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A degree in medicine, also known as an allopathic medicine degree, is a postgraduate degree conferred on those who complete the education and training necessary to become a doctor. In the past those wishing to pursue a degree in medicine would initially take a 4 year course in pre-med, but recently obtaining a bachelor's in a related field, such as biology, chemistry or engineering has become common place. Though any bachelor's degree along with a high Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) score can be used to obtain admission to medical school, pursuing a related major helps prepare students for the kind of work and knowledge necessary to be successful. Most schools require that students complete the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) prior to graduation. Those who successfully complete a medical degree program are given the title of M.D (Doctor of Medicine) and are qualified to become physicians.
Courses in medicine may include:
- Infectious Disease
Job growth in the medical field is expected to expand over the next decade due to various factors, such as an increasing trend toward obesity, an aging population and increased life expectancy. Demand for physicians in particular is expected grow faster than average. Those willing to work in lower income and rural areas will also have an easier time finding work. Physicians can choose to specialize in a particular field or practice general medicine.
Some specializations include:
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
Average salaries for physicians can range wildly based on location and specialization. Primary care physicians had a median annual salary of $186,000 per year; those practicing medical specialties had a median annual salary of $340,000 per year. Physicians with their own practice can earn significantly more than those who are salaried.
Those interested in a medical degree may also wish to consider a degree in osteopathic medicine.
For additional information about a career as a doctor, read our Definitive Guide to Becoming a Doctor on our blog here.