Becoming a doctor is a dream for many people. It is very fulfilling because you get to help people overcome their diseases. It is very lucrative as medical treatments are expensive and medical expertise is valuable. It is also very stable because there will always be a need for doctors no matter where in the world you may be. In fact, becoming a doctor is one of the more surefire ways of migrating elsewhere as many countries actively seek doctors from other countries due to high demand.
Whatever your reasons may be for wanting to be a doctor, it is very understandable. Pursuing medicine is a great idea especially if you’re from countries like India where the population is well over one billion and there is a lack of good doctors. While becoming a doctor does take a few long years of arduous work, the benefits you get in the end are well worth the wait.
So, if you’re a student in India figuring out how to become a doctor, please continue reading!
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Steps to Become a Doctor in India
1. Take Your Senior Secondary Exam
In India, the first step to be a doctor is to take a senior secondary exam. They enroll in four to five classes that are comprised of the local language or English, and a so-called “core stream” of subjects. This stream can be related to commerce (e.g., accountancy, economics, business studies) arts and humanities (e.g., history, political science, psychology), or science (e.g., chemistry, computer science, mathematics).
If you’d like to become a doctor, it’s important to choose the science stream and the following courses: biology, chemistry, and physics. All of India’s medical school entrance exams require you to have a good grasp of these subjects, so it’s important to start preparing for these as early as secondary school. This increases your chances of scoring high on the test and getting into your preferred medical school.
2. Take the Pre-Medical Entrance Exam
Now that you’ve gotten your qualifications, it’s time to take your pre-medical entrance exam for the MBSS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery).
The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is a government-run, national entrance exam that handles all incoming university students wishing to pursue medicine (MBSS), dentistry (BDS), or traditional healthcare (AYUSH). It is very well-established around the country, and many medical schools accept NEET results for their admission requirements.
Some medical schools like JIPMER and AIIMS, however, would prefer you to take their own entrance exams. So, before applying for any entrance exam, make sure to read up on your chosen school’s admission requirements in case they would like you to take their own entrance exam too.
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3. Finish Your Undergraduate Degree
MBSS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) is the foundation degree for all medical students in India. It is an essential step for you to be a doctor in the country. It typically lasts for five to six years and consists of various subjects like Anatomy, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pathology, Microbiology, and other courses that are needed to become a competent doctor.
Try your best to excel in your subjects as an undergraduate. This is only the first of several degrees you will need to take!
4. Complete Your Internship
As part of their graduation requirements, medical students in India will need to complete a one-year internship. Here, they will be working under the watchful eyes of senior doctors and apply their learning from their classrooms to a working environment. Some universities have their own hospitals the students will be working in, while others may have public and private hospitals they are partnered with.
Internships are designed to be very diverse. This time around is usually when medical students figure out what the next step in their journey is—that is, what they will be specializing in (if they wish to do so). They will experience a little bit of everything and deal with and treat patients with all sorts of diseases. They will also get the chance to work in various areas of the hospital—the emergency room, delivery room, ICU, etc. So, if you’re confused about where to go next, we suggest taking things slow, trying things here and there, and weighing all your options.
5. Register with the National Medical Commission
Once you’ve completed your internship and graduated with your MBSS degree, you are now a doctor. Before you can start practicing, however, the next step for you to be a recognized doctor in India is to submit your registration to the Indian Medical Registry of the National Medical Commission (NMC). The NMC is a statutory body that regulates medical practices, gives accreditation to medical schools, and grants medical qualifications and registrations to doctors all over India.
Start by downloading the application form here. You will be asked for your personal information, educational documents, two recent colored photographs, and proof of payment of the registration fee. Compile all of them according to the instructions and submit them to the local Medical Council in your area.
Your registration certificate will be mailed to you or can be accessed online once it is available.
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6. Pursue a Specialty
Specialization is when a doctor receives further training in certain areas of the body. Compared to general practitioners, specialty doctors are more well-equipped to treat more delicate and complex diseases of the body. They also offer many more treatments that are more in-depth and complex. Having a specialty is a good way of developing your career as a doctor.
There are many fields of medicine you can specialize in. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the most common types of specializations are family medicine, anesthesiology, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology, though they also have a full list of specialties you can look through if you’re not interested in any of those. Look through and read up on all the specialties to figure out what to go for before making your next move.
Specialization begins by taking a postgraduate entrance exam. This time, it is the NEET-PG (Postgraduate) you are looking for. Much like your time as an undergraduate, you will need to pass this exam to qualify for a master’s degree in your specialization at your medical school of choice.
This time, however, you will only have three years of the degree to complete, and you will have a choice between being a physician or being a surgeon. If you choose to be a physician, you’ll be graduating as an MD (Doctor of Medicine). If you opt for the surgeon route, you’ll be graduating with an MS (Master of Surgery).
6. Pursue a Super Specialty
If you’d like to take things even further and be at the top of your chosen field, pursuing a super specialty degree is the way to go.
There are two recognized super specialty medical degrees in India: Doctorate of Medicine (DM) or Magister Chirurgiae (MCh). These are the highest qualifications a specialty physician or surgeon can have in India. Super-specialty doctors have the most in-depth knowledge and perform the most advanced medical procedures in their specialties—as such, they get hired by the most high-technology hospitals in the country and earn a lot more too.
These doctorate degrees last three years and can be done after qualifying through NEET SS (Super Specialty).
We hope that this article on Steps to Become a Doctor in India was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students to know more!