Usually, if you want to get a job, you must be a bachelor’s graduate, an undergraduate degree that takes around four years.
On the other hand, if you want to become a medical practitioner, you usually need a bachelor’s degree and a primary degree requiring at least six years of education.
It may take longer, but the rewards are more than worth it. In fact, if you look up the highest-paying white-collar jobs, you’ll see that most of them are medical jobs.
However, although there are dozens of higher medical degrees to choose from, choosing a primary degree to obtain is perhaps the most crucial part of your career, as it lays the foundation for your skills and knowledge.
There are generally four types of medical degrees you can study:
1. Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a degree that paves the way for students who wish to become physicians, surgeons, nurses, dentists, and more. It’s also the most common degree among medical students, as most medical practitioners in the US are MDs.
Students must first get a bachelor’s degree in a science major such as chemistry or biology, which usually takes four years. You’ll then have to pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) before you can enter your favorite medical school.
The MCAT is a test with a fixed $315 fee. Either way, once in the MD program, you’ll undergo clinical training and, sometimes, internships for four years, for a total of eight years.
Once you become a doctor of medicine, your responsibilities include treating and preventing diseases with the help of medication, surgeries, and therapy.
Depending on the field of expertise, a Doctor of Medicine can earn up to $200,000 a year.
2. Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
A Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) are similar, especially with the responsibilities and privileges that come with these. With a DO degree, it’s possible to get the same jobs as you would with an MD degree.
The DO and MD degree programs also follow the same pattern—it takes eight years, requires an undergraduate degree in a science major, and requires you to pass the MCAT.
There are, however, specific differences between the two such as the career options they offer. Which you’d choose would, of course, depend on your career goals.
While an MD aims to learn about medicine and individual body systems, a DO will strive to become more knowledgeable about how a human body works as a whole. As such, you’ll find that MDs tend to focus more on the importance of medications to patients, while a DO will emphasize the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Although DO and MD are the two most common medical degrees, they’re not the only primary medical degree students can take.
3. Doctor of Podiatric Medicine
Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) is a degree that deals with the treatment and prevention of abnormal conditions of the lower limbs. A podiatrist is usually someone athletes consult when they suffer from injuries.
As usual, to become a podiatrist, you have to complete a bachelor’s degree, preferably in a science major, like the previous two medical degrees.
You’ll then have to complete a DPM degree program consisting of academic coursework on anatomy, neuroscience, immunology, and more. Aspiring podiatrists must also know how to use laboratory equipment such as 3D scanners, x-ray, and the likes.
At the end of the curriculum, you’ll have to undergo the Podiatric Medical and Surgical Residency (PMSR), which may last up to four years. After you become a certified podiatrist, you can get an annual salary of around $120,000.
4. Doctor of Dental Medicine
Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) is basically the degree a dentist needs to open a medical practice. Dentists are responsible for their patient’s oral health and deal with the necessary dental procedures such as the installation of implants, dentures, braces.
If you’re wondering what’s the difference between Doctor of Dental Surgery (DSD) and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), don’t get confused as they’re technically the same.
To obtain either one of these degrees, you need to be a 4-year bachelor’s graduate in a science major. Before you can enter a dental school, you must first pass the Dental Admission Test (DAT), which has a $460 fee.
You’ll then spend the first two years learning about dental sciences, while the next two will involve clinical training.
It may take a few more years to get a medical degree. If it’s your passion, and you think you can do it, then by all means.
However, as a medical practitioner, your actions will greatly affect your patient’s lives, so it’s your responsibility as a student to work as hard as you can, not only to get a high-salary job but also to place your patients in good hands.