Doctor Diploma: Medical Program Overview with Curriculum Info

Training to become a doctor takes many years of studying. Practicing doctors are required to hold licensure. Find out what kind of programs can lead you to this career, along with admissions requirements and employment data.

Essential Information

Most programs require students to hold a bachelor's degrees in a related field, like biology, anatomy, physiology or pre-medicine, as a minimum. Students should also expect to submit college transcripts, MCAT test scores, letters of recommendation, a resume, and a personal statement.

Doctor of Medicine Degree

Medical school lasts four years for full time students. Within the last two years of Doctor of Medicine degree programs, students complete clinical rotations within a teaching hospital. The last year involves specialization in one medical area, such as orthopedics, oncology, or cardiology, among many other possibilities. After receiving their doctorates, graduates of medical programs must complete a supervised residency. This is 3-8 years of on-the-job training in a hospital setting in which residents treat patients in their specialty. Coursework can vary greatly according to a student's specialty. The following are courses are common to most medical programs:

  • Clinical competencies
  • Bioethics
  • Molecular medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Medical Informatics

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ( predicted that the employment of physicians and surgeons will grow by 14% between 2014 and 2024. This is due in part by the expansion of healthcare and an aging population. The median annual salary for physicians and surgeons was $187,200 in May 2015, according to the BLS.

Licensure Information

Licensing is required in all states for physicians. To qualify for licensing, students must graduate from an accredited medical school, complete a residency, and pass the standardized national licensure examinations; other requirements may vary by state. Voluntary certification is also available depending on your specialty.

Doctor of Medicine programs are four years long and prepare students for the rigorous task of saving lives in a hospital. Between research, clinical rotations, and a three to eight year residency after graduate, this degree will fully prepare you for a job as a physician or surgeon and qualify you for licensure and voluntary certification.

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