How Long Does It Take to Complete a Medical Degree?

Medical DegreeIf earning and completing a medical degree has always been a life-long dream, it’s never too early to start preparing for this career. How long does it take and what is required to complete a medical degree? Learn all the important facts here.

What is a Medical Degree?

A medical degree is an academic degree a student can earn for fields in the healthcare or medical industry. There are various types of medical degrees, although the most common are M.D. (Doctor of Medicine), R.N.(Registered Nurse) and N.P. (Nurse Practitioner). All of these degrees take several years of college, clinical education and internships.

How to Become a Registered Nurse

As a rule, it generally takes at least two years to become a registered nurse. Factors that may affect the time are state requirements, the college the student chooses and the type of nursing the student chooses. Nursing programs may result in diplomas, certificates, associate degrees or bachelor degrees. While diploma programs may take only one to two years, bachelor degree programs generally take four years to complete. If they choose nursing specializations, it can take longer. The student typically takes an undergraduate program in nursing. The program includes medical courses and clinical education. Upon completion, the student must pass the NCLEX-RN to obtain licensure in that state.

How to Become a Nurse Practitioner

According to American Association of Nurse Practitioners, nurse practitioners are the most highly educated professionals in the nursing industry. They often need from six to eight years of education and training. To become a nurse practitioner, the individual must first complete a four-year degree program in nursing, although they’re not required to become RNs. After completing the nursing program, the student must complete a nurse practitioner program, which can take from two to four years. The reason it takes so long, is because a great deal of the nurse practitioner program is clinical education.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Doctor?

Becoming a doctor requires years of education and training. The path to becoming a doctor generally consists of four parts: undergraduate studies, medical school, residency and fellowships.

  • Undergraduate studies – After graduating high school, the aspiring doctor just complete a four-year undergraduate program. The student takes many science courses and must pass a Medical College Admission Test.
  • Medical School – Students usually spend four years in medical school, although some schools offer programs that combine medical school with the undergraduate program. In this case, the education can take six or seven years. The medical student spends the first two years completing coursework and lab classes, while the last two years are spent in supervised internships at clinics or hospitals.
  • Residency – The residency enables the doctor to gain experience working in hospitals or clinics and assisting in diagnosing and treating patients. Depending on the area of specialization, the residency can take from three to eight years, according to the American Medical Association. For instance, general surgery may require five years whereas family medical may only take three years.
  • Fellowship – Although not a requirement, many doctors choose to go to fellowships. Fellowships, which can take one to three years of training, are generally used if a doctor is working towards a specialized field.

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As you can see, it can take a long time to complete a medical degree; however, most feel that working in the medical industry provides rewarding and exciting work.