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How Hard Is It to Become a Doctor?

Well the question is, how hard is it to become a doctor? In Canada? How many years does it take? What all does being a basic Physician entail? What are all the options for specialties? Do you have to do a specialty? How much net income and you expect? And anything else potentially useful I may have left out.

I’ll be off work due to illness and out of the gym as well for the next month or longer. So with that being said I have alot of time on my hands and im looking into potential careers. Have to do something productive right?

[quote]bradden wrote:
Well the question is, how hard is it to become a doctor? In Canada? How many years does it take? What all does being a basic Physician entail? What are all the options for specialties? Do you have to do a specialty? How much net income and you expect? And anything else potentially useful I may have left out.

I’ll be off work due to illness and out of the gym as well for the next month or longer. So with that being said I have alot of time on my hands and im looking into potential careers. Have to do something productive right?[/quote]

Well, in Canada it is extremely difficult. Not to say that it’s impossible, but the admission process is very competitive. To get into any med school in Canada, you’ll need a university average of low 90’s as a minimum, loads of volunteer experience, extra-ciriculars, and proven leadership ability. Some schools require writing the MCAT. The interviews have become pretty clever in that you cannot rehearse for them and give some sort of canned answer. For example, they don’t ask “why do you want to become a doctor?” anymore. They make you think on your feet, and they gauge how you act in difficult situations. A recent admission question for McMaster (the best med school in Canada, IMO) involved showing the candidates a picture of five different types of plants on a windowsill. The question was “which one of these plants is you? Give 5 reasons why”. It sounds absolutely retarded taken at face value, like some hokey “trust building” exercise at a corporate retreat, but they measure how clearly and logically you can answer.

Getting in is the hardest part. The actual cirriculum is challenging, but not insanely so.

Specializing is always an option. Canada is short of a good number of specialists, including endocrinology.

Starting salary for a GP is usually in the ballpark of 120k per year. They recently lifted the salary cap for GPs (in Ontario anyway) so theoretically the sky’s the limit. You see a lot of GPs doing botox, laser therapy, and basic derm treatments as a way to supplement their incomes. Specialists make in the low 300’s to start, but have a salary cap in place (last I checked, anyway).

Lots of Canadians who can’t get into a school at home do so in Australia, New Zealand, the Carribean, or Ireland. Advantage is that it’s much easier to gain admission as a foreign applicant…downside is that they charge you an insane amount of money for tuition.

Hope this helps.

[quote]PimpBot5000 wrote:

[quote]bradden wrote:
Well the question is, how hard is it to become a doctor? In Canada? How many years does it take? What all does being a basic Physician entail? What are all the options for specialties? Do you have to do a specialty? How much net income and you expect? And anything else potentially useful I may have left out.

I’ll be off work due to illness and out of the gym as well for the next month or longer. So with that being said I have alot of time on my hands and im looking into potential careers. Have to do something productive right?[/quote]

Well, in Canada it is extremely difficult. Not to say that it’s impossible, but the admission process is very competitive. To get into any med school in Canada, you’ll need a university average of low 90’s as a minimum, loads of volunteer experience, extra-ciriculars, and proven leadership ability. Some schools require writing the MCAT. The interviews have become pretty clever in that you cannot rehearse for them and give some sort of canned answer. For example, they don’t ask “why do you want to become a doctor?” anymore. They make you think on your feet, and they gauge how you act in difficult situations. A recent admission question for McMaster (the best med school in Canada, IMO) involved showing the candidates a picture of five different types of plants on a windowsill. The question was “which one of these plants is you? Give 5 reasons why”. It sounds absolutely retarded taken at face value, like some hokey “trust building” exercise at a corporate retreat, but they measure how clearly and logically you can answer.

Getting in is the hardest part. The actual cirriculum is challenging, but not insanely so.

Specializing is always an option. Canada is short of a good number of specialists, including endocrinology.

Starting salary for a GP is usually in the ballpark of 120k per year. They recently lifted the salary cap for GPs (in Ontario anyway) so theoretically the sky’s the limit. You see a lot of GPs doing botox, laser therapy, and basic derm treatments as a way to supplement their incomes. Specialists make in the low 300’s to start, but have a salary cap in place (last I checked, anyway).

Lots of Canadians who can’t get into a school at home do so in Australia, New Zealand, the Carribean, or Ireland. Advantage is that it’s much easier to gain admission as a foreign applicant…downside is that they charge you an insane amount of money for tuition.

Hope this helps.[/quote]

I agree with just about everything you’ve said, I’m doing my premed work now and looking to head into the field, in the U.S. though. Basically to be competitive for the schools here, you need 3.4 and above, and 3.4 gpa is considered low. For a DO school you’ll need 3.1 and up, along with good mcat scores for both DO and MD. And like pimpbot said, if you can’t get into any schools in country then the carrib is certainly a good idea which have lower standards for entry.

However if you actually put forth the effort in your undergrad then having the GPA shouldn’t be a problem. If you can’t pull A’s in the better part of your courses then pursue a different career. I’ve found the most people who don’t get in are those who dicked off their first 2 years in school, or decided they wanted to do it after they got crappy grades thinking they’d be done after 4yrs.

Alright, well thats some great info and advice, especially from Pimpbot. Just exploring career ideas while im down for the next while. Thanks guys.

It is pretty hard… Just to give you an idea I’m trying to maintain my GPA at least above 4 out of 4,3 to hopefully be accepted in med school somewhere in Quebec, it takes a little hard work but it’s definately doable!

Check this out for more info http://www.premed101.com/forums/

Hope it helps and good luck

If you are not 100% certain that you want to spend every minute of everyday dedicated to a pursuit of medicine, than becoming a doctor shouldn’t even be a thought in your mind.

Good point on going to another country to become a doctor. My friend is in Poland right now doing that.

It’s about 5.32 hards by my calculations.

Because of this, I’m likely going to abadnon my med school hopes and become a bioengineer instead.

^ Biomedical Engineering going to school for that in sept

It is hard, very hard. It will test you in many ways and it is going to suck balls for a long time. My wife is halfway done with med school now and she has had those times she hates it. She knows that she wants to be in medicine and holds on to those times when she actually gets to help people to get through it.

DO schools are still very difficult to get into and getting harder every year. Most schools are also quite expensive, especially the private ones.

Going in Canada would seem to be more difficult than in the states, but if you have had a lot of good life experience you might have a better chance than those right out of undergrad.

[quote]PimpBot5000 wrote:

[quote]bradden wrote:
Well the question is, how hard is it to become a doctor? In Canada? How many years does it take? What all does being a basic Physician entail? What are all the options for specialties? Do you have to do a specialty? How much net income and you expect? And anything else potentially useful I may have left out.

I’ll be off work due to illness and out of the gym as well for the next month or longer. So with that being said I have alot of time on my hands and im looking into potential careers. Have to do something productive right?[/quote]

Well, in Canada it is extremely difficult. Not to say that it’s impossible, but the admission process is very competitive. To get into any med school in Canada, you’ll need a university average of low 90’s as a minimum, loads of volunteer experience, extra-ciriculars, and proven leadership ability. Some schools require writing the MCAT. The interviews have become pretty clever in that you cannot rehearse for them and give some sort of canned answer. For example, they don’t ask “why do you want to become a doctor?” anymore. They make you think on your feet, and they gauge how you act in difficult situations. A recent admission question for McMaster (the best med school in Canada, IMO) involved showing the candidates a picture of five different types of plants on a windowsill. The question was “which one of these plants is you? Give 5 reasons why”. It sounds absolutely retarded taken at face value, like some hokey “trust building” exercise at a corporate retreat, but they measure how clearly and logically you can answer.

Getting in is the hardest part. The actual cirriculum is challenging, but not insanely so.

Specializing is always an option. Canada is short of a good number of specialists, including endocrinology.

Starting salary for a GP is usually in the ballpark of 120k per year. They recently lifted the salary cap for GPs (in Ontario anyway) so theoretically the sky’s the limit. You see a lot of GPs doing botox, laser therapy, and basic derm treatments as a way to supplement their incomes. Specialists make in the low 300’s to start, but have a salary cap in place (last I checked, anyway).

Lots of Canadians who can’t get into a school at home do so in Australia, New Zealand, the Carribean, or Ireland. Advantage is that it’s much easier to gain admission as a foreign applicant…downside is that they charge you an insane amount of money for tuition.

Hope this helps.[/quote]
I’m curious where this notion that Mac is the best med school in Canada comes from. I remember seeing a formal evaluation of med schools in Canada and Mac was 6th. I’ll see if I can find it again but McGill is #1, Queens is #2, and I think Waterloo might have been third then I can’t remember the others, but I’m still curious as to why so many people seem to think Mac is the med school mecca of Canada.

[quote]JLu wrote:
I’m curious where this notion that Mac is the best med school in Canada comes from. I remember seeing a formal evaluation of med schools in Canada and Mac was 6th. I’ll see if I can find it again but McGill is #1, Queens is #2, and I think Waterloo might have been third then I can’t remember the others, but I’m still curious as to why so many people seem to think Mac is the med school mecca of Canada.[/quote]

I know the Maclean’s rankings say otherwise, but Mac’s reputation is absolutely stellar among doctors, even those who didn’t graduate from there.

A few reasons I like it:

1.) Their 4 year undergraduate “Health Sciences” program is basically like a minature med school in itself. A good number of applicants to the medical program come from this. They produce many doctors with nearly double the education of other schools.

2.) Their admission process allows for “unconventional applicants”. We all know douchebags from grade school who had absolutely no business being a doctor (or any career involving empathy) who got 90’s in school, volunteered for the sake of padding their resume, were captains of the football team, etc. These types would be granted admission at many other schools. Mac’s admission process is the best in Canada. They seem to be able to select the best DOCTORS out of the 3200 (average) who apply.

3.) Students at Mac’s teaching hospital are actually treated like valued members of the team, rather than “gophers” (“go for this, go for that…”).

4.) Mac seems to be a lot more forward thinking than other med schools. Students are given a better grounding in nutrition and exercise than in other schools. It is rumoured that Mac will be the first “integrative medicine” school in Canada in the next ten years.

5.) Students aren’t evaluated in a typical “written exam out of 100” way. Most of the exams are practical and involve integration with other courses being taken at the same time. Cramming won’t get you a good grade, actual practical knowledge will.

Just my opinion. I used to do medical device sales in the GTA and have interacted with hundreds of doctors. I can say that I’ve met very, very few incompetent GPs who have graduated from Mac.

[quote]PimpBot5000 wrote:

[quote]JLu wrote:
I’m curious where this notion that Mac is the best med school in Canada comes from. I remember seeing a formal evaluation of med schools in Canada and Mac was 6th. I’ll see if I can find it again but McGill is #1, Queens is #2, and I think Waterloo might have been third then I can’t remember the others, but I’m still curious as to why so many people seem to think Mac is the med school mecca of Canada.[/quote]

I know the Maclean’s rankings say otherwise, but Mac’s reputation is absolutely stellar among doctors, even those who didn’t graduate from there.

A few reasons I like it:

1.) Their 4 year undergraduate “Health Sciences” program is basically like a minature med school in itself. A good number of applicants to the medical program come from this. They produce many doctors with nearly double the education of other schools.

2.) Their admission process allows for “unconventional applicants”. We all know douchebags from grade school who had absolutely no business being a doctor (or any career involving empathy) who got 90’s in school, volunteered for the sake of padding their resume, were captains of the football team, etc. These types would be granted admission at many other schools. Mac’s admission process is the best in Canada. They seem to be able to select the best DOCTORS out of the 3200 (average) who apply.

3.) Students at Mac’s teaching hospital are actually treated like valued members of the team, rather than “gophers” (“go for this, go for that…”).

4.) Mac seems to be a lot more forward thinking than other med schools. Students are given a better grounding in nutrition and exercise than in other schools. It is rumoured that Mac will be the first “integrative medicine” school in Canada in the next ten years.

5.) Students aren’t evaluated in a typical “written exam out of 100” way. Most of the exams are practical and involve integration with other courses being taken at the same time. Cramming won’t get you a good grade, actual practical knowledge will.

Just my opinion. I used to do medical device sales in the GTA and have interacted with hundreds of doctors. I can say that I’ve met very, very few incompetent GPs who have graduated from Mac. [/quote]

Ah ok cool. Those sound like perfectly legit reasons to me.

My roommate in University is now just about finished his internship for opthomology, and I became friends with a few of his classmates during that time.

From my perspective, what everyone else is saying has been fairly on the mark, particularly on how hard it is to get in. But I feel I need to emphasize that you have to REALLY WANT IT, and on top of that you have to have good mental endurance. Many people go into school thinking “I’m just taking general classes, but I might go into Medicine”. Almost every single one of those people will end up doing anything but Medicine.

If you don’t have the desire, you will not last past the second year, no matter how smart you are. My roommate had class/lab for an average of 8-9 hours a day, and would come home and study from about 6-11pm almost every single weekday. He would then spend another 6-8 hours a day studying on weekends. When exams started getting close, he would be studying from about 630am to about midnight, stopping to grab a 5 minute snack two or three times. Most days there would be four or five of his classmates calling to compare thoughts on questions or an upcoming quiz.

Related to this, you also need to be active in selecting friends you can trust from your class, as many people in med school are hypercompetive, and are not above withholding information and sometimes purposely giving the wrong answer so they place ahead of you.

He may not have been a typical case, as he was consistently in the top 3 of his class every year, but it didn’t seem like the his friends studied much less.

Interestingly enough, he also completed his law degree as a backup in case he didnt get into Med School. He said it was a cakewalk in comparison to Med.

What made you want to study proctology?