How Do I Become a Medical Specialist?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

The road to becoming a medical specialist often begins with education. In many cases, you will need education and training in general medicine concepts before you can go on to become a medical specialist. In addition to the education you receive, you will likely need general medicine training as well as training in your specialty. Additionally, you may have to pass an exam or series of exams in order to earn a license or certification in your specialty.


To become a medical specialist, the first step is getting an education in the field you wish to pursue. For example, if you want to become a doctor, nurse, or dentist, you will typically have to seek education in general medicine, nursing, or dentistry before you can pursue a specialty. A doctor, for instance will usually have to spend four years studying medicine while a nurse is likely to spend one to four years preparing for a nursing career before going on to train for a specialty. Likewise, a dentist will normally complete about four years of dental school before training for a dental specialty.

After you complete your education in general medicine, you will usually have to spend additional time studying and training to become a specialist. For example, a doctor must complete a residency, which provides good preparation for his specialty, but he may also go on to complete a fellowship in the specialty he is chosen. Likewise, if you enter the field of nursing or dentistry, you will need additional training to become a nurse anesthetist or an endodontist.

You may also need additional licensing or certification to become a medical specialist. The requirements for this additional licensing or certification depend on the type of specialty you are pursing and the jurisdiction in which you are located. Often, however, you will have to meet specific training requirements and pass an exam or series of exams to earn certification or licensing in your chosen specialty.

When you want to become a medical specialist, it is also a good idea to spend some time researching to learn the ins and outs of the specialties that interest you. By researching the daily tasks performed in a few different specialties and even speaking with some medical specialists in the fields that interest you, you may get a better idea of the specialties to which you are most suited. The clinical practice portion of your education, such as a medical internship, may give you an opportunity to learn more about different specialties as well.

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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