The road to becoming a doctor is filled with daunting challenges. Admission, years of school, and a grueling residency all make a physician's life the road less traveled. And after that degree and license is handed over, these singular people face longer hours and high-stress environments.
More than 850,000 physicians were licensed to practice in 2010. But with the baby boomer generation retiring and an estimated 32 million Americans getting insured through the Affordable Care Act, projections estimate that as many as 130,000 new physicians will be needed by 2025.
What are the standards for becoming a doctor? First, a student has to get into a medical school, whose requirements can vary. At the least, an applicant must have completed science courses and a bachelor's from an accredited university, as well as scoring at least a 30 on the medical college admission test (MCAT).
Though the number is low, the variation of admittance based on scores in 2011 was tight: The average MCAT score, which helped admit 20,000 students, was 31.1. That leaves little room for error, for both the students and the health of U.S. hospitals.
By 2020, forecasters anticipate employment opportunities for doctors to grow 24 percent. Staffing agencies like Soliant Health are already working hard to connect existing doctors to hospital demand, which, based on economic and policy predictions, will only get stronger.
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