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Medical Careers

¨  What do I do after high school to become a doctor?
¨  How many years does it take to become a dermatologist?
¨  What courses do I need to take to get into med school in either Calgary or Edmonton?
¨  What educational path do you need in order to achieve a career in respiratory therapy?
¨  What high school classes should you take to start training to be a dermatologist?
¨  What type of math do I have to know to work in the the medical field?
¨  As an aspiring dermatologist, what kind of classes should I be taking in high school?
¨  How many years of college is needed to become a school nurse?
¨  What is the career outlook for a dermatologist?
¨  Does a dermatology nurse need to go to medical school?
¨  What classes should I take in high school to become a doctor?
¨  What are the benefits of specialization in an area such as pediatric or geriatric optometry?
¨  Does the level of maths you do in high school affect your eligibility of becoming a dermatologist?
¨  Do you get paid to be in residency to be a dermatologist after medical school?
¨  I want to become a Dermatologist. Where do I start?
¨  I am planning on being a dermatologist do you think I might have a chance?
¨  What languages should I learn as a doctor?
¨  What does math have to do with being a surgeon?
¨  What course/college should I go in order to become a certified dermatologist?

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QUESTION:
What should I do after high school which would help me in becoming a doctor?  I am a sophomore now.

ANSWER from Stephanie Wong on 11 September 2005:
You will have to enter university with most likely a General Science degree majoring in some biology-related program.  It depends on your university.  This is called "pre-med", which you usually stay in for about 2 years.  You will have to get really good marks, as well as do well on your MCAT (US & Canada) exam.  Depending on these and some other requirements, you will see if you will be admitted to the MD program (medical school), which is where you start your medical training.  For an example, take a look at the MD admission requirements at the University of Alberta:
http://www.registrar.ualberta.ca/calendar/Admission/Requirements-by-Faculty/15.9.html#15.9.9

So, please inquire with the universities you are interested in attending and ask them about their pre-med program and what you need to do in high school it get into it.  Then, work diligently while in pre-med to try to get into medical school.  It will be challenging work, but if you enjoy what you do, it is well worth the effort.

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QUESTION:
How many years of study does it take to become a dermatologist?  What organization is certfication/licensure given by?

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 7 October 2004:
A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in dermatology, disorders of the skin, hair and nails.  Depending on where the doctor practices, there may be a difference in requirements but generally you can expect to spend approximately 6 years in medical school and another 6 years or so in internship and further specialized training.  All doctors continue training in order to keep up on the latest advances and techniques.

Here are a few sites that may be able to further clarify your questions:

http://www.aad.org/public/
http://www.abderm.org/home/what_isadermatologist.htm
http://dermnetnz.org/dermatologist.html
http://www.bad.org.uk/patients/what/
http://www.dermatology.ca/english/

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QUESTION:
I'm in my first year at the University of Calgary in the Natural Sciences program.  What courses do I need to take to get into med school in either Calgary or Edmonton?  Also what GPA is required?  I read the U of A site for med school but I don't understand it.  Any help would be appreciated, thanks!

ANSWER from Roger Herzler on 8 November 2005:
Your best solution to this problem is to visit your career or educational counseling department at the college you are currently attending.  They will have volumes of information on other colleges and can provide you with very specific data on what classes you need for degrees and transfers.  They can also tell you what the grade/performance (GPA) expectations are.  Call and schedule an appointment today!  I hope that helps.

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QUESTION:
What educational path do you need in order to achieve a career in respiratory therapy?

ANSWER from Bonnie Walters on 19 December 2005:
To find out about any jobs and their descriptions check out The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook handbook.  Here is the link to respiratory therapists.  It includes Education, nature of the work, work conditions, employment, training, other qualifications, and advancement. http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos084.htm

I love respiratory therapy and have specialized in three areas: trauma/intensive care, procedures, and asthma.  As you will see in the research information there are many areas one can specialize in.

Bonnie J. Walters, RRT

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QUESTION:
What high school classes should you take to start training to be a dermatologist?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 5 January 2006:
In high school, you will be have to take many required classes for graduation.  A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in disorders of the skin.  In order to become a dermatologist, you will need to go to medical school so I would put considerable effort into all your high school classes and especially everything related to math, science and writing.  These will be important towards your future career and acceptance into the college and medical school of your choice.  Good luck!  Study hard!

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QUESTION:
What type of math do I have to know to work in the the medical field?

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 21 January 2006:
The medical field is very large.  There are all sorts of positions and some require very different kinds of math.  To become a physician, you will require math before you can ever get to medical school.  You could work in an office and possibly need math to handle billing and understand accounting.  You could be a nurse, a pharmacist or any number of jobs.  All require some level of math.  Some jobs require more than others.

Before you graduate from high school, it is good to have at LEAST algebra and geometry. It's unfortunate that many kids graduate from high school without taking those courses.

If you want to go on to any kind of professional job, you shouldn't be skipping through high school with only the most basic of math.  You might be able to get by without it, but in most cases you will have to have it to get to the more advanced classes you might want to take.

Even if you enter a field that doesn't require advanced math, many of the strategies that you learn to solve math problems will be used when you approach tasks in everyday life.  It isn't always the math itself that you will find useful, but the skills you develop learning math will be invaluable.

Good luck with your studies!

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QUESTION:
As an aspiring dermatologist what kind of classes should I be taking in high school?  Also what would be the best major for in going into that field?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 1 March 2006:
A dermatologist is a medical doctor specializing in skin disorders.  So, you should take all the sciences, especially biology.  You will want to make sure you have all the courses required to get into "pre-med", which generally means you are a biology student before applying into med school at some point in your degree.  You can find many of the entrance requirements for biology on university websites.  Also, please take a look at some of the questions we have already archived on our website.

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QUESTION:
How many years of college do need to take to be a school nurse?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 2 June 2006:
You should check with the districts where you wish to work and see what requirements they have for their employees.  Typically, you would need to go to nursing school in addition to any degrees the position might require.  There are different types of nurses.  Schools likely accept people from different nursing backgrounds but they may have specific requirements as well.  Check with your particular school district.  Good luck!

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QUESTION:
What is the career outlook for a dermatologist?  Is there a need for workers now?  Is there a need for workers long-term?

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 6 June 2006:
Dr. Hanny Chan said that dermatologists are in large demand in the U.S. and probably in other parts of the world.  There is definitely a shortage of dermatologists in the U.S.  He also said that it is very difficult to get into dermatology school because there just aren't enough openings for the demand.  He said that there are three ways to get into dermatology school:
1) Make a name for yourself through your performance and research during medical school.
2) Know someone who can recommend you and possibly elevate you among the other many applicants.
3) Have a lot of luck.

That said, he encourages you to pursue your dreams.  If you want to become a dermatologist... make it happen.  Don't give up!  You want to love what you do so if that is what you love, go for it.

Some of the advantages to becoming a dermatologist include the variety of the work you get to do.  You might treat infections of the skin or skin cancer.  You get to do some surgery.  You might work with allergies related to the skin.  You also work with people of all ages from children to the elderly.  You spend a considerable amount of time doing pathology.  The skin is a very interesting area of specialty.  A dermatologist is a good career for someone who enjoys many different aspects of medicine.

To become a dermatologist, you will need to spend at least 12 years in school after high school.  Your grades in high school are important for getting into the university and med school.  Your studies will include:
4 years of university
4 years of medical school
1 year of internship
3 years of dermatology school

I hope this helps.  Good luck with your report and your future career.

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QUESTION:
To become a dermatology nurse do you need to go to medical school?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 13 July 2006:
Nurses are not doctors and therefore don't go to medical school.  You would have to go to nursing school, which would take you about 4 years (after high school) to complete.  I found this webpage that might give you some useful info:
http://experts.about.com/q/Careers-Nursing-1527/different-kinds-nurses-1.htm

Good luck.

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QUESTION:
What classes should I take in high school to become a doctor?

ANSWER from Stephanie Wong on 27 August 2006:
Since doctors often enter a general science program before applying into med school, take courses that you would allow you to go into general science or biology.  Each university has its own requirements.  Do a well-rounded high school program.  As for the sciences, concentrate on biology and chemistry.  Physics is probably a good idea too, but may not be an entrance requirement (you might have to take it in university, though).

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QUESTION:
What are the benefits of specialization in an area such as pediatric or geriatric optometry.  Do you make more money as a specialized optometrist as opposed to one who is not?

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 3 September 2006:
That is really going to depend on where you practice.  When you specialize, you probably want to specialize in the area that you enjoy the most.  Developmental optometrists who work with children with learning difficulties due to vision problems (which may be related to eye movements such as focus and tracking) find the job extremely rewarding when their efforts help a child be successful in school.  Many children with a variety of disabilities require optometric care because frequently vision difficulties go hand in hand with other disabilities.  On the other hand, if you are a person who does not enjoy working with children, pediatric optometry may not be a good thing.

With geriatric optometry, it is similar.  Fitting an elderly person with the proper prescription to make their daily life more enjoyable is rewarding as well.

There are also other areas such as contact lenses and such.  When you have your practice, you can advertise for the type of clientele that you prefer to work with.  If you decide to work in a practice with other doctors, your particular specialization may be important to joining their organization.

If you are currently attending optometry school, ask this question of the people there.  I think the MOST important decision you can make has nothing to do with money.  You want to specialize in the area you enjoy most.  If you do not enjoy what you are doing, no amount of money can make up for that in the long term.

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QUESTION:
Does the level of maths you take in high school affect your eligibility of becoming a dermatologist?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 13 September 2006:
You will have to go to medical school to become a dermatologist.  Med school is going to require a lot of math and science background.  You might as well start in high school getting as much of a head start as possible.  If you do not have the background and/or the grades, you may make it difficult for yourself to get into the school of your choice. Best of luck to you!

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QUESTION:
Do you get paid to be in residency to be a dermatologist after medical school?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 4 October 2006:
Physicians get paid during residency but like all salaries the amount varies from place to place.  Here are some links with more information:

http://www.medschoolready.com/app/ResidencyConsiderations.asp
http://www.unmc.edu/emergency/benefits.htm
http://www.umassmed.edu/derm/residency/benefits/
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/utsw/cda/dept25399/files/309971.html
http://depts.washington.edu/dermatol/ResidencyPages/ClinicalTraining.html

To find this sort of information on your own, you can go to google.com and type in words like:

dermatolgy residency salary
salary dermatology resident
residency salary dermatologist

Vary the words and the order and you will get different results.  The above links were easy to locate with just a couple of google.com searches.

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QUESTION:
I want to become a dermatologist.  I have a high school diploma.  I would like to get an Associate of Science degree online because I work full-time.  I would like some direction so that I don't waste my time obtaining an education that will not help me to get to the next step of going to a four year college.  I am thirty years old.  I am a practicing massage therapist and I do have flexibility in my schedule.  Please give me some guidance.  Having never gone to college I am at a total loss as what to do to get this ball rolling.  I don't want to wait any longer.  Thank you for your help.

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 4 November 2006:
A dermatologist is a medical doctor.  You will need to complete your 4 year degree and then get accepted to medical school.  A dermatologist specializes in disorders of the skin, hair and nails.  Depending on where the doctor practices, there may be a difference in requirements but generally you can expect to spend approximately 6 years in medical school and another 6 years or so in internship and further specialized training.  All doctors continue training in order to keep up on the latest advances and techniques.

Here are a few sites that may be able to further clarify your questions:
http://www.aad.org/public/
http://www.abderm.org/home/what_isadermatologist.htm
http://dermnetnz.org/dermatologist.html
http://www.bad.org.uk/patients/what/
http://www.dermatology.ca/english/

Although you have many years of education and training ahead of you, it is not too late.  If that is what you want, check local universities in your area and ask them how to get started.  Find out what the transfer requirements are to enter the 4 year university.  Make sure that the online program is accredited and accepted by the 4 year schools.  Obtaining an education is never a waste of time!  Good luck with your studies and future career!

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QUESTION:
I did not do so well in high school and I am planning on being a dermatologist.  Do you think that I might have a chance?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 5 November 2006:
A dermatologist is a medical doctor.  First you will need to get your 4 year degree and then get accepted to medical school.  You have a lot of schooling ahead of you (at least 10 years plus continual training throughout your career).  Of course you have a chance!  However, you need to really work on your study habits and get good grades if you want to make it into medical school and through the rigorous education that is required of doctors.

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QUESTION:
What specific type of foreign language, and science classes would be best suited for me to becoming a doctor (not quite sure what type but either pediatrician or obstetrician) in high school?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 30 March 2007:
There are no foreign language requirements for becoming a doctor.  If you want to practice in a particular neighborhood which has a (or desire patients from) a large ethnic group, it would probably help your practice.  Other than that, just know your English well.  It is very important to have good English skills so you can communicate well in what is likely your primary language of practice.  Writing skills are important.  Your writing skills may also be a factor in getting into university.  Knowing other languages helps your overall person.

Prospective doctors should take biology, chemistry and physics.  The first two will be very important in pre-med but physics may also be a required course in pre-med so it would help to have some background in it.

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QUESTION:
I’m doing a paper in math class about what we want to become and what math has to do with it, so I was wondering what math has to do with being a surgeon?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 22 May 2007:
To begin with, mathematics are an important part of a well rounded education.  To complete a degree and get accepted to medical school, math and science courses are among the required subjects you will have had to complete.  Medicine is science and science requires the use of mathematics.  There are many ways that lower level math is used in every day work of most careers, including medical.  Surgeons use all sorts of math in their work.

Everything is interrelated.  Sure, knowing Shakespeare's plays or the geography of Russia won't directly help you as a surgeon, but having the knowledge or exposure to a particular subject makes you able to "think" differently instead of having a narrow-minded view.  A surgeon needs to be analytical and knowing math will help with that.  Knowing the rate of processes in the body may be important in keeping a patient alive.  Dosages need to be appropriately calculated.  If complicated surgical instruments or mechanical tools are needed in a surgery, a knowledge of math may help to operate or to set up the equipment.

Doctors will usually need calculus, as it is often required in their college studies.  Those who also do medical research will probably make use of many statistical skills.

There are other exciting things going like robotic surgery which requires math.  See:

http://medgadget.com/archives/2006/12/math_to_improve.html

You can also do an Internet search using keywords such as "math surgery" or "math surgeon".  That is how I found the above link.

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QUESTION:
I graduated with a business degree and I am now considering dermatology as my career change after working as a business executive for 3 years.  What course/college should I go in order to become a certified dermatologist?  Is it necessarily to be good in chemistry?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 9 July 2007:
A dermatologist is a medical doctor.  You will need to find out what the pre-requisites are for the medical school you wish to attend.  Generally, training requires approximately 12 years of under-grad and post-grad studies in the medical field.  You will also need to spend several years in internship and acquiring a specialization.  Dermatologists are also cross trained in many other areas because many diseases manifest themselves through skin conditions.  To become any kind of medical doctor, chemistry is definitely necessary so yes... you have to be "good" in chemistry and a variety of other subjects in the fields of math and science.  Your business degree may help you meet some of the requirements but you will probably need quite a bit of additional under-grad work to be able to get into medical school.  You can research this further on the Internet.  Good luck.

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Last Updated:
19 August 2007
 

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