How did I Get Here? The Path to becoming a Doctor

By November 26, 2009 Becoming a Doctor

Do you have any idea how long we study to become doctors?  Often, doctors are already in mid-life by the time they start practicing their profession.  Guys are already going bald while women are nearing the end of their child-bearing years.


After high school, we go to college for a four or five year course which preferably should be a science or health-related course such as biology, zoology, medical technology, pharmacy, etc.  For those who are very intelligent, they can cut down this college course into 2 years if they get accepted into INTARMED (Integrated Arts and Medicine) which is only offered at the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine.  I believe that there are science courses at the De La Salle University (DLSU) which can be finished in only three years.


After college, we go through four years of medical school.  In these four years, three years are spent mostly in the classroom sprinkled with a few patient encounters.  The fourth year is purely clinical clerkship where the students stay in the hospital to actually start taking care of patients.  Students graduate after four years then proceed to an additional year of internship after which they take the board exams to obtain their license to practice medicine.


After passing the board exam, the doctor can take different paths.  Majority will undergo further training to become specialists and this can last from three to five years.  They become any of the following:  paediatrician, surgeon, OB-Gyn, anaesthesiologist, internist, etc.  Thereafter, some may already start their private practice or be employed by companies, hospitals or go abroad (There was a time when so many doctors who were already practicing their profession opted to become nurses so they can go to the US.  A handful of them are already there and have brought their families with them).  Some of these specialists opt to pursue additional training to become sub-specialists which can again last from two to five years after which they begin private practice or get employed.


There are some who do not choose the “further clinical training” path and choose to go directly to employment or practice as general practitioners (I believe there are some who are working as call center agents).  There are a few to go on to pursue their real interests as some students studied medicine only to make their parents happy or simply because they did not know what to do after college.

Denky Dela Rosa

About Denky Dela Rosa

I am a Doctor of Medicine. My specialty is Internal Medicine (Doctor for adults) with subspecialty in Medical Oncology (Cancer). I am also a Certified Holistic Health Coach graduating from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, New York City

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