The admission process is highly competitive in most medical schools. Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Undergraduate degree in a specific major is not required; however most schools prefer students who have graduated with a rigorous and competitive coursework. In addition to this, applicants must have completed courses in mathematics, chemistry, biology and physics. The admission committee will also take into consideration applicant's performance on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The final selection is made after applicants have been interviewed.
Overview of Programs
Pursuing a traditional medical degree (Doctor of Medicine) is just one of the options available to students enrolled in medical schools. Numerous other educational opportunities are available to students interested in medical education. Dual degree programs are also available through which students can combine their education in medicine with fields such as public health, medical research, biomedical engineering, business, law, or health informatics. Graduate programs are offered in related disciplines such as Toxicology, Stem Cell Biology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience. PhD programs are also available.
What You May Learn
Students will generally spend four years at a medical school; however the exact duration will depend upon the program in which they are enrolled. Students enrolled in online medical schools will have more flexibility in their program duration as they may complete the degree at their own pace. During the first half of their studies, they will take courses in anatomy, pharmacology, biochemistry, medical ethics, and psychology. The latter half of their education will be spent under the supervision of experienced medical professionals. They will gain experience in the diagnosis and treatment of various illnesses through clinical rotations in family practice, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery.
Financing your Education
As reported by the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2010, educational expenses caused 85 percent of private medical school graduates to be in debt. The figure was even higher for public medical school graduates as 88 percent of them were in debt. Although medical education is quite expensive, many medical schools offer scholarships and financial aid packages to eligible students.
Medical education programs are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). This body is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the accrediting authority for programs that lead to an M.D. degree. Medical schools are often approved by the state's medical board. So applicants should make an effort to ensure that the school to which they are applying has received recognition. Graduates of schools that are not recognized or approved by the medical board of the state can possibly face difficulty in obtaining licensure.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of physicians and surgeons is anticipated to increase by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020. Professionals employed in the medical field, for instance, as reported by O*NET OnLine, like family and general practitioners, earned a median annual wage of 172,020 in 2012.