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Can I Become a Medical Doctor Online?

By Carol Francois
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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There is only one way to become a medical doctor, successful completion of medical school. There are a large number of website that advertise opportunities to become a doctor online, but these are all fraudulent claims. Medical doctors require a combination of theoretical and practical education, under highly skilled supervision. This is not possible in an online setting.

The requirements to become a medical doctor vary in different countries, but they all have three main criteria: education, experience, and examination. The requirements to practice medicine are usually issued by the government to ensure a consistent level of medical care is available to the citizens. Many countries have medical associations, which work to provide opportunities for continuing education and offer self-regulating guidelines for doctors.

The vast majority of countries required post-secondary education to become a medical doctor. The level of education required can vary from a bachelor degree in medicine to a graduate degree. The number of years of schooling ranges from four to ten, depending on the country and selection of any specialties.

North American medical doctors have the longest educational program requirements. Most countries in Europe and Asia allow students to complete a bachelor's degree in medicine directly from high school. Upon successful completion, a final exam must be passed to be licensed as a doctor. The longer time frame and delayed earning potential for doctors in North America deters many people from choosing this career path.

A core component of experience is required to become a medical doctor. Medical students are required to work as volunteers in hospitals and clinics as part of the education program. The skills they use become increasingly complex as they gain more experience and responsibility. By the last year of medical school, they are able to meet with patients, create treatment plans, and complete surgeries.

The examination requirements to become a doctor vary, but most countries have government regulated licensing that must be obtained to practice medicine. These exams are incorporated into the final year of medical school. All candidates must demonstrate both knowledge and skill to pass these examinations. Specialists are required to complete two sets of exams.

The online tools available to medical students have grown to include recorded lectures, course materials and study groups. Some online courses in theoretical or scientific subjects are available from within the educational institution. However, these courses represent only a portion of the educational requirements. New technologies are being developed to create surgical simulations using online tools.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon939605 — On Mar 14, 2014

@desertdune: Shaking my head. All online medical programs require hands-on training, clinicals, and residency in a real hospital -- the exact same way non-online medical programs require. You also have to to sit for the exact same exams that non-online students have to take.

Your fears are born from complete ignorance; you think you just sit online and get your degree without doing any real work. Unfortunately many people think just like you and therein lies the real problem.

By anon261880 — On Apr 17, 2012

There is only one way to become a medical doctor: successful completion of medical school.

Interesting how medical school teaches a lack of knowledge, I know more about the prostate than all four urologists I have seen. Medical school teaches very low basic skills. True skills are picked up while working at hospitals and keeping an open mind. Med school is not all it's cracked up to be.

By anon170734 — On Apr 27, 2011

How does the International University of Health Sciences grant MD's online? Their graduates can practice medicine in most states. Any ideas?

By anon80156 — On Apr 26, 2010

i just want to be a doctor!

By desertdunes — On Jan 18, 2010

All I have to say is...Thank HEAVEN that you can't actually become a doctor online! You hear horror stories of malpractice and botched surgeries from ACTUAL doctors..can you imagine what we'd hear if anybody could practice medicine just by taking a course on the web?!

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