Doctors who intend to practice medicine in the state of California are required to be licensed from the Medical Board of California. The following guide discusses the timeline and requirements candidates need to fulfill in order to be eligible for the license to practice medicine in the Golden State.

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

To become a doctor in California, you will need a substantial time investment. This would involve a 4-year long bachelor’s degree, followed by a 4-year long medical degree. Once these educational requirements are met, students will have to complete a residency program, which can last around three to seven years, depending on the selected specialty. So roughly speaking, it would take around 12-15 years for aspiring physicians to become a part of this industry and begin practicing.

Requirements to Become a Doctor in California

  1. Educational Requirements
  2. Bachelor’s Degree:This is the minimum level of education required to get into a medical school. Medical schools typically accept candidates who have a broad educational background with good grades in natural sciences. Even though a specific major is not required at this point, it is recommended that you take courses in biology, chemistry, physics and math.
    Medical Degree: After completing the bachelor’s degree, aspiring medical professionals will have to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and apply to medical schools. A typical medical school program would last four years and would consist of classroom training and practical work.

  1. Experience Requirements
  2. After completing medical school, students will be required to start a residency program. Residency programs offer aspiring medical professionals the opportunity to work directly in a healthcare setting and deal with real patients. Specialty areas for residencies include internal medicine, anesthesiology, psychiatry and emergency medicine. Residents are responsible for several patient care activities such as developing problem lists, compiling medical histories and performing physical exams. Residency programs typically last around three to seven years, depending on the specialty area.

  1. License Requirements
  2. Aspiring physicians can apply for a license after they have graduated from a medical school and have completed 36 months of accredited residency training as well as passed all the required exams. The required exams include the US Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), which is a three-step exam. The license you receive will be valid for 2 years.

How Much Does a Doctor Earn in California?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Surgeons in California made an annual mean income of $221,490. California was the state with the highest employment level in this occupation, with 3,090 jobs.
The salary earned would also vary according to the kind of doctor you choose to become. For instance, if you are interested in becoming a pediatrician, you can expect to earn a salary of $185,910 in California.