Iowa’s doctors play a very important role in keeping the residents of the state as healthy and active as possible. Their daily work involves treating patients, prescribing medicines and tests, conducting surgeries, providing advice on preventive health care, etc.
In 2019, there were nearly 1,600 Family Medicine Physicians working in The Hawkeye State (as per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). If you want to become one of them, then read this piece to understand what you have to do to get there.

Should I Become a Doctor

Education Required Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) or Doctor of Medicine (MD)
Major Requirement Medicine
License/Certification Required
Experience/Training Required
Key Skills Active Listening, Oral and Written Comprehension, Critical Thinking, Communication, Creative Thinking, Problem Sensitivity and Counseling
Annual Mean Salary – US (2020) $218,850 (Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric)
Annual Mean Salary – Iowa (2020) $246,660 (Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric)
Job Outlook – Iowa (2018-2028) 6% (Physicians, All Other)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and O*Net Online

Career Requirements

To become a licensed Iowa doctor, you need to complete your Bachelor’s studies and then go to medical school. At the latter, you will study for either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. After this, you will have to join a residency program at a reputed health facility within the state. Good communication and critical thinking skills are also a must for aspiring medical practitioners.

Steps to Become a Doctor in Iowa

Follow the process described in this section to become a doctor in Iowa.

  1. Attain an Undergraduate Degree

  2. You will start off by getting a Bachelor’s degree. While there is no compulsion to choose a particular major, you are advised to take at least some courses in science subjects like biology, chemistry and physics, etc. A pre-medical track is also available at many schools.

  1. Clear the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  2. Following the completion of your Bachelor’s, it is time to take the MCAT. The higher you score on this exam, the better your chances will be of securing admission to medical school

  1. Enter Medical School
  2. In medical school, you will spend 4 years studying for either an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) degree.

  1. Complete a Residency
  2. After graduation from medical school, you must join an Iowa hospital residency program (subject to the grant of a Resident Licensure from the Iowa Board of Medicine). This is a period of paid on-the-job training. In this phase, you will treat patients under the supervision of a licensed doctor and choose your specialty. The time taken to complete a residency is normally between 3 to 7 years.

  1. Get Your Permanent Licensure
  2. After you are done with the residency, you can apply for your Permanent Licensure from the Iowa Board of Medicine. For eligibility, you have to qualify one of the following national examinations.

  • USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Examination)
  • NBME (National Board of Medical Examiners)
  • FLEX (Federation Licensing Examination)
  • NBOME (National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners)
  • COMLEX (Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination)
  • LMCC (Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada)

How Long Does It Take to Become a Doctor in Iowa?

To become a Doctor in Iowa, you will need 8 years of higher education (4 years of Bachelor’s studies and 4 years of medical school). This will be followed by a residency period of 3 to 7 years. So, it will take you roughly 11 to 15 years to become a licensed doctor in The Hawkeye State.

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Doctor in Iowa?

Following are the requirements for becoming a Doctor in Iowa.

  • Earn an undergraduate degree.
  • Get a medical degree such as an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine).
  • Complete residency at a reputed Iowa health facility.
  • Get your practicing license from the Iowa Board of Medicine.


How Much Can I Make as a Doctor in Iowa?

The records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that Iowa’s Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric drew an annual mean wage of $246,660 in 2020.

Career Outlook of Doctors in Iowa

As per O*Net Online, “Physicians, All Other,” in Iowa will experience a 6% increase in employment opportunities between 2018 and 2028.