If you are interested in a lucrative, high-paying, and secure career, becoming a physician is a fantastic option. As if helping others and potentially even saving lives were not enough, Canadian physicians earn $339,000 each year on average. Becoming a doctor in Canada is a lengthy process that takes place in four major steps, and the information below will help you understand how it works from start to finish.
Obtain Your University Degree
First things first, before you can even go to medical school in Canada, you will first need to obtain a degree from an accredited university. This must be a bachelor’s degree, at the very least, and most medical schools will prefer that your degree have a basis in science. Though BS degrees are not always necessary, they benefit you by providing you with a basic understanding of concepts like biology and chemistry, making medical theories easier to understand. All medical schools will have a list of prerequisite courses, most of which are in science, so be sure that you take these during your time at university.
Go to Medical School
There are 17 medical schools in Canada from which to choose, but most will require that you are a resident of the same province in order to attend. It is a good idea to contact the school of your choice to obtain its specific requirements for admission, as well. Many medical schools across the country will require you to sit for and pass the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), so this is an important step. It is easier than ever to apply for medical schools in Canada thanks to standardized online application systems.
Keep in mind that only a quarter of the students who apply to Canadian medical schools are accepted, so having outstanding credentials and a high university GPA will work in your favor. Medical school lasts four years; the first two take place in more of a classroom and lab environment, and the last two incorporate clinicals, where you work with patients under the supervision of a licensed physician.
Take and Pass Your Licensing Exam
After you complete your training in a four-year medical school, you must pass a licensing examination to prove your knowledge and competency before you can work as a physician in Canada. This exam, known as the MCCEE, or Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination, is by and large the most difficult exam most students will ever take. It is best to begin preparing and studying early, and for the best possible retention, utilize several study methods. Group study, quiet reading, note-taking, flash cards, and online question banks can provide you with a well-rounded study experience.
Complete Your Residency
Finally, once you have passed the MCCEE examination and become a licensed physician, Canada law requires you to complete a residency program before you can work independently. The goal is to allow newly-licensed doctors to learn from more experienced professionals in a sort of mentoring system and to allow them to adapt to their new career choices. For family doctors, the residency lasts two years, but for specialists, residencies can last as long as six years. Beyond that, you could even choose a subspecialty with another two or three years’ residency.
It takes at least 10 years of education and residency to become a doctor in Canada, and in that time, you will take one of the most difficult examinations in the world – the MCCEE. With enough dedication and persistence, and with the drive to help others for a lifetime, you could be one of Canada’s next favorite physicians.