Medical school is a grueling experience. They are perhaps the most demanding o further education courses out there, taking from four to five years of pre-med preparation and four years of medical school itself. It can be an all-consuming experience to the point you forget that there’s a real world you’re about to step into. So, what should you expect when you make it out of med school?
There are a few options, but let’s start by looking at the step you’re most likely going to take next.
The next step
After taking the time to earn a medical degree, you’re most likely going to want a license to practice to go with that. To get that, you’re going to have to go through your internship, also known as a residency. The majority of residencies take place in a hospital, also including some experience in clinical work. This is where you apply your knowledge with a focus on the specialty you plan on taking later in your career. It’s also where you’re going to be put to the test in regard to treatment and management of patients, with the responsibility being fully yours. The length of residencies tends to vary, with pediatrics taking three years to complete, for instance, while surgical residences take five.
If you do well, you might choose to continue working where you did your residency or find another permanent position to fill. However, not all physician careers are limited to one position in one place. There are also opportunities to do some traveling and to try out different locations and different work environments. Those opportunities are mostly to be found in locum tenens staffing services. Many licensed professionals choose such routes because they allow a great independence and flexibility within how they do work. It can also be a valuable tool in learning adaptability that will serve you throughout your whole career.
There’s flexibility to be found all over in a physician’s career, however. After your residency, for instance, you can go on to take a fellowship. These are programs that offer training in particularly specialized fields like child psychiatry. But beyond further specializing your career to take on some of the more lucrative and challenging physician careers, you can work in an entirely different environment, too. There’s nothing to stop you benefiting from a career path change even after you’ve earned your medical degree.
For instance, many will choose to work in labs instead as a technician or within the structure of a pharmaceutical firm. Others will take the skills they learned as a doctor, such as creating medical devices, working with disability companies, or getting into occupational health.
If you’re still part-way through your journey of pre-med or medical school, then it’s good to know how long exactly you might be working to get the kind of qualifications and experience that let you fully pursue a career. But hopefully, the points above also show that your reward can be the kind of specialization and variety of career that many paths simply don’t offer. Stick with it and your efforts will bear particularly nice fruit.