How to become a doctor in USA

How to become a doctor in USA

MBBS in the USA is a wise decision not only for Indian students but for students from across the globe. The value of Medical programs in the United States of America are worth. 

Medical studies in the USA are more focused on practical knowledge than just theoretical learning.

The medical education system in the USA is entirely different than most of the European countries. Few of them are Ukraine, Russia, Georgia, or Asian countries like China and the Philippines. After a student accomplishes their PG degree in medicine in the USA, they don't require to give any exam to practice in India.

In the USA, the medical degree is called MD (Doctor of Medicine) instead of MBBS. For the medical course in the USA, the instruction of language is English. The medical degrees in America are WHO, NMC, MCC, and ECFMG approved. In the field of clinical schooling, MBBS in the USA has proved itself as a benchmark.

This blog is perfect for the one who wants to know the complete details of how to become a doctor in the USA.

Process of How to become a doctor in the USA

To understand How to become a doctor in the USA, you need to understand the following steps- 

  1. Overview
  2. Top Colleges for MBBS in the USA
  3. List of Top MBBS Universities or Schools in the USA (NMC Recognized)
  4. Why Study MBBS in the USA?
  5. Course Structure of MBBS in the USA
  6. Admission Process of MBBS in the USA
  7. Eligibility for MBBS at USA Universities
  8. Documents Required for MBBS at USA Admission
  9. English Proficiency Requirement for International Students
  10. MBBS in USA Fees and Other Costs
  11. Scholarships for MBBS in the USA
  12. Job Prospects and Salary of MBBS in the USA
  13. Wrap it up

1. Overview

Unlike India, MBBS in the USA is a postgraduate program. Students pursue medical programs as a bachelor's degree. It is equivalent to an MD (Doctor of Medicine) and takes approximately four years to complete. 

How to become a doctor in the USA for international students?

To apply for this degree, international students must accomplish a pre-medical course i.e., BS degree, from a USA university. After completing an MD program from the USA, students must have applied for 3-5 years of a residency program to practice as a doctor.

Students wonder how many years to become a doctor in USA they need. Thus, to pursue MBBS in the USA, the total duration required ranges between 7 to 9 years.

  • To apply for medical colleges in the USA offering MD degrees international students are needed to appear for the MCAT exam.
  • For an MD from the USA, the tuition fees ranges between 18,442 USD to 64,984 USD.
  • After completing the MBBS at USA universities, students can practice as a physician or surgeon.
  • As per the report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary of an MBBS doctor in the USA is 208,000 USD or more per annum. 

 2. Top Colleges for MBBS in USA

The first move towards getting a qualification equal to MBBS at USA universities is to enroll yourself in a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree. The degree must be related to the medical field. After finishing the B.Sc., you are eligible to apply for the MD program. 

Following are the well-known universities in the USA offering MD programs, according to QS News Ranking 2021 for medicine:


Program Duration (in years)

Total Fees (in USD)

Harvard Univ.



Stanford Univ.



John Hopkins Univ.



Univ. of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)



Yale Univ.



Univ. of California, San Francisco (UCSF)



Columbia Univ.



Univ. of Pennsylvania



Duke Univ.



Univ. of California, San Diego



3. List of Top MBBS Univ. or Schools in USA (NMC Recognized)

Name of the Colleges


Harvard Univ.


New York Medical College

New York

Washington Univ.


Temple Univ., School of Medicine


Univ. of California


Emory Univ.


Case Western Reserve Univ.


American Univ. of Saint Vincent


Mayo Medical School


Northwestern Univ.


State University of New York

New York

Univ. of Minnesota


Wayne State Univ.


4. Why Study MBBS in the USA?

All the advantages of Studying MBBS in the USA

  • The education quality of medical studies in the USA is excellent. To become an expert doctor, student must opt for MBBS in the USA.
  • The reputation of MBBS colleges in the USA are high and they are noticeable all around the globe.
  • Doctors from the USA have great demand and respect all over the world.
  • The medium of Medical education in the USA is thoroughly in English.
  • Students need not to pay any additional capitation fees other than the course fees to secure the MBBS course admission in the USA,
  • There is no additional NMC Screening Test required for the students who study MBBS in the USA and want to practice in India.
  • Based on the merit status of the student many top medical universities of USA offer scholarship facilities to international students.
  • While studying medicine in the USA students can seek a part-time job too.
  • From the beginning of the MBBS program in the USA, top medical colleges in the USA offer a stipend to students.

The one with a MBBS degree at USA universities, not required to appear for FMGE (Foreign Medical Graduate Examination) to practice in India. If MD degree pursued from an accredited college or university, then MCI (Medical Council of India) approves that.

  • As per the expectation, the job growth for physicians and surgeons in the USA holds to be 7% from 2018 to 2028. It is faster than the country’s average of 5% for all occupations.
  • Amid several categories of practicing doctors, the max. no. of jobs in the USA is expected to be created for psychiatrists followed by family and general practitioners till 2028. 
  • Among all other occupations in the USA the avg. annual salary of physicians and surgeons is the highest ie. 208,000 USD. 

5. Course Structure of MBBS in USA

A medical degree in the USA is known as a master's degree. Before applying for admission in the USA, students must complete their Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. This degree should be in biology, chemistry, or any other related field. 

This BS degree refers to be as a pre-medical course. After finishing MD, students have to apply for a residency program based on their choice of specialization. 

Pre-Medical Course

It is a foundation course and teaches students the basics of medical science. Domestic students of the USA start pursuing this course after 10th class with the duration for them is four years.

However, since Indian students apply for MBBS in the USA after 10+2, they have to study for a BS degree only for four trimesters or 16 months. 

If, anyone has a BS degree in medicine or a related field, or has studied MBBS for 1 or 2 years in India. They might be released from enrolling in a pre-medical course in the USA. This decision deceives in the hands of the university to which you are applying. 

The subjects taught in pre-medical courses are: Chemistry, English, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Medical Terminology, Anatomy, and Sociology. 

MD Program

After finishing the pre-medical course, the desired candidate is eligible, to enroll in an MD program in the USA equivalent to MBBS. The program is divided into two stages, each requires two years to complete. 

Theoretical Stage: It focuses on communicating a progressive level of theoretical knowledge about medical science to students. Some of the subjects offer to study in the USA are Physiology, Anatomy, Biochemistry, Histology, Medical Ethics, Neuroanatomy, Microbiology, Pathology, and Clinical Science.

To qualify for the second stage of this MD degree students have to appear for USMLE 1 (United States Medical Licensing Examination).

Practical Stage: Doctors and professors taught the basics of operating in a hospital and treating patients at this stage of learning. It is also renowned as Externship/Clerkship or Clinical Rotation. At the end of this stage, student must apply for USMLE 2. 

Residency Program

The one who qualified the USMLE 2 will be eligible to apply for the residency program. The duration of this program varies between 3 to 5 years depends upon the specialization chosen. 

To become an expert in their respective fields, students have to work in hospitals. USMLE 3, also known as Licensee Exam, is the final exam to appear for. After successfully completing this exam, you can practice as a doctor in the USA. You can also practice in any country that approves the US education system. 

6. Admission Process of MBBS in USA

This section provides a summary of how to do MBBS in the USA. To apply for a Doctor of Medicine (MD) a pre-medical course and MCAT score are required. Applications for MBBS at USA universities are accepted for the fall and spring semesters. 

Where to Apply: Through AMCAS (American Medical College Application Service), international students can apply to USA colleges. Through website, some of them also accept the application directly. 

7. Eligibility for MBBS at USA Universities

  • Completion of 10th and 12th class
  • B.Sc. degree in chemistry, biology, or medicine related field as a pre-medical course
  • NEET and MCAT test scores
  • English proficiency proof

Note: For admission most of the top-ranking universities of the USA do not define a min. required MCAT score. Yet, students with scores of 510 or above have more chances to get admission. MCAT Score should not be older than four years.

8. Documents Required for MBBS at USA Admission

  • Copy of previous academic study
  • English translation of non-English copies 
  • Evaluation of foreign transcripts by an accredited agency
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Statement of purpose
  • Resume
  • Applicant’s Criminal background check

9. English Proficiency Requirement for International Students

Since the Curriculum of MBBS at USA universities is thoroughly in English, international students are required to demonstrate proficiency in this language. It happened after submitting one of the following test scores:

  • IELTS: 6.5 to 7.0
  • TOEFL (iBT): 90 to 100

Some universities exempt international students who attended previous education in English or belong to a country where English was the first language from submitting the above test scores.

10. MBBS in USA Fees and Other Costs

The USA is considered a costly country for international students. Still, it is the priority of many studies abroad aspirants. Let's take a look at various types of expenses incurred while pursuing MBBS at USA universities: 

Pre-arrival Cost

International students have to bear these types of expenses before coming to the country for pre-medical courses.

Type of Fees

Cost (in USD)



USA Student Visa







185 - 190


160 - 250

Tuition Fees for MBBS in USA

Fees for MBBS in the USA have two components: the cost of pursuing BS degree and tuition fees of the MD program. Below mentioned is the average tuition fees for both of them: 

  • BS in medicine-related field: 20,000 USD to 50,000 USD per annum
  • MD Program: 64,984 USD to 18,442 USD per annum

Cost of Living in USA

The average living cost in the USA for an international student is 15,000 USD per annum. Below-mentioned is a general estimate of monthly expenses:

  • Accommodation - $200. 
  • Groceries - $200
  • Food - $150
  • Transport - $100
  • Entertainment and shopping - $250
  • International calls - $15

11. Scholarships for MBBS in USA

School of Medicine of various universities in the USA and many external agencies offer a variety of scholarships so that students can complete their studies without any financial problems. Below-mentioned is the tabulated form of the scholarships for international students in the USA are tabulated below:


Awarding Institute

Amount (in USD)

Harvard Medical School Scholarship

Harvard University

Tuition fee waiver

Stanford Institutional Aid

Stanford University


Financial Aid for Non-US Medical Students

John Hopkins University


Vagelos Scholarship

Columbia University

Tuition fees + Living cost

AHIMA Foundation Merit Scholarship

AHIMA Foundation


AMTIE Student Scholarship

American Medical Technologists (AMT)

Up to 500

ASAHP Scholarship of Excellence

Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions and CastleBranch


12. Job Prospects and Salary of MBBS in USA

You can either work in private/government hospitals or practice in your own clinic after finishing your MBBS at USA universities. The average salary of physicians and surgeons in the USA is 208,000 USD per annum. It is much higher than the national average of 38,640 USD per annum.

Below is the tabulated form of salaries and job roles for various specializations in the USA:


Job Description

Average Annual Salary (in USD)


Responsible for administering drugs during surgery; prescribing pain relief drugs to patients


Family and General Physician

Treatment of conditions occurring every day like sinus, fracture, infections, etc


General Internists

Perform non-surgical treatments for diseases affecting stomach, kidney, liver, etc


Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Take care of issues related to pregnancy, childbirth and female reproductive system


General Pediatricians

Specialists in issues related to infants, children, teenagers, and young adults



Perform diagnosis and treatment of mental illness



Perform operations for the treatment of injuries, diseases, and deformities


Doctors are highly respected not only in the USA but among all other parts of the world. Thus, the first choice of a medical aspirant is to become a practicing physician or surgeon. However, the entrance criteria and education of MBBS in the USA are equally challenging, and only highly meritorious students can get admission to top medical colleges in the USA.

13. Wrap it up!

Hope this blog on How to become a doctor in the USA helps you in solving all your queries regarding the USA medical admission.

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