How do I Become an Obesity Doctor?

Anna B. Smith

To become an obesity doctor, an individual must graduate from medical school and participate in a residency program to specialize in the care of overweight individuals. To gain acceptance into medical school, students must first earn a bachelor's degree; many medical schools prefer candidates with degrees related to medicine, such as biology, chemistry or pre-medicine, but most will consider candidates with other degrees as well. Once a medical school graduate has completed his residency, he can then apply to take a licensing exam in the country in which he wishes to practice medicine. Licensed medical professionals may work in hospitals or private clinics that specialize in the treatment of obesity.

After medical school, a prospective obesity doctor may be paired with a senior physician during their residency period.
After medical school, a prospective obesity doctor may be paired with a senior physician during their residency period.

An undergraduate student who wishes to become an obesity doctor and is beginning a post-secondary educational career usually should focus on obtaining a Bachelor of Science. Biology, chemistry, and mathematics courses can aid in the overall understanding of basic medicine practices. Some universities may offer a pre-med course of study, which prepares students for direct entry into medical school.

An obesity doctor helps treat people who have problems with excessive weight.
An obesity doctor helps treat people who have problems with excessive weight.

Medical school is the next requirement for anyone desiring to become an obesity doctor. This type of schooling typically lasts four years, during which students are required to learn the basics of anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. Doctors who treat obesity also may specialize in diabetes, internal medicine, and bariatrics, among other disciplines. The final two years of study are often spent rotating through different hospital wards to gain hands-on experience in every area of medicine. Students gain direct knowledge of surgery, psychiatry, and pediatrics, among other disciplines, to help them determine which field in which they may wish to specialize.

After medical school, students may begin a residency program at a supervisory hospital. Students are paired with senior physicians who further guide their educations through direct interaction with patients. Application for admittance to a residency program is similar to applying for a full-time paid position. Those with the desire to become an obesity doctor may also need to complete an internship in a hospital or private office that specializes in the care of overweight individuals.

Once the formal education process has been completed, candidates should apply to take a licensing examination to become a certified physician in their respective countries. Each country typically requires that its national licensing exam be passed prior to a doctor practicing medicine within its jurisdiction. Certain exams, such as the US Medical Licensing Exam, only allow graduates of accredited medical schools to sit for the test.

An obesity doctor might write prescriptions for conditions linked to obesity.
An obesity doctor might write prescriptions for conditions linked to obesity.

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