A physician has to have a wide area of knowledge and expertise as well as a need for patients to trust the medical education and ability. A step in achieving these needs is the type of medical education required in the United States.
Most medical schools are four year institutions that require three years of college or a full four year bachelor’s degree for admission. There are usually several times as many prospective students as there are available places for them. This allows medical schools to set stringent requirements for admission.
Often, a good performance in undergraduate studies and in special premedical courses is expected in addition to a good score on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), application essays, good letters of recommendation – especially from the college’s premedical advisory committee and one or more faculty members from the premedical area. Many prospective students also offer some community service experience and special achievements in other areas. Many of the applying students are expected to have their degree in biology or in a related field.
Medical schools usually require two years of classroom and laboratory classes in the core subjects, including the expected subjects in medical education: anatomy, physiology, microbiology and the like. The next step is usually a standardized medical examination. The last two years of training is usually taken in a teaching hospital. Before becoming a doctor, a graduate has to complete an internship and two more standardized tests.
Once a physician completes his or her medical education, there may be specialized training if the chosen field requires it; cardiology, pediatrics, and oncology are a few such specialties. The education necessary for the practice of specialized medicine is called a “fellowship” and the participants are “fellows.”
The education of a practicing doctor is never complete. Ongoing training and education is necessary to keep up with changes. This is usually in the form of subscriptions to journals, attendance at conventions and participation in classroom and online education.