What Does It Take to Become an Oncologist?
If you or a loved one are dealing with cancer, an oncologist, or cancer doctor, likely will play a pivotal role in your cancer care. You might wonder, just what is an oncologist? What kind of training have they had?
Published: June 19, 2015
If you or a loved one are dealing with cancer, likely, an oncologist, or cancer doctor, will play a pivotal role in your cancer care. But, you might be wondering, just what is an oncologist? What kind of training have they had.
Well, below is a list of steps of what it takes to become a cancer doctor:
- Earn Your Bachelor's Degree. The first step you must take on your journey to becoming an oncologist is earning your Bachelor's degree. When choosing classes, make sure to include plenty of science, chemistry and biology classes because these are the types of classes that will enhance your knowledge of the medical field.
- Take the Medical College Admissions Test. Around the time you are a junior in college, it will be required of you to take the Medical College Admissions Test if you wish to go on to medical school after earning your Bachelor's degree. This test is grueling but if you can pass this test, you are definitely prepared for medical school.
- Attend Medical School and Earn Your MD or DO Degree. Upon earning your Bachelor's degree and passing the Medical College Admissions Test, your next step towards becoming an oncologist is completing 4 years of medical school. Medical school will involve 2 years of classroom work followed by 2 years in a hospital or clinic setting where you will be exposed to real life medical issues.
- Complete Residency. A residency is the professional training in a hospital or clinic that is required before you can become an oncologist. The length of residency time required will depend on the specialized area of oncology you are studying and can last anywhere between 2 to 5 years.
- Obtain Proper License and Certification. After completing the schooling and residency needed to become an oncologist, you will need to obtain your license in the state you work. For example, if you want to become a Colorado Springs oncologist, you will need to obtain your medical license in Colorado. In order to earn your license, you will need to show proof of schooling and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination.
At UCHealth, we have some of the top cancer doctors in Colorado and the west.