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How Long Does It Take to Be a Doctor in Korea?

Jason Park
Published by: Jason Park
Last updated:

To be a doctor in Korea, one must first enroll at a medical school. Two years of pre-clinical courses are followed by four years of clinical studies. After that, you have1 1 year of intern and 3 to 4 years of residency. In total, that would be, on average 9 years to be a doctor in Korea.

How Long Does It Take to Be a Doctor in Korea

Becoming a doctor in Korea is, for most people, very good. The salary pays well, and you have a high status. This is what people seek. That is why people get medical degrees. Many foreigners want to come and study in Korea to become doctors.

The average salary of a doctor in Korea is KRW 9,000,000 per month, which comes down to USD 7,800. These numbers are for doctors in public hospitals (National Health Insurance Hospitals).

The annual salary of private hospital doctors is even higher compared to public hospital doctors. To get this salary, one has to work long hours, which are quite uncommon in Western countries.

How Long Is Medical School in South Korea?

To become a doctor in Korea, students study medicine and complete at least 6 years of training without specializing in any field. You have to be a top student to get accepted into medical school.

The competition is very fierce, and the number of students applying to be a doctor in Korea far exceeds the openings. So if you are planning to become a doctor in Korea, make sure to prepare well.

Generally speaking, it takes more than 1000 hours to become a doctor in Korea. The duration of study may vary depending on the person because it depends on how hard you work and what field you specialize in. So How long does it take to be a doctor in Korea?

Requirements for Becoming a Doctor in Korea

Some requirements for becoming a doctor in Korea are:

  • At least 4 years of college education and training in the field of your choice.
  • Experience in the field you want to be a doctor is always handy.
  • A place to stay nearby the hospital is also very nice to have.

Becoming a doctor isn’t easy and especially not in Korea. The competition is fierce, and you have to work your way through. Try to build some connections with co-workers or other doctors.

This can help a lot in the future if you’re looking for a job that you want to get. Or you can always start something for yourself.

Can You Become a Doctor in South Korea?

Yes, you can become a doctor in South Korea. It might take a few years, but in the end, it’s all worth it when you graduate. Most people that want to become a doctor study for many years and there’s a lot of competition.

So if you really want to become a doctor, make sure that you have what it takes. Put in the hours and take it seriously. There are students that study 8+ hours every single day, and you have to compete against them.

Things to Consider Before You Actually Becoming a Doctor

There are many things you should consider before becoming a doctor. Here below, we’ve noted some things to take into consideration.


A doctor gets paid very well, but the hours you put into it may not be worth it for most people. Let’s be honest; you’ll probably work at least 60 hours a week, especially if you’re just starting out.

Make sure that you have the dedication to do the job and actually like it. Lots of people go to their job every day without even liking it. Day by day goes by, and they aren’t happy.


As a doctor, your status is quite high compared to other jobs. People will look differently at you if they know you are a doctor. This is a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing because there are always people that try to take advantage of you.

So make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and not only the status. At the end of the day, it’s only you that truly care about yourself. The classmates and friends you’ve had will probably not look back at you once you graduate.


As a doctor, you should strive for happiness; it’s an important thing to do. We all want to be happy in our life, and therefore, it’s something that we should strive for. Make sure to actually love your job.

Loving your job will bring you fewer headaches, and you won’t have to deal with going to a job that you don’t even like. Don’t become a doctor just because your parents want to.


Try to get accepted into the best university. There you can build connections with other students, and later in life, it can be a great reference. Try to get involved as much as you can. Getting good grades is the first thing that matters but try to have fun as well.

How Long Is Residency in Korea?

How Long Is Residency in Korea

The residency lasts around 5 years. The processing time to become board-certified varies by country, but in Korea, it takes more than 9 years.

If you are already licensed and legally accepted in another country, your certification process may be shortened. It also depends on your specialty.

If you want to work in another country and specialize in a certain field, you have to get certified by that country.


Now that you’ve come to the end of the article, you probably know how long it takes to become a doctor in Korea. If you’re planning to become a doctor yourself, make sure to study hard and try to be the best in your class.

It won’t be easy, but in the end, it will all be worth it. Most people won’t make it, so if you outwork them, it will eventually pay off.

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    About The Author

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    Jason Park

    Jason has been living in Seoul for over 4 years, and during that time, he has experienced many of the city's hidden stores. He loves to write about his experiences and share them with others. Jason has been quoted and referenced by different major media companies like Mashed, Distractify, ThePrint and TastingTable. In his free time, he likes to watch Korean dramas and learn more about Korean culture.

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