People, who become interested in the profession of ophthalmology often ask the most important question for them: how long does it take to become an eye doctor? Many people are likely to be saddened by the answer: it is not a quick and easy path. The necessary requirements for a career as an ophthalmologist are adjusted to the usual standards, and all this only because ophthalmologists are doctors with a license. This is the main difference between this profession and optometrists.
Although both professions are similar in structure, an optometrist can easily complete the journey in just four years, while an ophthalmologist will have to study a fairly extensive program in medicine and only then get the necessary specialization in ophthalmology, eye disease and eye surgery. Here’s a quick overview of the whole journey how long does it take to become an eye doctor: when you get your undergraduate degree you take a special test that will give you a pass to medical school, there you have to successfully get your doctorate, then you spend a year in internship, but that’s not the end.
You have to spend three more years in residency. If you want a more detailed analysis of this path how long does it take to become an eye doctor, our article is designed to help you decide whether or not you should go into ophthalmology.
Before you can begin your preparation for the admissions test to successfully get into any medical school, you will have to complete your undergraduate degree anyway. From a purely technical standpoint, you don’t have to focus on a particular subject at all and agonize over your choices in order to get your bachelor’s degree. You can study anything: basic communication, general philosophy, advanced economics, nursing, or medical training, it has little or no effect on your ability to get into a specialized medical school.
Even so, we should note right away that there is a caveat. Although you can choose absolutely any subject you want to successfully complete your bachelor’s degree, you still can’t go any further without the necessary science background, if only to successfully pass the admissions test and get into the exact school you were planning on attending. This means only one thing: if you don’t make any of your major choices for your bachelor’s degree, you will likely have to pay for additional classes to ensure that you meet all of the necessary prerequisites to get a body of knowledge that will help you succeed later in your studies, let alone pass the admissions test itself.
If you have expressed a desire to apply to medical school, your grades at university may affect your chances of admission, remember that. It is worth saying that this is not a single influencing factor. Another important step in the overall medical school application process is the ICAT, a special exam. This popular exam has been adopted by a large number of countries, including the United States and Canada, and about 90,000 students are going to take it each year. This exam will cover a wide variety of aspects of medicine, and will test your personal skills, including your ability to think critically.
Each of those who want to try on the profession of ophthalmology will prepare for this exam in their own way. Some students forget to attend school for weeks, if not months, and work hard at it, while most simply hire tutors to earn the maximum score on the exam. Others prepare on their own, using various online preparation services and buying themselves the necessary textbooks, so that all their free time to devote to preparation. If you suddenly somehow do not please the first result, do not get too upset, in this case you need to contact a consultant and discuss the pros and cons of retaking the test.
After the previous steps, namely becoming an undergraduate and successfully passing the exam, the hour has come when you will begin applying to various medical schools to end up in one of them. While you’re deciding on the best option for your needs and gathering all the necessary paperwork for admission, there are many factors that you should pay special attention to how long does it take to become an eye doctor, and we’ve tried to point out a few of them:
- The cost of full-time college tuition and the availability of scholarships
- Location and distance from home or work
- The reputation of the institution in the field of ophthalmology
- Availability of strong faculty, modern equipment, and other vital resources
- Provision of housing for students at the specific institution chosen
- Passing scores on tests and whether or not you have medical experience to successfully enter the school.
When you attend medical school, you’ll be introduced to the wide range of medical specialties available through lectures and hands-on training. This will be a great aid to you to successfully prepare yourself for another important exam – taking the medical licensing test for future employment. It consists of two steps. Your score for the first step will depend on whether you are ready to move from theory to practice and rotation. When about two years of training have passed, you will be asked to take the second step, which focuses on testing the knowledge and skills you acquired during your training that will open you up to internship and residency.
Internship & Residency
In order for a future doctor to become certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, he or she must embark on a year-long internship in patient care.
Once you have completed your internship, your path is on to residency, which will take you three to four years, followed by accreditation. As a resident, you will not have access to a full license to practice medicine on your own and, based on that, you will do all of your work under the constant supervision of another specialist in the field. Lucky for you, residents get a salary, although it’s not much, especially if you make a simple comparison with those doctors who have a full license on their hands, and it ranges from forty to fifty thousand dollars.
If you are in an active search for a residency training program that is right for you, we suggest you start your search with the large online database that belongs to the American Medical Association. When applying for residency, you should consider the field in which you wish to teach (for us, this would be ophthalmology). You may also conclude that it is worth putting all your efforts into choosing the very best hospitals in the field.
The main difference between a residency and getting a university degree, residency programs are not coordinated with the student who applied. Instead, when you apply and are interviewed, you will choose your own programs, and in the meantime, the programs will select the best students who are better interviewed. Based on this data, the system, which is entirely computerized, will match applicants’ desires to the programs available to them.
Specialization & Fellowships
Throughout your training journey, subsequent internship and residency, you will touch on very different aspects and areas of patient care and narrowly focused variations in ophthalmology and how to become a doctor in the navy. You may also decide to pursue further study by earning the right fellowship or additional certification in the following areas:
- Cornea and External Disease
- Ophthalmic Pathology
- Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery
- Pediatric Ophthalmology
- Vitreoretinal Diseases
How long does it take to become an eye doctor? If all of the above requirements seem too scary for you, don’t be surprised, because this is reality. You will have to work very hard to successfully complete medical school and pursue a career as an ophthalmologist. Still, if ophthalmology is something that has captured your thoughts, then take it step by step until you finally become a licensed ophthalmologist and can achieve the job you’ve long dreamed of.