If you’re thinking about becoming a physician, you may ask, “Does a medical doctor need a master’s degree before going to medical school and completing a residency?” Medical doctors have one of the most important jobs in society, and because they need to have truly extensive knowledge and training before they’re trusted to provide care for patients, they have some of the most demanding educational requirements of any profession. Physicians don’t usually get master’s degrees, and there are no master’s degrees that lead to a medical degree. In some fields, a master’s degree is considered terminal and can prevent students from enrolling in a doctoral program, but because there is no master’s program for becoming a medical doctor, a master of science shouldn’t prevent you from going to medical school if you have a good transcript and meet all the other requirements.
Steps to Becoming a Medical Doctor
Medical school is extremely difficult, and anyone who isn’t cut out to be a physician will almost certainly decide to pursue a different course. Before enrolling in medical school, you must have a bachelor’s degree, and this degree can usually be in any subject but should include the basic sciences, such as biology, chemistry and physics. Medical school lasts four years and is different than other doctoral programs in that it isn’t totally research-based but includes a certain number of hours of clinical training. As with other doctoral programs, graduating from medical school makes you a doctor, and you can add the initials M.D. to your title. However, there are still several years of training left before you are allowed to practice medicine on your own.
After medical school, you must complete a residency under a senior doctor educator, and this period of training usually lasts another three to five years, depending on your specialization. For pediatricians, family physicians and doctors of general internal medicine, a residency typically lasts three years. Surgeons typically stay in a residency for five years, and specialists continue on to a fellowship after completing a residency. A fellowship lasts another two to three years and allows a physician to specialize in a certain area, such as gastroenterology or child psychiatry.
After graduating from medical school and completing a residency and an optional fellowship, physicians must become licensed by the state in which they want to practice. Becoming licensed involves taking several exams to test your knowledge and requires several years of postgraduate medical training. You may also want to obtain board certification in your specialty as most physicians choose to do. There are 36 specialties and 88 subfields in which you can become certified, and you must renew your certification every six to 10 years.
Medical Doctor Salary and Job Outlook
It’s well-known that doctors earn high incomes, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physicians and surgeons earned a median annual income of at least $207,117, with anesthesiologists making an incredible $431,997. The job outlook for medical doctors is also supposed to be quite good, with the rate of growth over the next 10 years projected to be 18 percent.
The road to becoming a doctor is extremely hard because these professionals are trusted with the most vulnerable people who require the utmost wisdom and professionalism. While a master’s degree won’t prevent you from enrolling in medical school, the answer to “Does a medical doctor need a master’s degree” is no.
Related Resource: What Medical Careers are Available with a Master’s Degree?