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What Degree Students Education Get After Medical School in the USA

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What Degree Students Education Get After Medical School in the USA

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E hall pass Classlink You’ve completed medical school, a journey filled with intense studying, countless exams, and numerous sleepless nights. But now that you’ve earned your medical degree, what’s next? What degree do you get after medical school in the USA? This article will guide you through the various post-medical school degree options available to aspiring healthcare professionals.

Doctor of Medicine (MD) Degree

So, you’ve earned your Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree! This prestigious degree signifies that you’ve completed a rigorous medical education program and are now ready to embark on your journey as a physician. To obtain an MD degree, students typically undergo four years of medical school, followed by residency training in their chosen specialty. The MD degree is the most common path for individuals pursuing a career in medicine in the United States.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) Degree

E-hallpass kiosk some students choose to pursue a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. While similar to an MD degree in many ways, the DO degree emphasizes a holistic approach to patient care, focusing on the body’s ability to heal itself. One significant difference between MD and DO degrees is the inclusion of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) in DO training. OMT is a hands-on technique used to diagnose, treat, and prevent illness or injury.

Specialty Residency Programs

After earning either an MD or DO degree, the next step for many medical graduates is to complete a residency program in their chosen specialty. Residency programs provide physicians with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a clinical setting under the supervision of experienced faculty members. From internal medicine to surgery to pediatrics, there are residency programs available in a wide range of medical specialties.

Fellowship Programs

For those seeking further specialization, fellowship programs offer additional training beyond residency. Fellowship programs allow physicians to focus on a subspecialty within their chosen field, such as cardiology, oncology, or gastroenterology. Completing a fellowship can provide physicians with advanced skills and expertise, making them highly sought after in their respective specialties.

Master’s Degrees

In addition to clinical training, many medical professionals choose to pursue a master’s degree to further their knowledge and skills. Master’s degrees in areas such as public health, healthcare administration, and clinical research can open up new opportunities for physicians seeking leadership roles or careers in academia.

Doctoral Degrees

Some medical graduates may choose to pursue a doctoral degree to expand their research capabilities and contribute to medical knowledge. Doctoral degrees, such as a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Science (ScD), are ideal for individuals interested in conducting groundbreaking research or pursuing careers in academic medicine.

Subspecialty Certifications

In certain medical specialties, obtaining subspecialty certifications can demonstrate a physician’s expertise in a particular area of practice. Subspecialty certifications, such as board certifications in cardiology or neurology, require additional training and passing a rigorous examination.

Academic Medicine Careers

For those passionate about teaching and research, a career in academic medicine may be the perfect fit. Academic medicine offers opportunities to educate future generations of healthcare professionals, conduct groundbreaking research, and contribute to the advancement of medical science.

Healthcare Administration Degrees

Physicians interested in healthcare management and leadership may choose to pursue a degree in healthcare administration. Healthcare administration programs provide training in areas such as healthcare policy, finance, and strategic planning, preparing graduates for leadership roles within healthcare organizations.

Public Health Degrees

Public health degrees are ideal for physicians interested in addressing population-level health issues and promoting wellness on a broader scale. Public health programs offer training in areas such as epidemiology, biostatistics, and health policy, equipping physicians with the knowledge and skills to address public health challenges effectively.

Combined Degrees

Many medical schools offer combined degree programs that allow students to earn both their medical degree and another advanced degree concurrently. Popular combined degree options include MD/PhD, MD/MPH (Master of Public Health), and MD/MBA (Master of Business Administration), providing graduates with a unique skill set and diverse career opportunities.

Licensing and Board Certification

Regardless of the path chosen after medical school, obtaining licensure and board certification is essential for practicing medicine in the United States. Licensure requirements vary by state but typically involve passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). Board certification, offered by specialty boards, demonstrates a physician’s expertise and commitment to providing high-quality patient care.

Career Paths After Medical School

With so many post-medical school degree options available, it’s essential to carefully consider your career goals and interests before making a decision. Whether you choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine, pursue a career in academia, or take on a leadership role in healthcare administration, there are countless opportunities awaiting you after medical school.


In conclusion, the journey doesn’t end after medical school. Instead, it’s just the beginning of a lifelong pursuit of knowledge and excellence in the field of medicine. Whether you choose to further your clinical skills through residency and fellowship training, pursue advanced degrees in research or public health, or take on leadership roles in healthcare administration, the opportunities for growth and impact are endless.