The road to a successful medical career isn’t an easy or simple one. Unlike other fields, you can’t simply apply for jobs and begin your hard-earned career in medicine after graduation. Yes, it’s a very important milestone, but it’s just the beginning of your journey to becoming a physician. If you’re wondering what happens after medical school, here are the next steps to your career path.
What Happens After Medical School?
Pursue an Internship
You’ll need to successfully complete a supervised training to hone and prove your abilities before you can practice independently. Commonly done in accredited hospitals for at least a year, an internship enables you to experience different medical fields and all aspects of being a physician.
This step also helps graduates identify what field they want to specialize in.
Ace the USMLE Step 3
Generally taken at the end of your internship year, this final examination of the USMLE sequence is a prerequisite for licensing.
This step evaluates your understanding of clinical concepts and preparedness for unsupervised practice and effective patient care. It tackles health and diseases in relation to patient management. Through computer-based tests, it asses your ability to formulate a diagnosis based on the patient’s history, physical exams, and lab results.
Complete a Residency
Once you’ve successfully completed your internship and the USMLE Step 3 and have found your match, you can begin your residency. This usually spans three to seven years, depending on the program.
In your first year, you gain experience in different areas of medicine. In the succeeding years, you gradually learn to perform all of the responsibilities of your chosen specialty.
By the end of the residency, you should be able to:
- Practice without supervision.
- Lead your team in effective patient care.
- Know when to consult someone from another specialty.
- Consult with a more experienced colleague.
Take Specialty Training
Specialty training is a highly-focused program, by the end of which you’re able to work in a specialized area or a specific part of the health system.
The application and entry process involves an interview, evaluation of previous training, and assessment of relevant work experience. Thus, it’s very competitive. The duration of specialty training varies depending on your chosen specialization.
Acquire Extra Education
If you want to pursue additional training within a sub-specialty and practice in a niche medical field, taking on a fellowship is your next path. The additional years of training allow you to focus on an advanced specialty and gain work experience from veterans in your field.
On the other hand, if you want to become a general practitioner, you can pursue additional degrees like MBAs, MPHs, or PhDs.
Pass the Licensure Exam
After completing your residency or specialty training and before you can independently practice, you’ll have to pass a board exam. After passing — whether written, oral, or practical — you become certified and get licensed to independently practice your specialty.
Even after you’ve obtained your license, the learning never stops as new medical research, methods, and practices constantly arise. To stay current with what’s latest in the field and to advance your career, you’ll need to continue your education, get board recertification, and acquire special training on new diagnostic and treatment options.
Pursuing a medical career is a long-term commitment to learning and practice. It requires a lot of preparation, time, hard work, patience, and dedication. Understand that you’ll face challenges and make sacrifices, so you should be in it for the long haul — but when you’re passionate about it, it’s worth it.
If you need guidance with your clinical experience, medical education, or medical career, contact C.H.H.A today.Back to All Articles