Medicine is among the most sought professions in Spain. With that said, it is also one of the most competitive. To become a medical doctor in Spain, you must work towards your goal from a young age. This means selecting subjects such as chemistry or physics during high school and receiving the highest marks. The competitiveness and difficulty only increase during medical studies and your residency period.
Even though this path may appear daunting, it is worth it. Medical practitioners are some of the most revered professionals in Spain. Therefore, to help you begin your medical journey, this article takes a look at the steps to become a doctor in Spain.
Steps to Become a Doctor in Spain
1. Regardless of whether you would like to study or practice medicine, you will need to be fluent in Spanish.
Thus, before uprooting your medical career to Spain, you’ll need to consider their language requirements first. For one, all medical programs are taught exclusively in Spanish. The only courses available in English are designed for exchange students are still relatively scarce to find. Therefore, to successfully follow along you will need to be proficient in both conversational and technical Spanish. This is a basic step to become a doctor in Spain.
On the other hand, you will need to speak the language if you plan to practice medicine as well. It will allow you to understand the patients’ needs and diagnose them to the best of your abilities. Furthermore, knowing the language will inevitably immerse you into the country’s culture and society.
2. Even though it is not a requirement, studying medicine in Spain may be of significance for your future medical career.
In other words, a Spanish medical degree holds an abundance of benefits. For one, studying in Spain means that you will become accustomed to both the culture and medical system of the country. Therefore, upon graduation, you will already have met all the prerequisites for medical residency. Furthermore, if you are coming from a country outside of the EU/EEA, you will not need to have your diploma recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education.
As a result of its many benefits, Spanish medical programs have become highly competitive. Namely, only a select few are accepted every year. To apply, students must pass a national-level admissions test, held every spring. Your performance determines the scope of medical programs you will be able to apply to that year. In addition to this test, most universities have their application processes that are mostly completed online.
All medical programs in Spain last for six years, after which you are required to complete the MIR (Medico Interno Residente) test. This exam qualifies you for residency programs across the country. Therefore, even though you may bare the title of doctor upon graduation, you will need to complete a residency program to practice medicine in Spain.
3. As mentioned, the last step to becoming a medical doctor in Spain is the residency period.
Obtaining your medical degree means you have also completed the residency entry exam i.e., the MIR. Based on your performance and preferences, you will choose and receive a residency position in Spain. Depending on your specialization, the residency period may last between four and five years.
Keep in mind that any individual who has obtained a medical degree may apply for a residency position in Spain. However, there are certain limitations for graduates coming outside of the EU/EEA. Namely, the quotas are set at 4% for non-EU students, while EU and Spanish students apply for the same number of residency spots. Lastly, during the final year of your residency, you may apply for a medical license.
4. The final step is a technical one – obtaining your medical license.
Although this process does require some paperwork, it is a fairly simple step to become a doctor in Spain. All applicants must have a medical degree, completed residency, proof of language proficiency, and proof of residence in the province they plan to work and reside in. The final requirement is registering with the College of Physicians in Spain.
The last requirement means registering with the College of Physicians of the Spanish province in which you plan to live and work. Each Spanish province has its own rules and requirement regarding the registration process. Thus, carefully study the registration procedure of the College of Physicians to which you are applying.
For those who have completed neither their degree nor their residency in Spain, there are some additional steps. Firstly, all foreign practitioners must have their diplomas recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education. For EU citizens, this process is only a formality, as their degrees are recognized automatically. On the other hand, non-EU citizens will have to complete a validation process with the Ministry of Education, as well as provide proof of residence and work.
Once this is complete, both EU and non-EU practitioners follow the same steps as Spanish-trained medical doctors.
I hope that you found this article on the steps to becoming a doctor in Spain informative and helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe!