It’s never too late to start a career in general practice medicine. Even if you’re in your mid-20’s, you can still undergo the process to become a full-fledged doctor. Though it may take some time (seven to 14 years tops!), you can still make it as a medical practitioner if you’re willing to put in the work.
One thing’s for sure, there is a great demand for general practitioners and primary care physicians across the United States. Many medical students take up more specialized areas, which explains why there are only 12,000 primary care physicians currently in practice today.
Although a career in general practice medicine is not as lucrative as other areas like critical care and cardiology, it’s still a worthwhile profession to pursue. Indeed, the medical system is currently desperate for flexible general practitioners to serve rural communities. You will be doing a great service to families in your community.
So, if you want to help families and make a name for yourself in the field of general practice, follow this guide.
Start with an undergrad degree in the sciences
As a prerequisite to medical school, a bachelor’s degree related to health is the first step towards a career in general practice medicine. The work of a doctor, after all, has to involve a great deal of understanding advanced principles in biology and physiology.
Having such a wealth of background knowledge can make life at medical school easier for you. It’s fine if you have chosen a different field like social science or engineering, just as long as you take up science and health-related electives.
Prepare for the MCAT
The United States healthcare system wants only the most talented as doctors. One way to guarantee the quality of entrants to the medical labor force is through standardized college admission testing. For this particular reason, the Medical College Admission Test was established as a means to filter out only the most dedicated and passionate students for medical school.
The test can be taken up to three times a years and covers a wide range of health-related areas. Considering the technical dimensions of the MCAT, preparation is crucial. If you’re planning to enter medical school, give yourself ample time to review and familiarize yourself with the test itself.
You may want to undergo a MCAT test prep service that’s available online. Enrolling in one gives you an idea of the topics and test questions included in the test, as well as simulation exercises and strategies that are essential to your success.
Once you get into medical school, it’s only a matter of working extra hard to earn credit. Unlike earning a Bachelor’s degree, getting a diploma in general practice medicine involves even greater challenges since you also need residency training of up to seven years.
That being said, if you’ve made it this far, the difficulty isn’t going to get worse. You just need to build on the skills that you developed and the facts you learned to pass the MCAT in the first place.
Get a medical license
After medical school, you will need to undergo a licensure exam so you will be able to practice as a professional in general medicine. Take time to prepare and get as much information as you can about your state’s licensure mechanics. Make sure you take advantage of the resources your program has to help you prepare.