Foundational sciences like physiology and anatomy provide you with the knowledge you need to be successful in your career as a doctor.
The answer to the question “how long is medical school” depends on how certain you are about your choice to become a doctor and when you start your preparations to reach your goal. While the average length of time is around 12 years, some people can finish in 10 years while others might take as long as 14 years. There are ways you can shorten the process if you want to meet certain goals, such as becoming a doctor by the time you’re 30.