The education of a physician
in the United States is lengthy and involves undergraduate education, medical
school, and residency (graduate medical education or postdoctoral training).
Undergraduate Education (4 years): at a college or a university to earn a BS or
BA degree, usually with a strong emphasis on basic sciences, such as biology,
biochemistry, biomedical, and physics (some student may enter medical school
with other areas of emphasis and graduate degrees)
Education (4 year): At one of the US medical schools accredited by the Liaison
Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association
(AOA). After finishing medical school, students will earn the degree of Doctor
of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). They must complete
additional training before practicing on their own as a physician.
Residency Training (3-7 years): Newly MDs or DOs graduates (resident physician)
enter 3 - 7 years of postdoctoral training under the supervision of senior
physician educators (attending physician). The length of residency training
varies depending on the chose specialties. For examples, family medicine, and
internal medicine, pediatrics requires 3 year of training. General surgery,
radiology, and orthopedics requires 5 years. Neurosurgery requires 6-7 years.
Fellowship Training (1-4 years): Additional training in a subspecialty after
residency training in particular fields. For examples, there are 9 fellowships
after internal medicine residency such as cardiology, gastroenterology,
general, it takes 11-15 years to become a full physician in the US.
B. Board Specialty Certified: Almost all
physicians chose to become board certified, which is different from licensing.
This is an optional and voluntary process (although required by most insurance
companies). Certification ensures that the doctor has been tested to assess his
or her knowledge, skills, and experience in a specialty and is deemed to
qualified to provide quality care in that specialty. There are two levels of
certification. Doctors can be certified in 36 general medical specialties
(residency) with additional 88 subspecialties (fellowships). Most certification
must be renewed after 6 to 10 years, depending on the specialty.
Physician Licensing in the US:
undergraduate, medical school, and graduate medical education, a physician
still must obtain a from a state or jurisdiction of the United States in which
they are planning to practice. They apply for the permanent license after
completing a series of exams and completing a minimum number of years of
graduate medical education.
physician must pass USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 2 CS, and Step 3 in order to
apply for a permanent physician license. For Vietnamese Medical Graduate, they must be
certified by ECFMG (pass USMLE Step 1, 2 CK and CS) and pass Step 3 in order to
apply for a license.
- The American Medical Association
- The United States Medical Licensing Exams