First things first.
Starting in your undergraduate you have to take certain pre-requisites (basically alot of science classes) and you also have to take the MCAT. It is the exam that allows you to apply for medical school. Your undergraduate GPA+your MCAT scores+your interview skills+your schools credibility all factor in to you getting into medical school.
After you get into medical school.
Once you've been accepted you go through 4 years of medical school. Generally the first 2 are book work with lots and lots of exams and the 3rd and 4th years you do rotations. These rotations help you choose which field of medicine you want to go into. Typical rotations are OBGYN, Family Practice, Pediatrics, Surgery, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. You have some room to also add in more specialized rotations like Oncology or Radiology. In the fourth year you begin applying to residency programs. Your admittance into programs hinges on your Steps 1 and 2 scores (extremely difficult exams), your ability to interview and your medical school GPA. You apply, interview and then, hopefully match at a residency somewhere in the U.S. The match process could be an entire post on it's own. Just know it is a big deal when someone gets one of their top match choices.
Residency lasts 3+ years depending on what field of medicine you have chosen. An Emergency Medicine doctor, someone who works at the ER, goes through 3 years. An Anesthesiologist goes through 3 years of anesthesia residency but also has a 1 year internship they must complete before even entering the anesthesia field. A general surgeon has a 5 year residency and are referred to as interns during their first year of general surgery. If a surgeon wants to become a plastic surgeon, orthopedic surgeon or any other specialty surgeon just start tacking on years. During the residency process, there are exams to be taken just like there were during medical school that show your competency. At the end of residency you take the boards. If you pass your boards, you will become a board certified physician. There are physicians who are not board certified. That is scary. Either they didn't complete a residency or they didn't pass their boards. Either way a certain level of incompetence is to be expected from a physician who is not board certified.
A "real" doctor.
Once again you interview but this time for a real job and your competency during your residency is considered. You apply to jobs alllllll over (or maybe just in specific places that you really want to live) and hope that there are openings. You get hired, THEN take the boards, then hopefully pass them and then you are a real bonafide doctor! No biggie.
SO, when someone tells you, "yes we're moving to Hawaii in June because my husband just got an anesthesia job there." Don't say, "Your husband's an anesthesiologist? Wow! That's almost like a real doctor!"
Or when your anesthesiologist walks in to prep you before surgery don't ask, "so when is the doctor coming in?" When the anesthesiologist replies, "I am the doctor." Don't say, "no, I mean I know you put me to sleep but when is the real doctor coming in?"
Mk? Mk. Cause it is really, really, REALLY annoying. Oh and p.s. are you sure you want physicians to get paid less due to nationalizing health care? Cause after that roughly 200 hundred thousand dollar debt they rack up over the 11+ year process of schooling I'm sure that all they really want is more patients for less pay. Yeah, I'm sure the really, really, REALLY smart people will want to become doctors after that. Cause it makes financial sense. Oh wait, sorry, did I offend you by saying that doctors deserve to make money? Oh yeah, just kidding, doctors should want to do their work for little to no pay. Phew, close one.
That was one heck of a venting session and BOY it felt good!