There’s no doubt that every aspiring medical professional researched this question before beginning their educational journey. After hearing all the comments about doctors being in school their entire life, it was time to get the facts straight and find out how long medical school really is in Canada. 

Becoming a Doctor or working in the medical profession is a lengthy process that requires years of practice and patience. Every medical student who wants to practice medicine needs to complete four essential steps in order to become a licensed physician. 

The simple answer to “how long is medical school in Canada?” is ten years. But the process is a bit more complicated than this simple answer. While it’s no walk in the park, becoming a doctor in Canada requires Canadian students to have successfully completed their undergraduate degree. Following their undergraduate program, they must attend another four years of med school. Step three in the process is completing their licensing exam so they can move onto their residency, the last step in the process of becoming a doctor. 

Step One: The Bachelor’s Degree

Before beginning the application process to any medical school, students must complete their university degree along with required pre-med courses, including chemistry, biology and physics. This allows students to have a basic understanding of life sciences and makes it possible to understand both medical theory and practice. 

Step Two: Canadian Medical Schools 

The next step of your medical career is getting accepted to a medical school. This is a rigorous process filled with many challenges. Medical school is four years long and this is where students will receive their formal medical education. Every medical school has different admission requirements but most medical schools require their students to pass their MCAT.

Getting accepted into a medical school based on your MCAT results is one requirement that can make or break your career before it even begins. But your MCAT results aren’t the only requirement stopping you from getting into medical school. In most cases applicants are required to have a minimum GPA of 3.4/4.0 and if you live out of province this number only increases. Some universities do not even accept out of province medical students and those that do require them to have higher GPAs and MCAT score than in-province students. This is a result of the shortage of medical professionals. The theory is that in-province medical practitioners will serve Canadian citizens that reside in the province as opposed to out-of-province students who will move back home after school. And for those medical students who were left doubting their career options because of a Canadian medical school rejection, they can enroll in a top-tier Carribean medical school. 

There are only 17 medical schools in Canada, which creates intense competition for limited seats.  As a result of this competitive dynamic, only a small minority of Canadian pre-med students gain acceptance into medical programs. Because of the limited spots available, medical schools abroad are becoming increasingly more popular for Canadian students looking to become medical professionals. Canadian students can even receive scholarships and support from the Canadian government along with scholarships offered by medical schools abroad, when they study medicine at top-tier Caribbean schools, such as the American University of Antigua (or AUAMED for short). 

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

Before attending medical school, passing your MCAT is crucial. The MCAT is a multiple choice exam that assesses a student’s problem solving, critical thinking, writing and scientific concepts knowledge. Your score on this test determines your acceptance into most universities. 

Step Three: Licensing Exams

After four years of attending a medical school the next step is to start preparing for your licensing exam. This challenging examination is also referred to as the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) and it ensures that you have the potential and correct knowledge to enter the medical field. This is sometimes considered one of the most difficult examinations and medical students are advised to start studying way before the deadline dates. But this challenging license makes you one step closer to becoming a fully licensed medical doctor. 

Step Four: Residency

The last and final step to becoming a licensed doctor is completing your residency. This process can take up to six years. Residency is a program that puts newly trained practitioners under the mentorship of highly trained and experienced professionals. This process allows new doctors to familiarize themselves with their profession.

Here a new doctor will have the opportunity to explore internal medicine, family medicine, general surgery, and much more before beginning their practice independently. 

Depending on the medical specialty, a residency program can take about six years. While family doctors only require two years of residency training. Surgical residencies on the other hand can last for three to seven years. 

Getting into MD programs and becoming medical doctors is a challenging career path and it takes ten challenging years to attend medical school and complete your medical journey in Canada. But luckily there’s no age limit to becoming a medical professional!