What medical students must know about becoming certified

Sep 6, 2018 by

In medicine, certification is a process that licensed doctors can go through in order to specialize and develop. Certification is obviously very important: without it, anybody could set up as a specialized physician and start offering highly specific medical services! As a result, there’s a lot of education and training involved before certification can go ahead. From studying medicine at college to completing ongoing training, there are lots of steps to take before you can become fully certified. This article will explore just some of the basics that you’ll have to go through.

Licensure: the first step

Despite certification’s obvious importance, it’s not actually essential to receive it. However, before a physician can even consider getting certified, they need to get licensed – and every state in the US has a rule stipulating that doctors must be licensed in order to practice. The first step towards licensure is to complete training at medical school. There are lots of medical schools in the US, and for all of them you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as math, physical or biology in order to gain access.

At medical school, you’ll essentially sit another degree – this time specifically in medicine. You should expect to complete a lot of lab work at medical school, as well as some more lecture-based learning. The final step before qualifying is to complete a residency program, which usually takes several years and gives the candidate a chance to carry out junior functions (such as delivering basic patient examinations) in a hospital or other clinical environment. Once the residency is over, you’ll be able to become licensed.

Becoming certified

Training is not a static process, however, and certification is the next stage for many doctors. Once you’re licensed, you can apply for certified status from an institution such as the American Board of Medical Specialties and add to it over the course of your career. Often, undergoing this kind of continuing medical education – or CME – will require the completion of an exam. Once completed, it can open up a world of possible outcomes, including promotion. For those who want to work in a certain specialist medical field, meanwhile, certification is often the only way to open the door.

Family medicine CME is just one variety, and others include cardiovascular disease CME and psychiatry CME – so there’ll usually be an option no matter what part of the field you’re in. Many modern CME tools now allow you to revise from your smartphone or tablet computer, so this part of the certification process can be completed around your other priorities.

While certification may not be a prerequisite for a career as a physician, it’s definitely an ideal way to boost your career. Not only does it mark you out as over and above the standard licensed practitioner level, but it also helps you to create a more rewarding career by enabling specialization. And with modern certification programs able to be completed on the go, you can become certified in an efficient and streamlined way.

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