Pathways Into Medicine in the United States of America (USA)

Getting into medicine is one of the top career goals for many students. However, many do not know which premed pathway to choose from. The following article will detail the multiple career Pathways to Medicine in the US.

Step 1: Premed undergraduate program

If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a doctor, the first step is to start enter into an undergraduate program that is related to the field. There are many aspects to choosing the right undergraduate degree, including what you’ll study, who you want to study under, and what kind of activities you’d like to pursue. Medical schools usually require students to complete a minimum of 4 undergraduate years before applying to med school in the United States.

Step 2: Post bachelors or masters program (Optional)

Although Post bachelors or special master’s degree programs are optional for aspiring medical students they can help increase the chances of students getting into medical school. Furthermore unexpected majors can make a significant difference with admissions committees. They may also offer recommendation letters that can make the student’s application stand out. A number of universities offer special master’s degree programs for medical students.

Step 2: Take the mcat

As you begin your application process, one of the most important steps is taking the MCAT. Although it may seem like a long, grueling test, the MCAT demonstrates how well you learn and retain medical knowledge. It measures your ability to do well on difficult standardized tests, which are essential in all levels of medical school.

A good study plan should address all parts of the exam, including practice exams and practice questions. Reviewing these topics and materials can help you improve your score.

If you missed the MCAT on your first attempt, it’s not a problem to take it again later. The MCAT is administered several times a year, from late January to early September, and various test sites are available across the United States, Canada, and around the world. A typical MCAT application takes about a year and a half, and it’s best to have your score by February 2021 if you are aiming for admission to medical school in that year.

Step 4: Medical school

The next part of the process is to complete medical school. This will typically last for four years and at the end students will achieve a M.D or a D.O degree.

Click here to read our 7 step guide on how to get into medical school.

Step 5: Take a residency

After graduating from medical school and obtaining a medicine degree, you’ll then complete an internship or residency at a medical facility.

Residency programs are competitive and require extensive research and preparation. The process of selecting a residency may be overwhelming, but the AMA can help ease the process. Using their residency match benchmarks, the AMA can provide helpful tips on interviewing, program research, and residency application. It is a great resource for those preparing to take their first steps as a physician. You can also learn from real life stories of matched applicants to gain an understanding of the process.

Medical residencies generally last a total of three to seven years, depending on the specialty. While in residency, you’ll be able to gain valuable experience in the field you chose, and you will be able to show future employers that you have the skills required for the medical profession.

During your residency you will also take the final portion of the USMLE or COMLEX-USA exam. If you pass either exam, you’ll be eligible to take your general medical license.


When it comes to choosing a career in medicine, there are many options available to students in the US. Each pathway has its own benefits and limitations, so it is important for students to carefully consider their options before making a decision. Ultimately, if you want to study medicine the best pathway for you will depend on your specific strengths and interests.

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