How to Become a Doctor Abroad: Guide for International Students

Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Sep 30, 2022 09:17 AM IST

Planning to become a doctor abroad? Here are some of the factors you should consider when planning your medical education abroad. You can find information pertaining to medical education in specific countries and courses as well.

How to Become a Doctor Abroad: Guide for International Students
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As more and more students aspire to become medical professionals, the question “How to become a Doctor Abroad?” has been raised countless times. Getting a quality and worthwhile medical education that allows you to work anywhere in the world, is a dream that many works towards.

Needless to say, there are a few countries whose medical education is considered to be the best in the entire world and whose graduates have been sought after the world over. This demand for highly qualified medical professionals has motivated students to work hard and apply to medical colleges across the globe.

In this article, we will discuss the steps on how to become a doctor abroad and everything else you need to know about being one abroad.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Doctor

Before taking the first steps to become a doctor abroad, let us first understand what the role entails. Contrary to popular thinking, the role of a doctor does not only include evaluating and diagnosing a patient. There is a multitude of tasks that need to be completed for a doctor to fully treat a patient, including counselling, prescribing medications and treatment processes, putting years of intense study and hard work to become a doctor, good people skills and more.

Among the tasks that a doctor should complete are the years of studying, especially if a candidate wishes to specialise in a particular field or medical speciality. In most countries, medical students often end up spending 5-6 years of hard work and study, including internships to be qualified to conduct all the activities required of a doctor legally. On top of this, some countries specify residency requirements as well.

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How to Become a Doctor Abroad?

As can now be assumed, those wishing to become a doctor will be required to possess a valid medical degree and abide by certain regulations. Some of the ways you can become a doctor abroad have been outlined below:

Vocational Medical Training

Yes! You heard that right! There are vocational training courses that can pave your path into the healthcare sector. However, unlike nurses and doctors, your involvement in medical procedures and activities will be restricted. Through vocational training courses, individuals can become medical assistants, whose responsibilities will be similar to that of a nurse but will not include as in-depth tasks as nurses are qualified to do.

Higher Studies in Medicine

The more common route chosen by students to become integral members of the healthcare sector is by completing a university-level degree such as an MBBS. However, as stated before, becoming a doctor is a long and arduous process, involving at least 5-6 years of medical education. These are often followed by residency years and postgraduate studies if you plan to specialise in a medical field.

Therefore, if you wish to become a doctor abroad, then you will have to choose to enrol in a higher education degree, such as an MBBS, to become a doctor. However, check out the following programmes and medical fields that you can choose and become a doctor apart from an MBBS.

Popular Medical Programmes Abroad

Medical education is a broad spectrum of different specialities, where skilled and qualified professionals work together to maintain and advance the public health of a country or area. And for this purpose, there are numerous medical programmes and courses that students can opt for, as can be seen from the table below.

Medical Field

Description

General Medicine

Medical doctors who specialise in evaluating, diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases through various medications and procedures excluding surgery.

Dentistry

Dentists specialise in diagnosing medical issues relating to gums, mouth and teeth with the help of modern technology and practices.

Pharmacy

Responsible for providing quality drugs and medicine to facilitate medical procedures and treatment while also maintaining a good supply chain of medicines and medical equipment.

The fields of medicine provided in the table above are the popular and major areas of distinction in the medical sector. In some cases, the degrees required to attain a career in the above-mentioned fields are also different, thus, requiring different skills, qualifications and experience. However, there are sub-specialities in each field that you can also choose from if you wish to become a master in one of the areas of medicine.

Admission Requirements for Medical Courses Abroad

Admissions to any medical course offered by universities across the globe will require high academic reports and scores for universities to consider applicants as capable of pursuing a career in the field. However, to maintain uniformity in this regard, most countries and universities will require applicants to present entrance test scores, among other admission requirements for medical courses abroad. Some of these requirements have been mentioned here:

  • Academic transcripts from the previous educational institution.

  • Certificate attesting to course completion.

  • Minimum GPA or score requirements should be high, specifically in biology and chemistry.

  • Language proficiency test scores like TOEFL, IELTS or any other test scores as required by your desired university and course.

  • A Statement of purpose or motivation letter, if applicable.

  • Standardized entrance test scores specifically for medical education are accepted by different universities and colleges in different countries. Some of the popularly accepted medical entrance tests include MCAT, UKCAT, IMAT, BMAT, HPAT, GAMSAT and more.

It should be noted that the requirements mentioned above are extremely generic and each university and medical course abroad will have detailed admission requirements for international students wishing to become doctors abroad.

About Doctor Salaries in Different Countries

Apart from being able to help and save patients and people suffering from different medical and traumatic conditions, one of the reasons why many work hard towards becoming a doctor are the lucrative job opportunities available to them. Outlined below are the Doctor’s salaries in different countries that medical graduates are capable of achieving.

Doctor’s Salary in the USA

With an average salary of a doctor in the USA is around USD 183,000 per year, as per Glassdoor, becoming a doctor in the country may be one of the more lucrative jobs available for graduates. However, there are several factors affecting the salaries of doctors in the country, such as the years of experience they bring in and the medical speciality they have pursued.

If you wish to learn more about the different doctor roles and their respective salaries in the USA, then check out Doctor Salary in the USA.

Doctor Salary in the UK

Similar to the US, the average annual salary of a doctor in the UK will depend on their job profile, experience and speciality. However, in general, most medical specialities earn an average salary ranging from GBP 70,000 - 130,000 per year, according to data collected from Glassdoor and Indeed.

Learn more about being a doctor in the UK and their respective annual salaries at Doctor Salary in the UK.

Top Universities for Medical Education Abroad

If you have finalised your decision of studying medicine and becoming a doctor abroad, then here is a list of universities you may want to look into for your higher studies in medicine. These universities offer several medical courses for international students and therefore, will be a good option for you.

QS World University Ranking 2022

University Name

1

Harvard University

2

University of Oxford

3

Stanford University

4

University of Cambridge

5

John’s Hopkins University

6

University of California, Los Angeles

7

UCL London

8

Imperial College London

9

Yale University

10

University of Toronto

Note: The list has been structured as per the latest QS World University Rankings for medicine. This list will be updated every year so that you can find the best medical universities to become a doctor abroad. Therefore, if you are planning to study and become a doctor, then these are some of the few factors you need to consider before applying to any medical courses abroad. 

However, one of the recommendations of study abroad experts is for medical graduates to study and practice medicine in the same country they graduated from. This provides better employment opportunities and learning capabilities as the curriculum are often designed to incorporate illness, treatments and societal behaviour.

Register and connect with our team of study abroad counsellors to find the best medical universities to become a doctor abroad.

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FAQs

How many years does it take to become a doctor?

Depending on the country where you choose to pursue your medical education, you may spend anywhere between 5-10 years of your life becoming a doctor. However, the basic degree to become a doctor requires a minimum of 5-6 years of education and internships, followed by a residency period. Candidates wishing to specialise in specific areas must spend additional time in training.

Can I become a doctor in foreign countries?

Yes, several countries have devised a method for international students to be able to pursue medical education in the country and become a doctor. However, some countries may impose strict rules regarding the same. If you are interested in becoming a doctor abroad, register and connect with our team of study abroad counsellors now!

Can I study MBBS without NEET abroad?

Yes, many countries abroad accept Indian MBBS students without NEET scores. However, most countries and medical universities abroad will require some sort of medical education entrance test or academic transcripts with scores to prove your eligibility for the programme. Exams such as MCAT, UKCAT, IMAT, BMAT, HPAT, GAMSAT and more are often required to study medicine in top countries abroad.

Which country pays the highest salary to doctors?

Some of the countries that pay the highest salaries to doctors include the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Australia, Denmark and many more. However, it should be noted that the salaries for doctors will depend heavily on the speciality they have chosen, the experience they bring and the role they play in the hospital they have been employed at.

Which is the cheapest country to study MBBS?

There are several different countries that are considered cheap for MBBS such as Germany, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and many more. While these countries offer international students cheap MBBS education to international students, these are some of the top countries that offer world-renowned medical education at all levels, i.e. undergraduate and graduate levels as well.

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