Physicians are required to obtain an undergraduate degree plus a medical degree from an accredited medical college or university.  Prospective physicians do have some options and choices to make as they navigate their educational career although there are many requirements for these academic credentials. A prospective physician must first obtain a four-year degree from a college or university. There is not one particular subject one must choose as a prerequisite to medicine. It was once common for someone to declare “pre-med” as their major, but currently, it is common for future physicians to major in one of the sciences. Common undergraduate degrees for prospective physicians include a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Biology, Engineering, Physics, or something similar. These are not required – again - but a Bachelor of Science degree will best prepare you for the coursework you’ll be tackling in medical school. Ideally, you may want to major in a subject that interests you, so that you'll enjoy your studies. You should major in something that could lead to an alternative career in case you change your mind also about medical school or have difficulty getting accepted.

 

Medical college degrees

There are primarily two types of medical degrees from which to choose if you are working towards becoming a fully licensed and board-certified physician who is able to prescribe medication, and perform procedures, and practice medicine independently. An M.D. degree is only conferred from an accredited allopathic medical school. The oldest, and therefore more traditional and widely accepted form of medicine, and M.D.’s make up the vast majority of all practicing physicians is allopathic medicine. Medical schools which offer DO degrees are called osteopathic schools Osteopathy was not widely accepted until more recently, as in the past decade or so. There are many hospitals in certain areas of the country that prefer to recruit physicians even now. A physician, or medical doctor, leads the medical team in caring for patients as the primary healthcare provider. A doctor diagnoses and treats diseases and conditions, as well as provides treatment in many forms including medication, procedures, surgery, or therapy. Some physicians provide general, ongoing preventative care, or management of basic chronic issues such as hypertension or diabetes. Other doctors are more specialized, and treat only certain systems of the body on a more in-depth basis. Requirements vary based on the type of medicine a doctor would like to practice.  Residents earn a small salary to cover basic living expenses. (Usually about $40,000 - $50,000 annually.)  Some specialists may attend an additional 1-3 years of Fellowship training after residency. Most doctors work 50-60+ hours per week at least. A typical day in the life of a doctor usually includes 6-8 hours seeing patients in an office-based setting, plus 1-2 hours rounding on patients in the hospital. Surgeons will typically work 2-3 full days in the hospital operating room performing surgeries.