How Do I Become an Occupational Health Doctor?

T. L. Childree

In order to become an occupational health doctor, you must have a significant amount of education and hands-on training. You should begin your education by obtaining a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college. Next, take and pass the Medical College Admission Test and enroll in medical school. You must also complete some type of residency in occupational medicine during medical school. After graduation, take and pass the medical licensing examination and apply for an occupational health doctor position at a hospital, clinic, or company.

Workplace related injuries are assessed by an occupational health doctor.
Workplace related injuries are assessed by an occupational health doctor.

An occupational health doctor deals primarily with the treatment or prevention of workplace-related diseases and injuries. Becoming a medical doctor is a lengthy process requiring years of study and practice. If you plan to become an occupational health doctor, you may want to volunteer at a local hospital or clinic to gain a better understanding of the medical profession. You should begin preparing for this career during high school by taking related courses and maintaining good grades. Your future acceptance into a good medical school may depend upon this early preparation.

To become an occupational health doctor, you must earn your undergraduate degree in a four-year college program. It is best to decide on a medical school before enrolling in college. Knowing the medical school’s entrance requirements will allow you to determine what your undergraduate major should be. Courses in organic chemistry, statistics, calculus, and general physics are typically required for entrance into medical school. You may also elect to take courses in genetics and biochemistry to better prepare for your career.

You must take and pass the Medical College Admission Test or the equivalent after you have received your undergraduate degree. A passing score on this test is required before enrolling in medical school. You will also need your college transcripts and letters of recommendation when applying for medical school. Make certain that the school you are enrolling in has received accreditation from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or other similar body. You should also make sure that the medical school offers specialized courses in occupational medicine before you enroll.

Take advanced courses in clinical, biological, social, and behavioral science in medical school. Subjects such as epidemiology, physiology, immunology, and human genetics will be taught as well. To become an occupational health doctor, you must also complete some type of residency program to gain practical work experience. This residency typically begins during medical school and often lasts for three years. During your residency, you will work under the direct supervision of a licensed physician at some type of health care facility.

After meeting all educational and residency requirements, you must take and pass the licensing examination for your particular region. You can apply for a position at a hospital, clinic, or private company after passing the licensing exam. You may also want to be professionally certified in a particular field of specialty. This certification may significantly enhance your employment prospects in occupational medicine and should be obtained from a recognized professional organization.

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