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Oklahoma State University

The Road to Becoming a Physician

While your journey to becoming a physician will be as unique as you are, there are some tips and resources to help you navigate the path to medical school.

There are three steps everyone needs in order to eventually become a doctor:

  1. Earn an undergraduate degree: Earn your bachelor's degree at an accredited university, which typically takes four years.
  2. Attend medical school: Attend medical school for another four years.
  3. Complete residency: After graduating from medical school, you are a physician. The next step in your training is to complete a residency program for a specific specialty of your choice, such as pediatrics or orthopedic surgery. The residency program you choose can range from three to five years depending on the specialty.

Start Preparing Now

  • Build a solid foundation in science by taking advantage of classes offered at your high school.
  • Shadow a local physician to learn more about the profession.
  • Obtain clinical experience, like volunteering at a local hospital or completing a training program such as Certified Nurse Assistant or Emergency Medical Technician.
  • Visit the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa.

Going to College and Choosing a Major

  • There is no one best major. Pre-medical students can choose to major in any subject.
  • No matter which major you choose, you must take the prerequisite courses required for medical school, including English, biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and physics. 
  • Typically, you should apply to medical school the summer after your junior year of college. At this time you will also take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which is similar to taking the ACT. You should plan to devote three to four months of study for the MCAT.
  • Consider a university with an Early Admission Program agreement with OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine.