Becoming a doctor requires between 11 and 16 years of education and training, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because the studies you will need to undertake in order to practice medicine stretch over so many years, there are literally dozens of classes that you will take in high school, college, medical school and in postgraduate training.
High School Classes
Although there are no formal premedical classes at the high school level, you may want to prepare yourself for the workload that you will face in your undergraduate classes. Taking classes such as biology, chemistry and physics will help you begin your scientific studies. Choose science courses that also have laboratory sessions with classroom work, so you can get used to this aspect of science and medicine. Consider taking advanced placement courses in math or science if your school offers them. These courses are more rigorous, and are intended as preparation for college-level work. Mathematics classes like algebra, statistics, calculus and trigonometry will help prepare you for the coursework you will pursue in college.
College classes that will prepare you to become a doctor focus on math, science and the humanities, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Physics, biology, English, and organic and inorganic chemistry are among the classes that premedical students complete. Many colleges and universities offer formal premedical training programs with a prescribed track of coursework that prospective medical school students must follow. Although not all colleges offer a premedical program, students who apply to medical school after their undergraduate studies tend to focus their coursework on science classes with laboratory work, math, language classes and other humanities courses. The University of Washington premedical program, for example, suggests that students take classes such as English, math, biochemistry, biology, ethics, diversity and language.
Medical School Classes
The classes you will take in medical school to become a doctor vary based on a few factors, one of which is curriculum design. Although medical schools vary their approaches to how and when students learn certain topics, the topics are consistent. Classes in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, pathology and biochemistry form the basis of medical training, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Classes that teach you how to interview patients and how to perform an examination comprise most of the advanced training. Most medical schools also cycle students through a series of classes that provide hands-on teaching experiences in internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery and psychiatry. The Association of American Medical Colleges notes that most medical students in their final year of school also take classes in electives, such as humanities in medicine or alternative therapies.