Lawyers, dentists and doctors are some of the highest paying careers you can go into. They also have some of the most demanding educational programs.
You may be wondering what the education requirements for these professions look like. You may be willing to do years of post-graduate work to achieve career success, but exactly how many years does that entail? And what does that work look like? Does it require you to do work within your college’s division of graduate education, or does it require more on-the-job training?
Depending on what profession you want to pursue, it could be a combination of classwork and actual experience. This information is important to know if you plan on pursing one of these careers, as it will take a lot of time, dedication, and resources to keep up. Up to 81.5% of millennials are in debt, and student loans are a big contributor to that debt. If you want to pursue a career that requires a lot of education, you want to make sure you get the most value for your dollar, especially if you’re taking out loans for your education.
If you’re considering a career as a lawyer, doctor or dentist, here’s what you need to know about their education requirements.
The Education of Lawyers
Being a lawyer comes with a lot of responsibility. As a lawyer, you advise individuals or companies on legal matters and defend them in court if necessary. Lawyers are expected to help their clients follow the law and counsel them in an ethical and legal way.
If you want to become a lawyer, you’ll have to spend years focusing on your education. First, you must get an undergraduate degree. While there are colleges that offer pre-law degree program, you can get an undergraduate degree in any subject and still apply to law school. You can boost your law education, though, by doing research with a law professor in your school’s division of graduate education.
Some people may think you should pursue a graduate degree to become a lawyer, however that’s not necessary. If you think there are graduate courses that can help you become a better lawyer, you can always talk to a school’s division of graduate education to get advice.
Once you obtain an undergraduate degree, the next thing to do is take the Law School Admission Test, also known as the LSAT. You must pass the LSAT in order to be accepted into law schools within the United States. The LSAT tests you on a number of skills including critical thinking, analysis, and logical reasoning. Law schools will look at your LSAT scores when you apply for admission. The average score for the LSAT is 150, however each law school has different requirements for admission. On top of your LSAT scores, you’ll also have to send in your undergrad transcripts and letters of recommendation.
When you get into law school, you’ll typically spend three years taking courses that sharpen your law skills and teach you fundamental law topics. Law school is also where you’ll learn what kind of law you want to practice. You can also take this time to do research or be a teaching assistant within a school’s division of graduate education, but that’s up to you to determine.
Once you complete law school, there are two tests to take. The first one is the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, also known as the MPRE. This is a test on ethics that all potential lawyers must take before taking the bar exam.
The bar exam is the final step in the lawyer education process. The bar exam tests you on your law knowledge and how you can apply it to different situations. This is arguably the hardest test in a lawyer’s education and the most important one. If you pass it, you are officially on the path to getting hired as a lawyer.
There are a number of professions you can pursue with a law degree. You could be an attorney, public defender, or even a judge. You could also opt to be a professor of law once you have enough experience. You could work with people in the division of graduate education, as well as other departments within a school, to ensure future lawyers get the best education possible.
The bottom line: becoming a lawyer requires a lot of education. If you want to be successful in this line of work, you’ll need to dedicate the time and resources to perfecting your craft.
The Education of Doctors
There are a lot of medical professions you can go into. You can be a nurse, a physician’s assistant, or a medical worker for hospice services. However, many people tend to be curious about what it takes to become a doctor.
Doctors are some of the most hard-working and highly-educated people in the world. Doctors are responsible to evaluating patients, diagnosing their illnesses or ailments, and treating patients. Being a doctor requires a lot of expertise, which is why doctors have one of the most rigorous education processes.
The road to becoming a doctor starts with getting an undergraduate degree. You could get a pre-med undergrad degree, however a specific undergraduate degree isn’t necessary to apply to medical school. If you’re interested in becoming a doctor, you should take classes in science and mathematics. Keep in mind when taking these classes that your GPA is a crucial factor when applying to medical school. Aim to excel in these classes and learn as much as you can.
Something you should also do while getting your undergraduate degree is build your network on campus. You could be a TA within a class in your school’s division of graduate education, or you could help a professor with research. Doing these activities will help you stand out when applying for medical school and give you a list of references for letters of recommendation.
Another strategy that can help you stand out when applying to medical school is having clinical experience. For instance, if you want to be an emergency medical physician, see if you can get any clinical experience in an emergency room or trauma center during your undergrad years. This will show your medical schools of choice that you’re truly interested in this field and want to learn as much as possible.
When you’re an undergrad, you should also think about when you want to apply to medical school. Generally, you want to take the the Medical College Admission Test, also known as the MCAT, a year before you apply. Your MCAT score is an important part of your medical school application, so make sure to take the time to study for it. If you need study tips, you could ask professors within your school’s division of graduate education for advice. They could also point you in the direction of colleagues who could help you study.
Once you get your undergraduate degree and take the MCAT, it’s time to start applying to medical schools. Medical schools are competitive and look at a number of factors when selecting students. They look at your MCAT score, the research you’ve done, the clinical experience you have, and your letters of recommendation. You’ll also likely have an interview, so you should focus on doing interview prep as well.
Once you get into medical school, you’ll spend four years learning the skills and strategies that all doctors must have to be successful. You’ll spend time in the classroom and in the lab during this time. You’ll also get to work alongside doctors and interact with patients during your last years of medical school. This is where you’ll determine what specialty you want to pursue. Pay attention to what you really enjoy doing. Do you like working the coronary care unit, or are you interested in orthopedics? Knowing what interests you will help you pick a specialty.
Once medical school wraps, you’ll need to enroll in a residency program. Residency programs can last between three and seven years, depending on what specialty you choose. Residency programs are your chance to interact with patients, build your medical skills, and gain experience in the field.
When you residency is completed, you’ll then need to get licensed within your state. Your license requirements will depend on which state you live in, but you must pass the exam in order to be a practicing doctor.
As you can see, it can take up to 15 years of education to become a doctor. If you can’t dedicate that amount of time to your medical education, you could look into other medical professions that don’t require as much education. For instance, an eye doctor generally has to earn an undergraduate degree, complete a four-year program to earn their Doctor of Optometry program, and pass all licensing exams. Another example: if you want to be an audiology specialist, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree, a doctorate degree, work clinical hours, and pass licensing exams. While these professions have a slightly faster education process, they still require up to eight years of education and clinical work.
One of the perks of becoming a doctor is that if you want, you could become a teacher down the line. You could work in a university’s division of graduate education or in a medical school to help train future doctors.
Bonus: The Education Of Veterinarians
You may find that you want to be a doctor, but you don’t want to treat humans. If you want to help diagnose and treat the medical condition of animals, you can consider becoming a veterinarian.
Veterinarians go through a similar education process that doctors do. If you’re interested in this field, you’ll obtain an undergraduate degree that typically relates to veterinarian medicine or animal science. Then, you take the Graduate Record Examination (also known as the GRE) and prepare to apply to veterinarian school. If you’re considering this career path and need help studying for the GRE, see if your school’s division of graduate education offers any assistance.
Once you get into veterinarian school, you spend the next four years learning more about animal medicine and figuring out what you want your specialty to be. Then, when you graduate veterinarian school, you’ll take licensing exams to ensure you can practice at the national and state level. Once your certification is complete, you can start working. You can either work in an animal hospital or start building your own practice.
The Education of Dentists
If you’re passionate about helping people achieve optimal dental health and ensure they have great smiles, you may want to consider becoming a dentist. Similar to doctors and veterinarians, the path to becoming a dentist requires undergraduate and post-graduate work.
The first step to becoming a dentist is to get an undergraduate degree. While there is no specific major required to apply to dental school, it’s highly recommended that students take classes like biology, chemistry and physics to meet dental school prerequisites. You’ll also need to take the Dental Admissions Test (also known as the DAT) one year before you apply to dental school.
After undergrad work is complete, you can start applying to dental school. Dental school is where you’ll spend four years perfecting your dentistry skills and figuring out what you want to specialize in. You could go into family dentistry, public health dentistry, or you could even go into the research field. If you decide to go into research, you may need more training or education, as many researchers work in the federal organizations or at universities. If you’re interested in a research or teaching position at a university, you can talk with its division of graduate education to see what the requirements would be.
After you finish dental school, you’ll need to take tests to get licensed at the national and state level. Once you are licensed, you can start practicing dentistry.
Choosing Your Path
When it comes to pursuing a career as a lawyer, doctor, or dentist, one thing is clear: you’ll need to dedicate years to your education. That’s why it’s important to decide if these career options are for you. A great way to get perspective on what it’s like to do the job is to interview someone in that role or someone who once held it. If there’s a professor in your school’s division of graduate education who used to be in one of these professions, interview them to see what it was like. This could give you an honest perspective about the profession and help you judge whether or not it’s for you.
At the end of the day, if you have a passion for one of these careers, then you’ll pursue it. All the education and post-graduate work will be worth it because you’ll be in a career you love and doing something that makes you proud. It’ll be an investment, but an investment you’ll be glad you made.