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Prospective students: medical education and career outlook

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If you are interested in medicine and a career as a doctor, consider preparing for an Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (M.B.B.S.) or other medical degree. India currently has a shortage of doctors, with a low doctor-patient ratio of one doctor for 2,000 people. By contrast, the U.S. has one doctor for 469 people.

Other medical workers such as nurses are also in low supply. One of the problems in medicine today is the migration of Indian doctors abroad, with 3,000 Indian doctors leaving the country over the past three years. New government guidelines for medical study abroad are expected in January 2013; these may change the conditions for medical students abroad. Fortunately, seats for the M.B.B.S. and postgraduate courses in India are rising due to government initiatives aimed at addressing the shortage of medical professionals. By joining this critical profession at home, you can provide a necessary service to many people.

Medical education

In general, eligibility for medical education consists of 10+2 with at least 50 percent marks in biology, chemistry and physics. You must also appear for applicable entrance exams, such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Entrance Exam or All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Entrance Examination (AIPMT). Particular universities, states and regions may also require separate examinations for admission. Degrees in medicine include the following:

  • M.B.B.S.
  • B.A.M.S. (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery)

While the M.B.B.S. is a common choice for medical students wishing to become doctors, other degrees are available if your interest lies in traditional medicine. The M.B.B.S. typically takes five years to complete. After your education, you must train as a junior resident doctor. If you qualify to become a doctor, you can continue at the postgraduate level in programmes such as:

  • MD (Doctor of Medicine)
  • MS (Master of Surgery)

These are usually three-year programmes. The Medical Council of India provides lists of colleges offering the M.B.B.S. and postgraduate courses, eligibility qualifications for teachers and registration for doctors.

Medical careers

With a qualified background, you may have a few options in medicine available to you. As a doctor, you might:

  • Start a clinic
  • Become a resident doctor in a medical college or research institute
  • Work in a hospital

Learn more about available specialisations through professional councils such as the Pharmacy Council of India and the Dental Council of India. While work as a doctor can be demanding, it can also be rewarding.