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Training to Become a Medical Doctor

Medical doctors usually begin their education by completing 4 years of college and receiving a bachelor's degree (baccalaureate) at an accredited college or university. They then attend 4 or more years of medical school. During medical school, students take classes in the cause, treatment, and prevention of diseases. Medical students learn how to assess a patient for a disease, plan and implement treatment, and evaluate the outcome of their intervention. After completing medical school, students earn the degree of medical doctor (MD) or doctor of osteopathy (DO).

Most medical doctors then complete at least 3 years of a specialty training program (residency), which allows them to gain further experience in a specialty area under the supervision of doctors already experienced in that specialty. Following their residency, medical doctors may begin their own medical practice or continue their training in a subspecialty.

All medical doctors must have a current license to practice medicine. Most states require doctors to do continuing medical education (CME) in order to renew their medical licenses.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Last RevisedAugust 17, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 17, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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