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Process of becoming a doctor

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7 years 3 weeks ago #86290 by candy89
Hello there,

Would someone please explain to me the whole process from starting medical school to become a doctor (no more school)? When is someone considered as a intern? When is some considered as resident? My current understanding is 4 years medical school, then intern and finally resident. Am I correct? How long is intership and how long is residency? How competitive is it to get into the specialty that you want? I am thinking about trauma, critical care, anesthesiology, and cardiology. How difficult is it to get into one of these specialties? What happen if someone spend all the years in medical school but do not get into the specialty that they want?

Thank you,

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7 years 3 weeks ago #86298 by annie501
I graduated a few years ago, so someone else may be able to give you more current information, but here is what I know.
Medical school is 4 years. The first two are classwork, and the second 2 are clinical. After the first two years, you take the USMLE step 1, which is a huge, comprehensive exam.
During fourth year, you apply for different residency programs via the "match." Most people pick a specialty and apply only to programs within that specialty. A few people apply to more than one specialty. Some specialties are easier to get into than others, but the specific ones vary. I can't tell you if the programs you are interested in will be competitive when you are applying. Candidates are accepted based on grades, USMLE scores, and interviews. Following applications and interviews at varying programs, you rank the programs you are interested in, and the programs rank the applicants they are interested in. A computer system matches everyone up. All of the fourth year students find out where they are going on "match day" sometime in March of fourth year. In order to enter the match, you have to agree to a contract that you will go wherever you are matched.
Some people don't match. Most of them scramble into residency or transitional programs that didn't fill. Others may decide to do other things (one of my classmates became an investment banker). If you don't match, and you can't scramble into the specialty that you would like, then you have the option of switching specialties or starting a transitional year and hope to match into a PGY-2 spot the next year.
The first year of residency is an intern year. Some people spend their intern year doing a transitional year of internal medicine or general surgery before starting in a residency program as a PGY-2 (Post Grad Year -2). Most start directly into their residency program, but are still referred to as interns the first year.
The next few years vary depending on specialty. Residency length can be from 3 years including intern year (internal medicine, family practice, pediatrics) to 7 years (neurosurgery). This varies not only by specialty, but by individual training program. Following residency, you have the option to continue on to do more specialized training in a fellowship. For example, a cardiologist does a 3 year internal medicine residency, and a 3 year cardiology fellowship.
At that point, you are board eligible and able to go out and practice.

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7 years 3 weeks ago #86305 by candy89
Thank you very much for your response. It made more sense now.
I also have few other questions. First one is: for instance, I will go to school A for 4 years of medical school, then when I apply for residency, mostly likely I will have to move right? Also, will my residency be taught by school A anymore? A residency program is from a hospital or from a medical school? I only started looking into pre-med and it seems like most school require: one year bio, one year chem, one year physic, one year bio, and one semester biochemistry. I see decent amount of people going to med school with a bachelor of bio or chemistry, if the above are pretty much what schools require to apply for medical school, why do people get bachelor of bio or chemistry for? It seems to me it will take longer time to get a bachelor of bio or chemistry. When is the best time to take MCAT? After all the classes above?

Best regards,
Candy89

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