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Physician Career Overview

Physicians have an important role in our society, as they help to keep up healthy and prolong our lives. This requires them to make assessments on our health, conduct physical exams and analyze diagnostic tests for any potential problems, provide treatment and therapy for ailments, and educate individuals on making healthy lifestyle choices.

Many physicians choose to specialize in certain groups of people or parts of the body. These can include pediatrics, family practice, obstetrics, surgery, and geriatrics just to name a few.

Education: The educational requirements in order to become a physician are more demanding than most occupational fields. Typical requirements include an undergraduate degree, 4 years of medical school and 3-8 years of residency depending upon what type of specialty a physician is obtaining. Upon completing their residency, physicians must become licensed before practicing medicine.

Where They Work: Physicians can be found in a number of different kinds of healthcare facilities, although over half work in offices or clinics and one-quarter work in hospitals.

Other places of employment for physicians include government agencies, public health facilities and schools.

Average Doctor Pay: Physicians as a whole have one of the highest grossing incomes of any profession in the United States. While salaries for physicians vary depending upon where they practice and their specialty, most make between $150,000 to over $300,000. Those working in their own practice make more than those working in a group practice or hospital setting.

Job Outlook: Due to the expansion of healthcare services being offered, the job outlook for physicians is good and expected to grow. This is also partially due to the aging population, which is living longer and needing additional healthcare services and treatment. However, this growth for physicians could change rather quickly if changes occur in legislation, insurance coverage or consumer preferences. For example, legislation could allow physician assistants to perform even more tasks eliminating the need for as many physicians or health insurance could stop covering certain services or procedures provided by physicians.

Work Environment: Work hours for physicians can be long and irregular. In fact, almost one-third of doctors work more than 60 hours each week. In addition, many physicians are on call and must make after hour visits to nursing homes or hospitals for emergencies.

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