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Medical Education: Medical Schools, Medical University Degree and Medical Colleges

Completing training and educational programs at an accredited medical school opens up several opportunities in the study and teaching of medicine and related disciplines. Medical schools can offer medical degree programs including Master's Degrees, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and other educational programs for students interested in becoming a practicing physician, conducting medical research, teaching , or pursuing a career in healthcare administration. Medical degree programs are designed with a highly-structured curriculum that requires completion of a pre-medical program at an accredited college or university.

Medical School Degree Programs - What to Expect

Most medical school students enter formal training at a medical university or college after completing a medical degree at the bachelors level. Medical school training programs often include a lab instruction element and hands-on training in the fields of physics, biochemistry, human biology and chemistry. After completing the necessary courses, students and graduates may choose to take a state or national licensing examination to earn credentials in their field. Medical schools equip students with practical skills and knowledge in fields such as:

  • Critical care

  • Cell biology

  • Internal medicine

  • Nutrition

  • Pediatrics

  • Radiology

  • Genetics

  • Anesthesiology

Combined degree programs are also available at several medical colleges and universities across the country, allowing students to complete primary, secondary and tertiary curriculum for a more robust degree and specialization upon graduation.

Medical Education Career Options

Medical schools allow students to pursue a variety of disciplines and careers in the fast-growing field of healthcare and medicine. Popular specializations with a medical education include:

  • Family physicians and general practitioners

  • Accident and emergency professionals

  • Allergy specialist

  • Audiological medicine

  • Cardiology

  • Clinical genetics

  • Clinical pharmacology

  • Dermatology

  • Endocrinology and diabetes specialists

  • Gastroenterology

  • Genito-urinary medicine

  • Geriatric care

  • Medical oncology

  • Neurology

  • Neurophysiology

  • Nuclear medicine

Other specializations include occupational health, pediatric cardiology, palliative medicine and respiratory medicine.

Medical Degree and Medical University Program Requirements

Preparing for medical school can take several years, but the effort and hard work can lead to a very rewarding career. During the first year of (pre-med) college, students are advised to meet with a pre-health advisor and enroll in premedical coursework and electives that will help support other medical education course program in future semesters. Students can also take part in paid opportunities or volunteer programs gain work experience in the field.

The second year of medical college is also focused on completing premedical coursework and receiving directors' evaluations. Students can meet with pre-health advisors to confirm their status, make sure their medical education is on track, and take part in summer health careers programs or volunteer internships over the summer.

The third year of college typically involves applying to medical school. Students will need to prepare and register for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and make sure they have successfully completed basic courses such as biology, physics, English and chemistry. Including extra-curricular activities and volunteer projects is also a part of the application process.

After taking the MCAT in the spring semester of the third year, students can apply for various medical school programs depending on the specialization they wish to focus on. They can continue to pursue internships and volunteer programs to build their resume and work experience. Attending summer school during the third year is recommended, and may be necessary if all course requirements are not fulfilled on time.

The final year of college enables students to prepare for medical school enrollment and submit the necessary application and financial aid forms. At this level, some students will be able to take first-semester elective science credits and other coursework. Some students can enter medical school during the summer after the fourth year of the pre-med program, or wait until the fall to enter into their desired program.

Some medical schools and medical university programs will make exceptions for students that may speed up the admissions process. However, most medical schools have the same general set of courses and examination requirements as part of their admissions process. Physician shadowing, independent research and volunteer services are optional, but highly recommended throughout the medical school student's educational career.

Earning Potential and Employment after Medical College

Attending a medical university or completing a medical college program opens up several attractive career paths and job opportunities in the medical field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care industry provided 14 million jobs in 2007 and 7 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are related to the health care field. Hospitals, outpatient care centers, ambulatory health care services, dentist offices and nursing facilities are always looking for talented and experienced physicians and medical practitioners, and the future of the industry looks promising.

Physician salaries and compensation varies significantly depending on years of experience, location of the healthcare facility and overall productivity and performance. StudentDoc.com reports that the average salary range expectation for students in the post-residency classification was $120,001 - $150,000 per year, but this range varies significantly for general healthcare practitioners, nurses and physicians' aides. Graduates of medical school programs may pursue careers practicing medicine, or choose a career in the healthcare industry as an administrator or research specialist. Career options include:

  • Clinical research assistants or coordinators
  • Healthcare administration
  • Medical billing or collection
  • Nurse practitioners or physician assistants
  • Healthcare program coordinator


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