How To Become A Medical Doctor In Nigeria: 9 Steps You Need To Take Right Away

How to become a medical doctor in Nigeria
How to become a medical doctor in Nigeria


Have you ever asked someone, “Show me how to become a medical doctor in Nigeria”?

Are you looking at going into the medical career?

If yes, you may be wondering about the steps you need to take in order to achieve this dream.

In this blog post, we are going to walk you through the steps of becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria.


Who is a medical doctor and what does he do?

In an earlier post, we have explained who a medical doctor is and the duties he performs.

Having an MBBS or MBChB degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria.

Why study medicine?

Often with people wonder what is the motivation which others have in going into becoming doctors.

There are many of them ranging from
1) saving lives
2) making money
3)having some respect or recognition in society.
4) others

How to become a medical doctor in Nigeria.

The following are 9 steps to take if you want to become a medical doctor in Nigeria

1) Get a good educational foundation

Becoming a medical doctor is something that is not accidental for most people.

Many students right from their secondary schools already have in mind that they want to become medical doctors.

When we talk of education, it basically means secondary school background.

That is where you lay the foundation for a good walk in the sciences.

Some of the courses you need to pay attention to in secondary school include Biology, Physics and Chemistry.

It is actually not limited to this, but these ones are very important.

Also, take note of your practicals.

Having a good base in sciences will help you especially as you proceed along your medical school journey.

2) Write your O’Level Examination

When we talk of O’ level examinations, these are examinations that are written by students at the end of the secondary school (SS3 or SS2 in some cases).

Generally, there are two bodies that conduct the O’level exams.

A) National Examinations Council(NECO)

B) West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC).

These exams hold towards the middle of the year and they involve practicals for science subjects as well as objective, then the theory part.

So these exams test your knowledge of the whole number of courses such as Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, English, Language and so on.

There is a minimum number of courses you are expected to sit for during the examinations and you should do your best to get a good result in these exams.

3) Write the UTME

After getting your O’level, which is one of the requirements to proceed for further studies in medicine, you will be required to write the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

This examination is conducted by the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB).

The examination holds once a year and right now the mode is computer based CBT examinations.

In the UTME, you will sit for four courses namely,
A) English Language
B) Biology
C) Physics
D) Chemistry

You expected to do well in this course and get a high score as possible.

This is because many universities in Nigeria have Medicine as one of the courses with the highest cut off marks.

If you get, for instance, a score of 200 in UTME, it may not be sufficient to guarantee you a place or an admission slot in a good number of top universities in Nigeria.

This is because of the competitive nature of the admission.

You may discover that there are many candidates that are coming in with 270 and above.

4) Write your post UTME exam

After the UTME examination, most institutions now conduct their own exams, dubbed the “post UTME exams”.

They had to start doing this because at some point many institutions complained of the poor quality of new student intakes.

They now felt that they had to introduce their own way of further screening candidates in order to ensure they get top notch students.

The post UTME is an examination that is undertaken by candidates that applied to tertiary institutions after writing the UTME.

The O level results, UTME and also the post UTME results are all assessed and graded accordingly. So these are some of the factors that determine whether a student will be admitted into a particular medical school at the end of the day.

The university now brings out the list of successfully admitted candidates that will now proceed to register and become undergraduate medical students.

5) Pass through the 100 Level/PreMedicine Class

Generally the 100 level class is regarded as Pre-Medicine.

This is because most times what the courses that students in 100 level undertake are Biology, Physics, Chemistry, English Languages, GS courses, and some other courses.

Some of these courses lay a further foundation for the medical studies that you’re going to have.

6) Pass through the Preclinical classes

Preclinical classes are generally referred to as 200 level and 300 level classes.

The courses that are studied in this PreClinical class include Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry.

You’re’re going to have to write a couple of quizzes or tests or in course assessments and write the First Professional Examination, usually called the 2nd MBBS exam, at the end of the period.

Successful candidates now move over to 400 level class.

7) Pass through the Clinical classes

The 400, 500 and 600 level classes are regarded as clinical years.

This is where students get exposed to the clinical skills that they need to have a successful career as doctors.

They interact with real patients, and they learn from Consultants as well as other members of the medical team.

Some of the courses done in the clinical classes include Pathology, Pharmacology, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Community Medicine, Internal Medicine, Surgery and a bit of Family Medicine.

At various times in the various classes, they take the corresponding MBBS examination and move over to the next class, till 600 level.

8) Pass the final MBBS examination

The Final MBBS examination is the examination that terminal medical students sit for in their 600 level.

After that, successful candidates are now issued with official MBBS degree by the awarding institution.

They also receive, during their induction ceremony a a provisional license to practice as doctors by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN)

Note that for foreign students, meaning students that have trained outside Nigeria, they are expected to write an assessment examination by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) before being issued with license to practice the profession in Nigeria.

The MDCN is a body that regulates medical practice in Nigeria. It is responsible for licensing of medical doctors, renewal of licenses, as well as discipline and setting of standards of medical practice in Nigeria.

9) Do the housemanship

The practicing license is issued by the MDCN upon graduation from medical school is temporary, meaning you have a setting period after which it elapsed.

During this period, you’re expected to do your housemanship, which is supervised training for one year under a registered institution and under Consultants who will closely monitor the new doctor and make sure he sharpens himself and is able to make a transition from a medical student to a competent doctor.


After your housemanship programme, you are now a full blooded medical doctor and can practice anywhere in Nigeria

Note that after the housemanship, if you must continue to practice in Nigeria, especially in government hospitals, you need to go for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme.

After the NYSC, you can then decide in what direction you want your medical career to go.

You may decide to get trained as a resident doctor and eventually become a Consultant.

You can also decide to continue as a Medical Officer.

Whichever option you choose does not make you less of a doctor than the others.

Benefits of becoming a medical doctor in Nigeria

1) You derive satisfaction seeing patients you have treated and they become well

Sometimes they can meet you along the road on the street and keep still thanking you and referring to the time you treated them or their relative.

2) Societal respect

Doctors are one of the most admired and respected professionals in society today.

3) People seek your advice

People come to ask for your advice over a wide range of medical issues, and what they should do.

Some challenges you may face as a medical doctor in Nigeria.

1) Being a Medical doctor is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

The money may not come as you think.

Some people think medical doctors are verybrich. However, medical doctors in Nigeria are not well remunerated compared to medical doctors. In other countries.

Most times the monies made are still put in for further training, for instance, by those who are doing residency training programs and some other things.

At the end of the day, doctors are not as rich as most people think, except probably for those running a successful private practice or those that have other gigs they run with some other organizations.

This poor pay is one of the reasons many young doctors leave Nigeria for better opportunities in other countries.

2) You get inundated with calls for diagnosis and treatment

People can call you at any time that they have a sick person or they are sick, and they’re asking for a medical advice over the phone, even for patients you’ve not seen.

This becomes difficult sometimes when you have to explain to them to go to a hospital so that they’ll be properly examined.

Sometimes they will still keep calling you even after you’ve told them to get to a hospital for proper evaluation.

3) Workplace violence

Health workers have been victims of abuse and violence by patients and patient relatives.

This happens especially when they feel a patient was not properly handled or a patient dies at the medical facility.

Sometimes the relatives go unchecked and begin to harass the medical personnel, including the doctor.

Here is the summary of a study on violence against health professionals.


We have seen the pathway that is involved and some of the steps you need to take in order to become a medical doctor in Nigeria.

It is actually challenging, but at the end of the day, it’s rewarding when you look back as a doctor and see how far you’ve gone.

If your goal remains to become a medical doctor in Nigeria, we encourage you to continue on this path and keep pushing yourself until you’re able to accomplish that goal.


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