Medical students cannot attend medical school part time. A medical school degree typically takes four years to complete. Even for medical schools in the U.S. that offer a five-year medical school degree, you still need to carry a full-time schedule in order to finish on time. Medical school is a lengthy and challenging endeavor. In this article, we will cover the ins and outs of attending medical school.
In This Article
How Medical School Works
Medical school consists of four years of education and training. The first two years are in the classroom and focus on reading, studying, and lab work; the last two years are dedicated to hands-on experience at hospitals and clinics.
While researching medical school length, requirements, and options, we were unable to find any medical schools in the U.S. that offer an option of going part-time. This is because medical school is only one step in the lengthy process of becoming a doctor. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), there are five major steps to becoming a doctor in the U.S.
After completing your bachelor’s degree, which typically takes four years, the second step is to get a four-year medical degree. In your last year of medical school, you choose a specialty and apply for residency programs — this is the third step. Your fourth step is spending three to seven years doing a residency before becoming a doctor and then continuing your education with certifications and ongoing training throughout your career. So if you want to be a doctor, you are looking at 11 to 15 years of school and training after you complete high school. Once you’re a doctor, you’ll need to obtain a license in your state and do continuing medical education classes; this fifth and final step is ongoing.
While the AAMC doesn’t directly state that part-time medical school is not allowed, it does set the standards and requirements that medical schools must meet in order to become accredited schools. One of the AAMC’s accreditation standards is that educators in each medical school should be able to reinforce complex topics of study again and again so that students may successfully retain this important information. Going to school part time may make it difficult for educators to reinforce certain complex and critical topics that students must learn and commit to memory in medical school.
Is Medical School at Night an Option?
We were also unable to find any medical schools during our research that allow night-only classes. Generally, the first two years of medical school are done during the day in the classroom according to a set and limited schedule. While this doesn’t give you the option of school part time, it does give you the option of working part time at night, if you are able to manage it on top of all that homework.
Many schools do offer pre-med classes or bachelor’s of science classes at night but not medical degree classes. Other schools, like Georgetown University, offer medically based lecture series at night taught by their medical school professors. These, though, are for anyone in the community to come and learn about what medical students study and are not part of earning a medical degree. While continuing education credits may be issued for participating in such programs, academic credit is usually not issued.
Combined Degree Options
Some schools offer combined undergraduate/medical degree programs. With a combined degree program, you can earn your pre-med degree and your medical degree back to back at the same school. Both degrees are full time and the course load is intense, but doing a combine program can save you a year overall. At some schools with combined degrees (Boston University, for example), you’ll take seven years to complete the two degrees, rather than the eight it would take to do them separately. At other schools where the degrees are combined, (Wayne State, for example) it still takes eight years total.
Choosing a Medical School
If you are interested in attending medical school in the U.S., you can visit the AAMC website for a list of schools and requirements. There are search options available such as private or public school, campus type, and combined degree programs, but there is no option for part time. If you are interested pursuing a medical degree at a specific school, you should contact that school directly to have it confirm if it’s implemented any part-time options.
Becoming a doctor in the U.S. requires a four-year medical school degree on top of a four-year bachelor’s of science degree. Part-time medical school is not an option in the U.S., as medical school is already a lengthy process that requires students to consistently study and remember complex life-saving information. Night classes are also not a typical option when it comes to medical schools in the U.S. For more information about medical school, you may visit the Association of American Medical Colleges online. You may also be interested in reading our article about Side Jobs for Medical Students.