Medical doctors usually begin their education by completing 4 years of college and getting a bachelor's degree. They then attend 4 or more years of medical school. During medical school, students take classes in the cause, treatment, and prevention of diseases. They learn how to assess a patient for a disease, plan and provide treatment, and evaluate the outcome of the treatment plan. After they finish medical school, students earn the degree of medical doctor (MD) or osteopathic doctor (DO).
Most medical doctors then complete at least 3 years of a specialty training program. This is called a residency. It gives them more experience in a specialty area. They are supervised by doctors already experienced in that specialty. After their residency, doctors may begin their own medical practice. Some continue their training in a subspecialty.
All doctors must have a current license to practice medicine. Most states require doctors to do continuing medical education (CME) in order to renew their medical licenses.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Donations to UW Health are managed by the University of Wisconsin Foundation, a publicly supported charitable organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.