School years in USA

Medical education in the United States

In the United States a medical school is an institution with the purpose of educating physicians in the United States in the field of medicine. Admission into medical school may not technically require completion of a previous degree; however, applicants are usually required to complete at least 3 years of "pre-med" courses at the university level because in the US medical degrees are classified as Second entry degrees. Once enrolled in a medical school the five years progressive study is divided into two roughly equal components: pre-clinical (consisting of didactic courses in the basic sciences) and clinical (clerkships consisting of rotations through different wards of a teaching hospital). The degree granted at the conclusion of the next four years of study is Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or, less commonly, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) depending on the medical school; both degrees allow the holder to practice medicine after completing an accredited residency program.

Internship[edit]

During the last year of graduate medical education, students apply for postgraduate residencies in their chosen field of specialization. These vary in competitiveness depending upon the desirability of the specialty, prestige of the program, and the number of applicants relative to the number of available positions. All but a few positions are granted via a national computer match which pairs an applicant's preference with the programs' preference for applicants.

Historically, post-graduate medical education began with a free-standing, one-year internship. Completion of this year continues to be the minimum training requirement for obtaining a general license to practice medicine in most states. However, because of the gradual lengthening of post-graduate medical education, and the decline of its use as the terminal stage in training, most new physicians complete the internship requirement as their first year of residency.

Not withstanding the trend toward internships integrated into categorical residencies, the one-year "traditional rotating internship" (sometimes called a "transitional year") continues to exist. Some residency training programs, such as in neurology and ophthalmology, do not include an internship year and begin after completion of an internship or transitional year. Some use it to re-apply to programs into which they were not accepted, while others use it as a year to decide upon a specialty. In addition, osteopathic physicians "are required to have completed an American Osteopathic Association (AOA)-approved first year of training in order to be licensed in Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania."


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