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Home » How to Become a Doctor in India – A Comprehensive Guide to Success

How to Become a Doctor in India – A Comprehensive Guide to Success

how to become a doctor in india

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? Wondering about the path to becoming a doctor in India and abroad? Concerned about the required training and career prospects? 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! But before everything we would like to tell you that…

Do you know?

A study in the Indian Journal of Public Health, published in September 2017, revealed that to attain a reasonable doctor-to-population ratio of 1:1,000 by 2030, India would require an additional 2.07 million doctors.

Becoming a doctor is an esteemed and highly sought-after career worldwide, including in India. It is not only financially lucrative but also considered noble due to the profound impact doctors have on society. While the MBBS degree is the common path in India, being a medical practitioner entails much more than completing this program.

In India, both government and private institutions offer MBBS courses, with a total of slightly over 107,000 seats available. However, the NEET UG test, taken by approximately 2 million students, results in a pass rate of only around 5%, making it one of the most challenging exams to successfully navigate. But don’t worry! We’re here to help you…

This blog will guide you on every crucial aspect like “how to become a doctor in India after 12th”; “how many years to become a doctor in India”, “What top courses available for becoming a doctor”, “how much does it cost to become a doctor in India”, “What is the Admission procedure for becoming a doctor”! Hang on, that’s not all we are going to cover in this blog, we will also be providing you the list of top colleges and job opportunities along with how much salary you can expect after being a doctor!

So, without further ado, let’s get started…

Who is a doctor?

In India, a doctor is an individual who has completed a recognized medical education program and is licensed to practice medicine. The most common path to becoming a doctor in India is by earning an MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) degree from a recognized medical college or university. This typically involves a five-and-a-half-year undergraduate program, followed by a one-year internship.

After completing their education and internship, individuals must register with the Medical Council of India (MCI) or the respective state medical council to obtain a license to practice medicine legally. Doctors in India can specialize in various medical fields through postgraduate programs like MD (Doctor of Medicine) or MS (Master of Surgery).

Doctors play a crucial role in the Indian healthcare system, diagnosing and treating illnesses, performing surgeries, and providing medical advice to patients, contributing significantly to the overall well-being of the population.

How to become a doctor in India after 12th?

In this section, we will be providing you the major steps on how to become a doctor in India. So, we request you to carefully evaluate each step.

Step A: Choose the Right Stream in Class 11-12

  • In Class 11 and 12, opt for the Science stream with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology as mandatory subjects.
  • Consider skipping optional subjects like secondary languages to minimize your academic load.

To understand how to choose the right stream. Read: Which Stream is Best after 10th?

Step B: Appear for NEET

  • To gain admission to reputed medical institutes in India, including AFMC, AIIMS, JIPMER, and others, you must appear for and successfully crack the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET).
  • NEET is the national-level entrance exam for MBBS, BDS, and AYUSH graduate-level courses.

Note that the above 2 Steps are the essential eligibility requirements for becoming a doctor in India.

Step C: Pursue Your Undergraduate Degree

  • You will pursue a 5-and-1/2-year-long undergraduate degree. Some of the top courses you may consider for becoming a doctor are MBBS, BDS, BAMS, BHMS, BSMS, or BUMS.
  • All of these programs are recognized by the Medical Council of India (MCI), ensuring that you will become a licensed doctor upon completion.

Step D: Postgraduate Medical Education

  • After your undergraduate degree, you have the option to specialize in a particular area of interest.
  • You can pursue a Master’s degree (MD/MS) or a Diploma, with MD being for physicians and MS for aspiring surgeons. MD/MS programs usually take 3 years.
  • Alternatively, you can opt for a 2-year Diploma course after MBBS.
  • You may also consider Diplomate of National Board (DNB), which is equivalent to MD/MS, in large private specialty hospitals.
  • Some candidates choose to do double postgraduation, such as MD followed by DNB, to further specialize.

Step E: Super-Specialization

  • For those aspiring to become super-specialized doctors or surgeons, you can pursue DM (for physicians) or M Ch (for surgeons).
  • These super-specialties require completion of MD/MS beforehand.
  • If you have done DNB after MBBS, you can achieve super-specialization through “Fellow of National Board” (FNB), which is equivalent to DM/M Ch.
  • Keep in mind that super-specialization requires several years of practice experience, including junior and senior residencies.

By following these steps, you can embark on a fulfilling journey to become a doctor in India, contributing to the healthcare sector with expertise and dedication.

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Still wondering how many years it takes to become a doctor in India. Here you go…

In India, it typically takes a minimum of 5 and a half years to become a doctor after completing the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) course after 12th. This includes the 4 and a half years of MBBS education and an additional 1-year compulsory rotatory internship. If one wishes to pursue postgraduate studies, such as MD or MS, it adds another 3 years. Further specialization, through DM/MCh or other certificate courses, can extend the timeline. Therefore, becoming a doctor in India can take 8 and a half years or more, depending on your chosen path of specialization.

Essential career pathways to become a doctor in India

Even though, we have covered everything for you on how to become a doctor in India. Still, here’s a table presenting the essential career pathways you need to consider for becoming a doctor in India:

Education PathwayStepsDurationSpecialization Options
Pathway 1Class 10 with Science and Mathematics → Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology → MBBSApproximately 5.5 yearsN/A
Pathway 2Class 10 with Science and Mathematics → Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology → MBBS → MD/ MS / DNBMinimum 8.5 yearsMD (Medicine Doctor) / MS (Master of Surgery) / DNB (Diplomate of National Board)
Pathway 3Class 10 with Science and Mathematics → Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology → MBBS → MD/ MS / DNB → DM / M Ch / FNBMinimum 10.5 yearsDM (Doctor of Medicine) / M Ch (Master of Chirurgiae) / FNB (Fellow of National Board)
Pathway 4Class 10 with Science and Mathematics → Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology → MBBS → DiplomaApproximately 6.5 yearsN/A
Pathway 5Class 10 with Science and Mathematics → Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology → MBBS → Diploma → MD/ MS & higherMinimum 9.5 yearsMD (Medicine Doctor) / MS (Master of Surgery)
Pathway 6Class 10 with Science and Mathematics → Class 11-12 with Physics, Chemistry, and Biology → MBBS → MD/ DNB → PDCC (Post-Doctoral Certificate Course)Approximately 9 yearsPDCC (Post-Doctoral Certificate Course)

These are the various pathways aspiring individuals can follow to pursue a career in medicine in India, each offering different durations and specialization opportunities.

Admission Procedure to Become a Doctor

Becoming a doctor in India involves a systematic admission process. Here are the steps broken down:

  1. Online Registration: Start by registering online on the official website with a valid email ID, phone number, and date of birth.
  2. Document Submission: Upload all the necessary documents required to complete the application form.
  3. Fee Payment: Pay the registration fees to confirm your application.
  4. Admit Card Download: Download the admit card a few days before the NEET exam from the official portal.
  5. NEET Examination: Appear for the NEET examination on the specified date mentioned in the admit card.
  6. Eligibility Criteria: Ensure you have a minimum of 50% aggregate marks in your 10+2 examination with Physics, Chemistry, Biology as a subject combination.
  7. Preparation: Start your NEET exam preparation well in advance, focusing on Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, which are the major sections of the NEET exam.
  8. Counseling Process: Based on your NEET scores, you will be shortlisted for the counseling process.
  9. College Allotment: Accept the college allotted to you based on your score and complete the admission process by paying the fees.

By following these steps, aspiring doctors can navigate the admission process for MBBS in India, setting themselves on the path to a rewarding medical career. If you need any guidance or assistance in admission procedure;  reach out to “Career Counselling in Indore” 

Top Colleges for having a doctor’s degree

India boasts a vast array of medical colleges, with a total of 2197 institutions. Among these, 628 are government-owned, while 1481 are privately run. Many of these medical colleges are affiliated with RGUHS in Bangalore and hold approvals from both UGC and MCI (Medical Council of India). These colleges offer a wide range of medical courses, including MBBS, BDS, MCh, and BAMS, providing aspiring medical professionals with diverse educational opportunities.

Some of the top colleges as per NIRF ranking 2023 are:

NameScoreNIRF 2023 Rank (Medical)
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi94.321
Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research; Chandigarh81.102
Christian Medical College; Vellore75.293
National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences; Bangalore72.464
Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research; Puducherry72.105
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham; Coimbatore70.846
Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences; Lucknow69.627
Banaras Hindu University; Varanasi68.758
Kasturba Medical College, Manipal66.199
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology; Thiruvananthapuram65.2410
Madras Medical College & Government General Hospital; Chennai64.4311
King George`s Medical University; Lucknow63.9312
All India Institute of Medical Sciences Jodhpur; Jodhpur62.4313
Vardhman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital; New Delhi61.7314
Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth; Pune61.3515
Siksha `O` Anusandhan; Bhubaneswar60.6616
All India Institute of Medical Sciences Bhubaneswar; Khordha60.6517
Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences; Chennai60.6118
St. John’s Medical College; Bengaluru60.4919
S.R.M. Institute of Science and Technology; Chennai60.4720

To know more about these colleges and top courses for becoming a doctor, refer to our Best Medical Colleges in India blog post!

Career opportunities & Salary

Read this section carefully to figure out what the salary of a 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.

In India, the field of medicine offers a plethora of job opportunities for aspiring doctors, with various specializations to choose from. Some prominent medical jobs include

“Plastic Surgery, Surgery; General Surgery; Pediatrics; Pathology; Emergency Medicine; Physiology; Gastroenterology; Hematology; Obstetrics and gynecology;  Urological Surgery, Cardiology, Radiology, Orthopedic surgery; Dermatology;  Ophthalmology, and more. Each specialization comes with its own set of challenges and rewards.”

Salary of a Doctor:

The salary of doctors in India is a subject of great variation, influenced by factors such as experience, specialization, and location.

  • On average, a newly graduated MBBS doctor can expect to earn around INR 5.04 lakh per annum.
  • With 4-5 years of experience, MBBS doctors typically earn between INR 4 lakh to 7.50 lakh per annum.
  • Doctors with higher degrees, such as MD or MS, can earn up to INR 10 lakh per annum after 5 to 7 years of experience.
  • The city of Bangalore is known for providing the highest salaries to doctors in India. Doctors in Mumbai can earn between INR 25,000 to 3 lakh per month, with government hospitals generally offering lower salaries.
  • MBBS doctors in the government sector typically start with around INR 25,000 per month, while those in the private sector may earn between INR 30,000 to INR 40,000 per month.
  • During their one-year MBBS internship, trainee doctors earn INR 15,000 to 20,000 on average.
  • Junior Resident Doctors at reputable government hospitals receive salaries ranging from INR 60,000 to 90,000.
  • Salaries for MD and MS doctors can vary widely, with inexperienced MD physicians earning around INR 9 lakhs per annum, while experienced ones can earn between INR 10-30 lakhs per annum.

Overall, a doctor’s salary in India depends on their qualifications, experience, and the type of healthcare institution they work for, with government hospitals generally offering competitive pay for less experienced doctors.

Top Recruiters

Some of the top recruiters for doctors in India are:

  • AIIMS Delhi
  • Wockhardt Hospital
  • Fortis Hospitals
  • Medanta Hospital
  • Max
  • Lilavati Hospital
  • BLK Super Speciality Hospital
  • HCL
  • Apollo
  • Columbia Asia Referral Hospital
  • Care Hospital
  • Paras Healthcare
  • Silchar Medical College and Hospital
  • PGIMER Chandigarh; and others


Hurrah! Finally, you’ve reached this other side. After all of that mind-bender, you must be full of 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 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.

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Waste no time! Embark on your journey towards a fulfilling career by accessing iDreamCareer’s Course Selection Program today. Take that pivotal first stride toward transforming your dreams into reality!

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How to Become a Doctor in India: FAQs

How difficult is it to become a doctor in India?

Becoming a doctor in India is challenging and highly competitive. It typically involves completing an MBBS degree, which requires rigorous preparation, dedication, and a high score on the NEET for admission to medical colleges. Additionally, postgraduate specialization and further exams are often pursued, making the journey demanding.

How do I become a doctor after a BSc in India?

To become a doctor in India after completing a BSc, you must pursue an MBBS degree. You’ll need to appear for the NEET and secure admission to an MBBS program at a recognized medical college. After completing the MBBS program, you’ll undergo a mandatory internship and then register with the Medical Council of India (MCI) to practice medicine legally. Additionally, you can choose to specialize further by pursuing postgraduate degrees such as MD or MS in your preferred medical field.

Can I become a doctor without clearing NEET?

In India, NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) is a mandatory exam for admission to medical courses. Without clearing NEET, it is extremely difficult to become a doctor through the conventional route in the country. However, pursuing a bachelor’s degree followed by a PhD allows you to earn the “Dr.” prefix before your name without the need for NEET.

How hard is it to get admission in medical college?

Admission to top medical colleges typically requires a score of over 635 marks, making it challenging for those scoring below 400 to secure a spot in a government medical college. However, aspiring students with lower scores may still explore opportunities in dental colleges as an alternative path.

Which doctor gets the highest salary in India?

In India, the medical profession offers diverse specializations with top-earning roles typically found in surgical settings. High-paying positions include anesthesiologists and surgeons, as well as specialized practitioners like cardiologists and orthopedists. These professionals excel not only in their medical expertise but also in fostering strong patient relationships through effective communication.

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