“How long is medical school in the US?”is a question that sparks curiosity for Medical aspirants across the globe.
In some countries it costs six, and others five. But in the United States? It’s quite different!
Are you a U.S citizen looking to venture into any Medical school in the US?
Perhaps, you are a foreigner who intends to move over to the states to further your education in any of its medical schools?
Whichever one it is, there’s tons of helpful information you’ll find in this guide.
Even if you’re searching for related queries like:
- How long does it take to get through medical school?
- How long is medical school in US?
- How long does it take to finish medical school?
This guide will answer everything. Here’s how this post is going to be;
First of all, you’ll learn right from the start, the processes of getting into medical school in the US.
Next, you’d know how long is medical school in the US plus a breakdown of the year’s activities.
And to top it all, you’d receive quality advice from professionals on the Kung-fu mindsets to embrace as you get into medical school.
If that’s all great, then let’s jump in Immediately!
What is Medical School?
Medical school can be like football academies. They serve as training grounds where students learn all it takes to become a medical Doctor. To be successful students need to be self disciplined, consistent and focused.
It involves fields like anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and many other medical courses that you must have good knowledge on, before becoming certified as a health practitioner.
How Do You Get Into Medical School in The US?
In the United States, there are about 172 medical schools for you to choose from. However, understand that their requirements may differ.
Whatever the differences may be, you will have to have the follow them before getting admission into Medicine and surgery in the USA:
- An Bachelor’s degree.
- A good MCAT score.
- Medical school essay
The first thing on the become-a doctor list is to complete certain courses and spend at least 3 years in bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. This is a necessity because Medicine and Surgery is a postgraduate course in the United States.
Since the scoring factor here is GPA, getting a very high score in your degree may give you an edge among other medical school applicants.
However, there are certain arrays of courses that are acceptable into medical school in the US. Undergraduate degrees achieved should be in any relevant course that shows your prowess in the areas of Biology, Organic and Physical chemistry, and other science-related disciplines.
But it’s not always the same. In fact, in 2005, about 40% of first year medical students got into the degree with a B.sc in areas asides from biological sciences.
All medical training institutions, however, have a range of courses you must do before application. Some of them include; general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and lab practicals in all of them. And for others, they would want students that have learned courses like English, psychology, biochemistry, genetics, etc.
Whatever field you intend to opt in, Endure to check the medical school’s requirements to know the different undergraduate courses they need.
A Good MCAT Test Score
After having a good knowledge of the top 20 medical schools to study in the US, the next thing is to begin preparations! MCAT stands for Medical College Admissions Test. This is a seven and half hours long test that Medical schools in US require you to take to be eligible for a Medical course.
It is a multiple-choice exam that tests not only your knowledge of sciences but also your critical thinking, writing, and problem-solving skills.
A good MCAT test score would likely get you admission into any US medical school. It is highly mandatory to take the MCAT test a calendar year before the year you apply for entry into Medical school.
Everything should be perfect right? Read hard, good scores in every examination and get into medical school?
But sadly it’s not. Although high scores are a major factor, most universities search for candidates who have special experiences in the following;
- Community service
- Or extra degrees as the case may be.
Which is why a good tip is to write your medical school essays carefully and put in all your related experiences.
After getting in, you’d spend 4 years in medical school learning numerous courses classified under basic sciences and clinical medicine courses.
How long is Medical School in the US?
How long does it take to finish medical school in the United States?
A typical Medical School in the United States takes mainly about four years to complete, after which the student obtains an MD (Doctor of Medicine) degree.
Thereafter, as a physician, you’ll need to complete a residency program which is a supervised training program in a specific field of study.
This program lasts for about three to seven years depending on the specialty. Most physicians feel the need to get further training for subspecialty fellowship training which takes about a couple of years to complete.
The real truth on “How Long is Medical School in the US” is in a sense, uncertain because Medical training doesn’t end. You should know these 10 things to do before applying for medical school in US.
Below is a breakdown of what to expect in Medical school during the first four main years.
Years 1 and 2 – How long is Medical School in US?
The first two years of Medical school in the US are the Preclinical years.
This period is split between listening during lectures in the classrooms and doing practicals in the Laboratory.
During practicals, you would be dissecting humans to gain first-hand experience on how real bodies look like and function.
Students perform thorough memorization and are being intensively taught the basic Medical Sciences namely: Biochemistry, Microbiology, Anatomy, pathology, and pharmacology.
They will also learn the basics of interviewing a patient and conducting physical examinations.
The curriculum of Medical schools in the US varies depending on the specifics of the program.
Traditionally, students take all four or five courses in the various disciplines all at once and extended over a long period.
Some schools focus on a particular topic for about three to six weeks before moving to another.
Checking for compatibility of the curriculum of the medical school with your reading and learning skills is a step you should consider before choosing any medical school in the US to apply to.
The first two years of Medical school in US are to help students get used to the new pace of medical school, learning more about medicine, creating study groups, and making quality friends.
The second year of Medical School in the US usually wends up with students sitting for the USMLE (the United States Medical Licensing Examination) step one.
This is one of the three parts of USMLE which students must take to show the students’ ability in the scientific fields and clinical practices of Medicine.
Year 3- How long is Medical School in the United States
The third year in Medical schools in US is the year students go on clinical rotations also known as clerkship. This is the year when medicine starts to get a little bit more fun 🙂.
As opposed to the preclinical years when most of the day time was spent working in the lab or taking lectures in classes, most clinical periods are spent in hospitals and affiliated clinics.
During these rotations, students are being exposed to the art of offering patient care and a variety of specialties to a larger patient population.
In many medical schools in the US, there is a solid set of standard rotations required of every medical student. The following are some of the core rotations:
This specialty of medicine is also known as general medicine. Medial students are being trained in the area that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of internal diseases usually in a clinical/hospital setting.
Gynecology and obstetrics
This is a specialty in medicine that deals with delivering health care to women. Clinical students get exposed to the practice of carrying out diagnosis and treatment of illnesses affecting the female reproductive system, postpartum care, managing pregnancies, and delivery of infants.
This specialty devotes to providing intensive health care to people of all classes and ages (Men, women, and children) in the clinical setting.
Pediatrics deals with offering compressive clinical health care and treatment of diseases affecting children, infants, and teenagers.
Neurology deals with the treatment of diseases affecting the brain and spinal cord. Clinical students undergoing clinical rotations in neurology would be properly groomed in the art of offering health care to patients suffering from illnesses affecting their nervous system.
This is a specialty that deals with the management, diagnosis, and treatment of patients suffering from mental disorders.
This happens to be the most technical and tasking specialty in Medicine. It involves applying surgical techniques in an operating room to manage or treat a variety of medical conditions affecting any part of the body.
Clinical students undergoing clerkship in surgery are being taught how to cut, suture, physically change a person’s organs and tissues, and offering post-operative care to hospitalized patients.
Radiology- How long is medical school in US
Radiology deals with the use of medical imaging to diagnose and treat diseases.
Some unique experiences and opportunities might accompany the clinical rotation depending on the medical school location of the clinic.
If located in an urban city, students might get a rotation in trauma or emergency medicine.
Clinical rotations are a good time for students to develop interests and skills that would help them choose which specialty their would like to pursue in the residency program.
During the third year of Medical school in the US, students prepare for the USMLE (step 2) exam which usually takes place at the end of the third year or within the first few weeks of the fourth year.
This tests students on their knowledge of clinical science principles, interpersonal and communication skills, General and Internal Medicine, and conduction of physical examinations.
The USMLE step 2 test is split Into two:
- Step 2 CS (Clinic Science)
- Step 2 CK (Clinical Knowledge)
Year 4 – How long is Medical School in US
This is the final year in Medical School in the US. It is also the year during which residency matching occurs.
Clinical rotations continue this year. It is a norm for students to pursue electives that suit their career interests and strengthen their applications into residency programs.
Performance in various rotations is being evaluated and scrutinized for future recommendations into any specialty.
While continuing clinical rotations, Clinical students prepare for residency applications. Applications usually open on September 5 and the various applications begin submission from the 15th of September.
In-person interviews are done afterward and the programs release their ranking of desired applicants between October and February.
Computer Algorithm compares the sets of rankings and matches applicants to the most appropriate program. Students become aware of the residency match during the match day ceremony which usually occurs in March.
And that’s it; four years of your life dedicated to study in medical school!
What is the Medical School Pathway in the US?
Becoming a medical doctor is no small feat.
You’re going to be dealing with lives, right? So there are careful processes structured for you to pass through to become a qualified and expert health practitioner.
There are different pathways to follow. You could choose to become a specialist, engage in pharmaceutical research, partake in public health activities, or practice in the armed forces.
Whicher path your heart wants, you’d need to have an idea of the General medical school pathway in the United States.
Here’s an outline of everything you’d pass through:
- Medical school
- Board certification
After Medical School – Residency
This usually lasts for about three to six years. During this period, the newly minted doctors train to become specialized in a specified Medical field.
The residents sit for the final USMLE (Part 3) exam. It is mandatory to pass this examination to obtain a medical license to be recognized by a state medical board that will permit you to practice medicine without supervision.
Clinical medical knowledge is required to pass this examination and it is known to be the least difficult of all three steps. Thi test is usually sat for at the end of the first year or beginning of the second residency year.
Who is Better Suited For Medicine?
Having tendered the detailed truth on the issue “How long is Medical School in US”, it is also necessary to reshape your mindset for the battle ahead.
Only students who love to take a challenge and have a strong passion for medicine should apply to study Medicine in a Medical school in the US. This is due to the nearly impossible requirements and the length of study.
Also, note that the financial toll of four years and more is high especially if you study in a private school. If you have decided to take up the challenge of studying in a medical school in US, then you would get the best education possible.
The Various Degrees Awarded in Medicine
There are about four Medical degrees awarded to doctors on completion of their Medical School.
- MD (Doctor of Allopathic Medicine)
- D.O (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)
These two are the most controversial. A study has it that 20% of Medical schools in the US award the D.O medical degree.
Doctor of Medicine (MD)
This degree is the most recognized of all. It is seen as one of the topmost degrees that a medical student could ever achieve. This degree can be obtained while pursuing another graduate medical degree.
This helps to narrow the doctor’s field of specialization.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O)
A D.O focuses on the whole human body instead of just treating certain areas and diseases as in the MD. This degree helps the graduate to work in the following fields –
- Internal Medicine.
- Family Medicine.
Note that the choice of getting either an MD or DO is from the application process.
Other degrees obtainable in the Medical Schools in the US include:
Master’s degree in Medic Sciences
This degree enables the graduate to work in the field and focus more on health care research.
Master’s degree in Medical Informatics
For those with an interest in Medicine but wish to focus more on the information technology and business relating to health care.
Conclusion on How long is medical school in the USA
Studying Medicine and Surgery in the United States would be the best choice you’ve ever taken in your lifetime. Where else could you receive the best quality education?
Now with that knowledge of how many years medical school is in the US, you can now go ahead to make that decision of a lifetime!