Do you secretly wish to become a doctor too, like many of your mates? But at the same time, are you yet to figure out how to become a doctor in India? Or have you already begun your preparations? Whichever it is, this post welcomes you to take a ride across. See you on the other side!
This curated guide will take you through the many depths that you would definitely need to know about before you start warming yourself up for your next fight towards becoming a doctor.
“Life is short and the craft so long to learn“Hippocrates
Newly bred doctors still swear by the Hippocratic Oath!
First off, the pre-nominal letters (that which comes before your name) of “Dr” can be achieved after MBBS, BDS (Dentistry), BAMS (Ayurveda), BHMS (Homoeopathy), BSMS (Siddha), and BUMS (Unani), besides a PhD that you may want to pursue after a Master’s degree in literally any field of study. However, this post deals with the field of medicine only.
Ready to dig in?
How to Become a Doctor in India: First 5 Essential Steps to Becoming a Doctor
Ask yourself a question – do you really love Biology? Marks in examinations are one aspect but do you really love studying about how different organs work and understanding the functions of cells and tissues? Do you think Biology is super interesting?
Find out whether you really have what it takes – find out objectively and scientifically. Have a look through this. Take help of expert counselors. Do you really have the aptitudes, skills, interests, and personality traits suitable for a career in Medicine? Career assessment tests are important and effective. You may give it a try.
Take Science and Mathematics courses in School – in the middle (class 6-8) and high school (9-12). If you are in India, then in upper primary (class 6-8) and secondary (class 9-10). Don’t like Mathematics or Physics? Not fond of Chemistry? Well, that’s trouble! In school, you must do well in all. These are basics for a future career in medicine. Just Biology simply won’t do. At this early nascent stage, you may like professional help to figure out more.
Choose Science Stream Subjects in Class 11-12 accordingly –of course, this doesn’t need a mention. Just an important input: You will have to keep Physics, Chemistry and Biology in Class 11-12. These are must-haves! Additional subjects must be chosen wisely to minimize the load. For example, secondary language subjects are optional in some schools, so you can skip such subjects. How about a fun study guide for your boards?
Appear for the relevant entrance test after Class 12th boards – If you want to get into a reputed medical institute, it is necessary to appear for and crack NEET! National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) is the only national level entrance exam for MBBS, BDS and alternative medicine (AYUSH) graduate-level courses.
The admission to MBBS courses in AFMC (Pune), AIIMS (New Delhi), JIPMER (Pondicherry) and all other medical INIs (Institutes of National Importance) are also made through NEET with effect from academic year 2020.
Check this detailed post out to know what you need for NEET. Also, you may want to particularly understand all about the exam NEET. Apart from NEET, there are multiple other state-level examinations too.
How to Become a Doctor in India: Basic Study Pathway to Become an MBBS and Then a Super Specialist Doctor or Surgeon
- Steps A and B must be clear to you already.
- Now, the most popular alternative at Step C is to obtain an “MBBS” degree. The other options are BDS (Dentistry), BAMS (Ayurveda), BHMS (Homoeopathy), BSMS (Siddha), and BUMS (Unani). You can look for MCI (Medical Council of India) approved colleges & courses here. You can refer to:
- BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)
- BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine, & Surgery)
- BHMS (Bachelor of Homeopathic Medicine & Surgery)
- BSMS (Bachelor of Siddha Medicine & Surgery)
- BUMS (Bachelor of Unani Medicine & Surgery)
- You will definitely become a doctor after your 5 and 1/2year long graduation at Step C. Have no doubts about that! However, today the competition is so steep that getting yourself trained in some super-specialty is almost a necessity. The next steps are all about specializing in a particular area of your interest.
- Step D refers to post graduate medical education. The subjects at this level are called broad specialties. This can be done in 2 ways: A master’s degree or Diploma.
- PGmedical education in broad specialties is of 3 years duration in case of degree courses of MD (Medicine Doctor)/ MS (Master of Surgery) after MBBS (MD is for physicians and MS is for aspiring surgeons).
- It is of 2 years in the case of a Diploma course after MBBS.
- Check out this MCI page to know about the various Diploma options.
- However, you cannot opt for the next higher degree (DM/ MCh) if you doa Diploma after MBBS.
- Instead of MD/ MS (which you will pursue in government teaching hospitals), you may opt for “DNB” (Diplomate of National Board), which you will pursue in large private specialty hospitals.
- DNB and MD/MS are considered equivalent in terms of the academic worthiness of a candidate. However, you will find the majority going for government colleges instead of a private hospital.
- You may also do a double Master’s like a DNB after MD/MS, to specialize in a particular area. For example, you may do MD in Internal Medicine and then go for DNB in Cardiology. There may be multiple other combinations depending on the area you want to specialize in.
- Check all the available broad specialties (MD/MS) for PG medical education in India at this portal of the MCI.
- Step E is the one to become a “super-specialized” doctor or surgeon.
- DM and M Ch are degrees obtained after MD and MS respectively. DM is for doctors/ physicians and M Ch is for surgeons. The subjects at this level are called “super-specialties”. This Step is not possible if you have a Diploma after MBBS.
- However, one way to continue your education after Diploma can be if you do double postgraduation. Say suppose, you do a 2-year Diploma in Pediatrics and then a 3 year MD in Pediatrics followed by a higher degree of “DM” in Paediatric Cardiology. Now, this is only an example of a specific area of study. There can be many more combinations.
- If you have done DNB after MBBS, then your next option will be to complete super-specialty training through “FNB” (Fellow of National Board). FNB is considered equivalent to DM/M Ch.
- Remember that by the time you complete a DM / MCh / FNB, you will have at least 8 years of practice experience, first as a junior resident (3 years during MD/MS / DNB), then as a senior resident (3 years during DM/MCh/ FNB) and considering 1-year gaps between MBBS and MD/MS / DNB and then another 1-year gap between MD/MS and DM/MCh/FNB.
- Here you can check the DM/ M Ch super specialties.
How to Become a Doctor in India: 6 Study Pathways
Becoming a Doctor: Education Pathway 1
Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – MBBS
Becoming a Doctor: Education Pathway 2
Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – MBBS – MD/ MS / DNB
You can look for MD/MS broad specialties here.
Becoming a Doctor: Education Pathway 3
Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – MBBS – MD/ MS / DNB – DM / M Ch / FNB
You can look for MD/ MS, DM/ M Ch specialties here.
Becoming a Doctor: Education Pathway 4
Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – MBBS– Diploma
You can look for Diploma subjects here.
Becoming a Doctor: Education Pathway 5
Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – MBBS – Diploma then MD/ MS & higher
Becoming a Doctor: Education Pathway 6
Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – MBBS – MD/ DNB – PDCC (Post-Doctoral Certificate Course)
You can look for PDCC course subjects here.
Becoming Doctor in India after Studying in Other Countries
You will find numerous doctors practicing in India (the pay here is far more lucrative) after studying medicine abroad. There are 500 MCI approved international institutions& destinations, the list of which you can check here.
Some of the approved nations are China, USA, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Russian Federation, Poland, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, Nepal, Latvia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Georgia etc. There are multiple colleges in a single country totaling up to 500 colleges.
In any case, if you are desirous of joining an undergraduate medical course in any foreign medical institution, you will have to approach the Medical Council of India for issue an Eligibility Certificate for that purpose.
The form of application for issue of Eligibility Certificate may be obtained from the Council office and the application should be submitted with a demand draft for Rs.500/- in favor of Secretary, Medical Council of India, New Delhi. Copy of the application form is also available on the website. The number of medical aspirants going abroad, mainly to China, is constantly increasing because government medical seats in India are limited and private colleges are extremely costly. However, before going abroad you will mandatorily have to clear NEET to pursue foreign medical courses. This has been made compulsory from 2019.
Becoming a Doctor in India after studying abroad: FMGE Examination
After coming back to India as a foreign-trained medical graduate, you will have to clear the Medical Council of India (MCI) Exam which is also known as “Foreign Medical Graduates Examination (FMGE)”. FMGE is a licensure examination for those Indian students who have pursued MBBS from abroad.FMGE is conducted twice a year and you will require 50% to pass.
MCI or FMGE Examination is compulsory till now and is conducted by the National Board of Examination (NBE) in India.Foreign medical graduates are required to write the FMGE to become eligible to practice here.
The success rate of FMGE is extremely low and competition is very steep. Here we have mentioned some of the popular pathways to study as well as practice medicine in select countries. However, you can always come back to practice in India after being trained as a medic abroad but FMGE is a mandate before you start practicing here.
How to Become a Doctor: Studying in the US
- Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – Clear NEET Exam –MBBS in India – “USMLE”United States Medical Licensing Examination(specific to the US)
This pathway is for direct practice license in the US. Come back, clear FMGE and then practice in India.
- Class 10 with Science and Mathematics – Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry and Biology – Clear NEET Exam – MBBS in India –“MCAT” Medical College Admission Test– 4 year MD in US – USMLE
This pathway is to first study MBBS in India, then again study medicine in the US for 4 years and then get a practice license for US. Come back, clear FMGE and then practice in India.
- For non-medical graduates from India,
Bachelor degree (duration is not a factor) – Clear NEET Exam – MCAT with special permission – MD from US / Canada – USMLE – Practice
Bachelor degree can be in any discipline, as long as you have Chemistry & Biology as compulsory subjects at the graduation level.
This pathway is to first finish graduation in India, study medicine in the US for 4 years and then get a practice license for US. Come back, clear FMGE and then practice in India.
How to Become a Doctor: Studying in UK, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
You can first clear NEET here, get your Eligibility Certificate from MCI to study at the graduation level in these countries. However, if you plan to study MBBS and MD/MS here in India, then you can follow below suggestions.
MRCP (Member of The Royal College of Physicians) / MRCS (Member of The Royal College of Surgeons)/ FRCS (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) or an equivalent specialty certification is mandatory to practice as a doctor or surgeon and take full GMC (General Medical Council) registration in the UK, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
- It is mandatory to complete your MD/ MS in India in order before appearing for these exams.
- You can appear for these exams in India too. You will find several practicing physicians and surgeons with these certifications practicing in India.
- Additionally, there are some other specific royal colleges for different specialties for example, in Emergency Medicine or Psychiatry, conducting certification exams in India,& other locations around the world.
- If you wish so, you may take membership exams for such specialty-specific institutions too
- for example, FRCEM (Fellow)/ MRCEM (Member) of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine or
- MRPsych (Member of Royal College of Psychiatrists) etc.
How to Become a Doctor in India: Memberships of Various National & International Societies
You are also advised to obtain memberships (life/short term) ofvarious national &international associations/ societiesin your career. These will depend on your specialty
- For example for “Oncology” there is the Indian Society of Oncology or the American Society for Therapeutic Oncology (ASTRO) or European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO) and many more;
- Similarly for “Emergency & Critical Care”, there is the American Heart Association or The Resuscitation Council (UK) etc.
- For ophthalmology you have, the International Society of Ocular Trauma, the Global Eye Genetics Consortium or the All India Ophthalmological Society and so on.
Earnings Overview: Salary of Doctor in India
Read this section carefully to figure out what the salary of doctor in India can be like. What can you expect after becoming a doctor?
At this point, however, you must remember that different medical specialties will remunerate differently,for example, the pay of a Cardiovascular Surgeon, a Neuro-oncologist and a Psychiatrist will be different. Here, however, a general pattern is depicted.
- After your MBBS, you may expect about Rs 50,000 – Rs 90,000 a month or more, mostly in government hospitals.
- After your post graduate medical education, you may expect about Rs. 1,00,000- Rs 1,30,000 a month to begin with,at a Government hospital.
- At a private hospital, you may get about Rs. 1,50,000- Rs.2,00,000 or even more a month depending upon your qualifications & experience or additional certifications if any.
- As a Consultant Surgeon (with MS or higher degrees), you may earn more depending upon the number of surgeries you do in a month.
- In most cases, it takes at least 10 years to complete a DM / MCh.
So, with about 2-5 years post qualification experience (after DM/MCh), you will be making about Rs. 2,00,000 – Rs 3,00,000 or more per month.
- With about 6-12 years post qualification experience (after DM/MCh), you will be making about Rs. 3,00,000 – Rs 5,00,000 or more per month.
- Senior Specialist Consultants and Surgeons with about 15-20+ years post qualification experience (after DM/MCh), you will be making about Rs. 2, 50, 000 – Rs 12, 00, 000 or more per month. For example, Prof. Dr.S Natarajan (renowned eye surgeon) is one of the highest-paid doctors in the country. According to India Times, his earnings in 2006 were around Rs 45 lakhs per month.
Hurrah! Finally, you’ve reached this other side. After all of that mind-bender, you must be full with facts now. If you’ve been endlessly looking for extensive knowledge about how to become a doctor in India, we’ve served you quite a bit, isn’t it?
Now, to put all of those nagging doubts at the back of your mind to rest, why not gift yourself some help from expert professionals who can help you choose the best version of your future self? You can poke us anytime to clarify other queries that you may have about how to become a doctor or how much becoming a doctor will cost you or similar inquiries that you may wish to make. Call us to gear up now!
If you wish to go for a detailed career counseling regimen, here are our services for you:
Other Resources That You’ll Love to Read
- An Ultimate Guide on NEET & the Pathway to Crack it
- All about MBBS in India: The #1 Expert’s Guide (+ Insights into the New CBME Curricula)
- Study MBBS Abroad: Your #1 How-To Guide For Germany, UK, Other European Nations
- Study MBBS Abroad: Your #1 How-To Guide for USA & Canada
With a Master’s in Biophysics-Biostatistics, Sreenanda acquired professional experience in computational proteomics of human molecules. She is currently working with the Research and Data Team at iDreamCareer.