Medical school is a long and hard journey. However, the process is worth it when you visualize the rewards that come with being a practicing physician.
The medical school encompasses both classroom and clinical training which goes on for a couple of years depending on the part of the world you live in.
In this article, we will be answering the questions;
- How long is medical school? (How many years is medical school 5 different countries; United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Nigeria)
- How long does it take to become a doctor? And
- How old is too old for medical school?
So how long is medical school?
The answer is; It depends.
Medical students are subjected to the same training to become board-certified by whatever licensing body in their country to become doctors.
But after medical school, doctors who would like to specialize in different fields in medicine or surgery undergo another separate training to become specialists (consultants).
This period of training to become specialists is called Residency, and how long it takes to complete your residency program depends on your area of specialization.
Some residency programs may take just 3 years to complete, while others like specialties in surgery may take as much as 5 years or more.
So medical school in this case comprises of;
- Pre-Med School: Pre-med school is the time when medical students are trained to acquire the basic knowledge required to enter medical school. Some of the pre-medical school majors they take include; Human Anatomy, Human Physiology, Medical Biochemistry, Biology, Genetics, or some other health-related courses. So if you are confused about how long is pre-med school, the answer is at least 3 to 4 years.
- Medical School Proper: Medical school proper comprises both classroom tutorials and clinical rotations. From this time medical students make their first appearance in clinics where they are trained to acquire skills on the basics of medical clerkship by consultants. After passing through medical school proper, medical students can now be officially called doctors.
- Residency: This is the training required for doctors to become specialists in any of the various specialties in medicine.
- Fellowship: Fellowship is a 2 to 3-year program that doctors undertake after residency to fully get their license of practice either in private or government facilities without the need for supervision under a superior.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Doctor?
One can be called a doctor only when you must have completed your Pre-med school and Medical School training.
It takes a different number of years in different parts of the world.
How Many Years is Medical School In US?
In the United States, medical school aspirants are required to must have completed a 4-year undergraduate program (for a Bachelor’s degree) in a major course that is medical and health-related.
This 4 year period is called the pre-medical school.
After Pre-med school, aspirants will have to overcome the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT®); a test that is 7 hours 30 minutes long, and requires a minimum of 200 to 300 hours of studying.
Once you have conquered the MCAT, you will now be given admission into Medical School, which comprises 2 years of preclinical work and 2 years clinical period.
During the 2 years preclinical period, you also take the United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE ®) Step 1.
After the USMLE Step 1 exam, you can now enter the 2 years clinical period in medical school.
Within this time, students shadow physicians in hospitals where they work with clients (patients) under the supervision of the most senior doctor in the unit (a consultant).
At the end of your 3rd year in medical school, you are required to choose what type of doctor you would like to become.
This is because you will take elective courses in the specialty you choose at the end of your final year in medical school before you write the final professional exam in medical school. This is the USMLE Step 2 exam.
After you must have passed the USMLE Step 2 exam, you can be called a doctor and you may further enroll in the residency program of your choice for specialization.
So in summary, medical school in the United States takes a minimum of 4 years to complete. This is if you eliminate the premed school period.
How Long Is Medical School in the UK?
Medical school in the United Kingdom takes a minimum of 5 years to complete.
Entrance into medical school in UK could be as an undergraduate student or a graduate. Either way, you still spend a minimum of 5 years to become a doctor.
The medical school requirements vary for different medical schools in the U.K. Different medical schools create their own admission criteria for accepting students into their program.
But in general, aspirants need a combination of their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs), AS levels, and A levels.
It is not uncommon for medical schools in the UK to accept students who have very good grades in the core science subjects including Mathematics and Biology.
And of course, an entrance exam which is peculiar to the particular medical school you would like to enter.
As a graduate, you must have obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in a health-related course and apply for graduate entry.
The 5 year period of medical school in UK covers the your preclinical and clinical years of medical school. And after successful completion, you qualify with a Bachelor of Medicine Degree (MB), or Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS).
This is after you must have passed the licensing exam for doctors in the United Kingdom.
After medical school in the UK, medical graduates undergo a 2-year foundational training, after which they choose their area of specialty which could either be General Practice (GP) that takes a minimum of 3 years, or other specialties that take a minimum of 7 years.
How Many Years Is Medical School In Canada?
There are 17 medical schools in Canada. Most of the medical schools will require that aspirants are residents of the same province to be able to attend.
It takes a minimum of 4 years to complete medical school in Canada.
But just like medical school in the USA, you must first complete a 4-year undergraduate program in a medical-related course to earn a bachelor’s degree to be eligible to apply.
Also, to gain admission into a medical school in Canada, a lot of colleges will require that you sit for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).
Also, it is good to note that only one-fourth of applicants gain admission into medical schools in Canada. So getting a high CGPA in your undergraduate school could be a plus.
The first two years of medical school in Canada are the preclinical period spent mainly in classrooms and laboratories acquiring basic medical skills that will be helpful to you in the clinic.
The last two years of medical school in Canada are spent in the clinic where medical students work with patients under the supervision of a senior doctor.
After medical school in Canada, you are required to pass the Licensing exam to prove your proficiency as a Physician. This is the Medical Council Of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE).
After passing this exam, you are qualified to be called a doctor, and you will be given your license while you proceed with your residency training and specialization program.
How Many Years Is Medical School In Australia?
It takes four (4) years to become a Doctor of Medicine in Australia.
Gaining admission into the medical school is via 2 major pathways; one is either straight from high school or the other as a Bachelor’s degree holder.
The option of entering medical school in Australia straight from high school is very competitive and is mainly for exceptional students who were able to achieve up to a band 4 in mathematics (or advanced equivalent), and an ATAR of 99.95 in the Higher School Certificate or its equivalent.
And the second option is to complete a Bachelor’s degree either in Arts, Commerce, Science, Pharmacy, or any other medical-related courses.
To get admission into the Australian medical school, you will need to sit for the Graduate Australian Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT).
After your admission into medical school, you undergo a 4-year medical school program to finally become a doctor. After this comes the 1-year internship program, and of course the residency programs for specialization.
How Many Years Is Medical School In Nigeria?
Medical school in Nigeria takes a minimum of 6 years to complete.
Route of admission can either be direct from secondary school after you must have gotten the minimum requirements and cut off point in the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) or the National Examination Council (NECO), and the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exams (UTME).
Or you could be admitted as a Bachelor’s degree holder in any of the medical-related courses in Nigeria.
Or through Direct Entry from another medical-related course.
In making your choice on the medical school to attend in Nigeria, it is imperative that you look at the factors used in ranking the best medical universities in Nigeria because all medical schools and colleges of medicine are not made equal.
In some other medical schools in Nigeria, it could also take as much as 8 years to complete your MBBS program.
There are various career pathways one can follow after medical education in Nigeria. One of them is the residency program where you undergo specialist training under the West African College of Physicians.
This training lasts for a variable number of years depending on your area of specialization.
How Old Is Too Old For Medical School?
Some people often ask; Is 28 too old for medical school?
This is one question with a retrospective answer.
There have been a good number of persons who enter medical school at a very late age in life (30 plus years) and they still do very well in medical school and cope with the stress and all.
But the best time to actually enter medical school is as early as possible so that you can be able to finish on time and have enough time to practice and reap the fruit of your hard work.
Summary: How Many Years Of Study To Become A Doctor?
How much time it takes to become a doctor depends on your country, your ability to pass medical school exams, Political and economic factors like wars, worker’s strikes, and a lot of others.
The table below is a summary of the question for which this post was written;
How Long Is Medical School In U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia, and Nigeria?
(From High School)
|HOW LONG IS PRE-MED SCHOOL? (Bachelor’s Degree)||MEDICAL SCHOOL HOW MANY YEARS?|
|United States||No||4 Years(Mandatory)||4 Years|
|United Kingdom||Yes||4 Years (Not Mandatory)||5 Years|
|Australia||Yes||4 Years||5 Years|
|Canada||No||4 Years(Mandatory)||4 Years|
|Nigeria||Yes||4 Years(Not Mandatory)||6 Years|
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