Obtaining a medical degree is a demanding process, but few professions in the world can provide the respect, stability, security, and personal satisfaction as that of the medical doctor. Medical degrees are awarded only to those who have demonstrated the highest marks of excellence in their scholastic endeavors.
Earning medical degrees presents unique opportunities to provide vital services to the public. Doctors work to diagnose and treat disease. They provide urgent care and support to patients to maintain a high quality of life. Formerly, most doctors were considered “general practitioners” or “family doctors”. The same doctor treated broken bones, managed diabetes, and delivered babies. In today’s age of specialization, doctors can concentrate on developing their area of expertise and work within that field of medicine. The number of doctors practicing general medicine continues to decrease yearly. In some rural areas, the family doctor seems to be making a comeback, as often there is only one doctor serving a large demographic region.
To receive medical degrees, students must first complete four years of undergraduate work with an emphasis in science and pre-medical coursework. Considering two years for a master’s degree, an additional two years to earn a doctorate degree and completion of internships and residency programs, the entire course of study may easily take from nine to twelve years, or even longer for some specializations. However, as anyone with a medical degree can attest to, being a doctor requires a commitment to lifelong learning. All doctors must participate in on-going professional development.
Even though earning a medical degree is a grueling process, the list of qualified applicants for admission into these programs continues to grow steadily. While many students dream of becoming physicians, admission into a medical degree program is extremely competitive and qualifications are stringent. Applicants should possess a stellar academic history, impeccable references, and perform well in both oral and written interviews.
The demand for more physicians seems to be leading to an increase in the number of schools with medical degree programs. In a recent report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 129 medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME), the LCME national accrediting body for M.D. medical education programs. Every state in the country, the territories of the United States and Washington, D.C. require that physicians be licensed. Physicians are among the highest paid professionals working in the United States. Salary will vary depending upon the specialty field of medicine practiced, but range from approximately $185,000 to $339,000 annually. Those who practice in the field of specialized surgery and anesthesiology typically report the highest earnings. Many physicians have reported working long, irregular hours.