How Long is Medical School in Canada?

The Canadian education system is one of the best in the world. With some of its universities ranking among the top 100 in the world, it’s no surprise that many want to study here. But, if you’re planning to attend a medical school in Canada, you’ll have many questions. One of them will border on the duration of your study. So, how long is a medical school in Canada?

Medical school in Canada takes only four years. But there’s more to being a doctor than medical school. There are also exams and years of residency. There are only 17 medical schools in Canada which make admission very competitive. So, it’s important to be familiar with the application process.

Although medical school takes only four years, the education and training needed to be a doctor take at least ten years. This article explains the steps to becoming a physician in Canada.

Duration of Medical School in Canada

Medical school in Canada will last for four years. The first two of these years will be spent mostly in the classroom, learning about medicine and in the lab doing practicals. The last two years are for clinical where you’ll work with patients and put all your learning into practice. The clinical is always under the supervision of a licensed and experienced physician.

How to Become a Doctor in Canada

The medical profession is a lucrative and in-demand career in Canada. But it’s equally tasking too. There’s more to know about being a doctor than just medical school, and it’s important to consider the whole process. This process is a lengthy one that takes about ten years on average.  Becoming a doctor in Canada generally involves four stages.

1.   Have a University Degree

While medical school is an undergraduate program, medical schools usually require that you have a degree from an accredited university. The degree required is at least a Bachelors’s degree, and most medical schools prefer a degree in a science-related field. A bachelor of science degree isn’t always a necessity, but it’s a better option. It’s also more beneficial as it gives you a basic understanding of chemistry and biology. This will prove helpful for understanding medical theories. Each medical school has required courses, most of which are science courses. So, you should make sure you take these courses beforehand while in university.

2.   Attend Medical School

Medical school is where you’ll start your basic medical education. There are 17 medical schools in Canada. In most cases, the student has to attend medical school in their province. But some don’t mind which province you’re from. So, you should know the requirements of the medical school before picking it. Most medical schools in Canada will require that you pass the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) before you get admission. The admission rate for Canadian medical schools is about 20% which means you need to have a very good GPA and credentials before getting admitted.

3.   Sit for and Pass Licensing Exam

After four years of medical school, the next stage is the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE). This is an important exam and the most difficult one that medical students will take before becoming doctors. It’s a licensing exam that proves competency and knowledge. To improve your chances of passing this examination, it’s advisable to start preparing very early and study different methods.

4.   Residency

The final step to becoming a doctor in Canada is residency. This comes after passing the MCCE exam and becoming a licensed physician. In Canada, you have to complete a residency before you can practice independently. The residency program allows newly trained doctors to work under more experienced physicians and learn from them. It’s a mentorship experience of sorts that allows new doctors to familiarize themselves with the profession.

Residency for Family doctors lasts for two years. But for specialist doctors, it can take up to 6 years to complete a residency. Some doctors also pick sub-specialty, which could add another two to three years to the residency program.

How Long Does It Take to Become A Doctor in Canada?

By now, you can see that becoming a physician in Canada is a long process. It’s something that will take years of education and residency. At least, it’ll take ten years to become a licensed doctor capable of working independently in Canada.

How to Get Admission to Medical Schools in Canada

The low admission rate of medical schools in Canada, coupled with the limited number of schools available, makes the admission process very competitive.  Here are the things you need to know to improve your chances of getting admission.

1.   Check for Application Deadlines For Medical Schools

The deadline varies between schools and regions. The six medical schools in Ontario have a centralized application process through the Ontario Medical School Application Service (OMSAS). Applications usually open in June, with a deadline in October. Applicants must submit their MCAT scores by November and will be interviewed between January and March. Admission offers start coming in from May the following year.

Other schools have online application systems with deadlines between July and November, depending on the school.

2.   Know the Method for GPA calculation

Each medical school has its grading system and how it’ll calculate your GPA. Most of the time, it’s about matching your percentage or letter grade into a scale system. The admissions committee is usually familiar with grading systems in various universities, but you could still explain it to them if your university grading system is unique. The academic application box exists for this reason.

3.   Draft your Activity List

This is how you give the admissions committee an insight into who you are. So, pick only activities relevant to the medical practice such as research work, volunteer aid provider, etc. You could also select social

activities that show your strengths. Keep the activity list short.

4.   Write Personal Statement

Canadian medical schools want students that have the CanMEDS characteristics. So, write your personal statement from that perspective.

5.   Prepare for CASPer

This is an online test where applicants get hypothetical scenarios and have to explain what they’ll do. Twelve medical schools use it in Canada presently, so there’s a chance yours is one of them.

6.   Prepare for Interviews

Eight medical schools use multiple mini-interview (MMI) formats, and seven use the modified MMI or combine it with panel interviews. The other two use only panel interviews. This is the unavoidable final stage. So, prepare well in advance.

In Conclusion

Medical schools in Canada take only four years. But there’s a lot more. Getting is quite complicated, and there’s still more to do after medical school to become a licensed doctor.

Thais R

I moved to Canada in 2016. This was the best decision that I ever made. I created this website to share what I’ve learned with anyone who’s thinking of moving or travelling to Canada.

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