Doctors are health professionals who identify health problems, provide proper treatments and prescribe medications for their patients. Doctors can choose to specialize in a particular area and practice medicine accordingly. For instance, they may work as Cardiologists, Anesthesiologists, Neurologists, Physicians or Surgeons etc. Specific duties depend on the specialization but typically doctors inquire about patients’ medical history before reaching a diagnosis or starting any treatments.

Should I Become a Doctor in Virginia?

Education Required Doctoral or professional degree
Major Requirement Doctor of Medicine (MD) or another related subject
License/Certification State issued license is mandatory
Experience/Training Residency (3-7 years)
Key Skills Compassion, Patience, Dexterity, Physical Stamina, Organizational Leadership, Problem-solving, Decision-making and Communication Skills etc.
Annual Mean Salary,VA,2019 $187,740 (Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric)
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 7% (Physicians and Surgeons)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2019)

Career Requirements

Doctors’ job entails making tough decisions all day everyday which is why this career demands excellent decision-making and critical thinking skills. In addition to that, doctors must have empathy and compassion towards their patients. They should be physically fit with a lot of stamina to work long hours.

Steps to Become a Doctor in Virginia

If you want to become a doctor then, here is a step by step guide to help you get started.

  1. Get Your Bachelor’s degree

  2. To begin your journey on the long road to becoming a doctor, you must complete a 4-year bachelor’s degree with a subject from biological sciences.
    Step-2: Clear the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
    To enter medical school, all graduates with a bachelor’s degree must pass the MCAT exam with a good score. This is a standardized test used by most medical schools to gauge the aptitude of prospective students.

  1. Graduate from Medical school

  2. You can enroll in Doctor of Medicine (MD) at a medical school in Virginia which may take 4-years to complete. The East Virginia Medical School offers a 4-year MD program. For admission or graduation details, you should visit the official website of your desired university.

  1. Complete Residency

  2. Graduates of an MD degree have to enroll in a residency program and work at a hospital to get experience in their area of interest. Residency may take anywhere between 3 to 7 years to complete.

  1. Get Licensure

  2. All doctors in the US are mandated to be licensed. The Virginia Medical Board issues license to doctors who fulfill the criteria given below. All interested candidates must,

  • Clear all parts of national examinations such as, USMLE, FLEX, NBME etc.
  • International Graduates must also acquire the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates Certification (ECFMG)
  • Complete residency program

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

Becoming a practicing doctor is a lengthy process and may take you 10-12 years (or more). To sum it up, you must complete;

  • A bachelor’s degree (4-years)
  • Doctor of Medicine or a relevant degree at a medical school (4-years)
  • Residency (3-7 years)
  • National medical exams i.e., USMLE, FLEX, NBME etc.
  • Licensure process in the state of Virginia

What Are the Requirements of Becoming a Doctor in Virginia?

To become a doctor in Virginia, all candidates must have:

  • Graduated from an accredited medical school
  • Completed at least 1 year of postgraduate training (candidates with a US degree) or at least 2 years of postgraduate training (candidates with a foreign degree)
  • Passed the relevant national exams NBME, USMLE, FLEX
  • Graduates with foreign degrees must also obtain the ECFMG certification
  • Completed residency
  • Obtained their license

How Much Can I Make as a Doctor in Virginia?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric employed in the state of Virginia earned an annual mean salary of $187,740 in 2019. Whereas, Alaska was named as the top paying state for this career with an annual mean salary of $258,550.