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Physicians and surgeons have demanding education and training requirements. Almost all physicians complete at least 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and, depending on their specialty, 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.Education
Most applicants to medical school have at least a bachelor's degree, and many have advanced degrees. Although no specific major is required, all students must complete undergraduate work in biology, chemistry, physics, math, and English. Students also take courses in the humanities and social sciences. In addition, some students volunteer at local hospitals or clinics to gain experience in a healthcare setting.
Medical schools are highly competitive. Most applicants must submit transcripts, scores from the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), and letters of recommendation. Schools also consider an applicant’s personality, leadership qualities, and participation in extracurricular activities. Most schools require applicants to interview with members of the admissions committee.
A few medical schools offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last 6 or 7 years.
Students spend most of the first 2 years of medical school in laboratories and classrooms, taking courses such as anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, medical ethics, and the laws governing medicine. They also gain practical skills, learning to take medical histories, examine patients, and diagnose illnesses.
During their last 2 years, medical students work with patients under the supervision of experienced physicians in hospitals and clinics. Through rotations in internal medicine, family practice, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery, they gain experience in diagnosing and treating illnesses in a variety of areas.Important Qualities
Communication skills. Physicians and surgeons need to be excellent communicators. They must be able to communicate effectively with their patients and other healthcare support staff.
Compassion. Physicians and surgeons deal with patients who are sick or injured and may be in extreme pain or distress. Physicians and surgeons must be able to treat patients and their families with compassion and understanding.
Detail oriented. Physicians and surgeons must ensure that patients are receiving appropriate treatment and medications. They must also monitor and record various pieces of information related to patient care.
Dexterity. Physicians and surgeons must be good at working with their hands. They may work with very precise and sometimes sharp tools, and mistakes can have serious consequences.
Leadership skills. Physicians who work in their own practice need to be effective leaders. They must be able to manage a staff of other professionals to run their practice.
Organizational skills. Some physicians own their own practice. Strong organizational skills, including good recordkeeping, are critical in both medical and business settings.
Patience. Physicians and surgeons may work for long periods with patients who need special attention. Persons who fear medical treatment may require more patience.
Physical stamina. Physicians and surgeons should be comfortable performing physical tasks, such as lifting or turning disabled patients. Surgeons may spend a great deal of time bending over patients during surgery.
Problem-solving skills. Physicians and surgeons need to evaluate patients’ symptoms and administer the appropriate treatments. They need to do this quickly if a patient’s life is threatened.Training
After medical school, almost all graduates enter a residency program in their specialty of interest. A residency usually takes place in a hospital and varies in duration, generally lasting from 3 to 7 years, depending on the specialty.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
All states require physicians and surgeons to be licensed; requirements vary by state. To qualify for a license, candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school and complete residency training in their specialty.
All physicians and surgeons also must pass a standardized national licensure exam. M.D.s take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). D.O.s take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA). For specific state information about licensing, contact your state’s medical board.
Certification is not required for physicians and surgeons; however, it may increase their employment opportunities. M.D.s and D.O.s seeking board certification in a specialty may spend up to 7 years in residency training; the length of time varies with the specialty. To become board certified, candidates must complete a residency program and pass a specialty certification exam from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS).
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Cardiologist
Top Careers After Cardiologist
Hispanic or Latino13.1%
Black or African American1.1%
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University of Alabama at Birmingham5.9%
Johns Hopkins University5.9%
University of Miami5.9%
Case Western Reserve University5.9%
West Virginia University5.9%
Michigan State University5.9%
University of South Florida5.9%
University of Texas at Arlington3.9%
Washington University in Saint Louis3.9%
Concorde Career College3.9%
Oklahoma Wesleyan University3.9%
University of California - Davis3.9%
Vanderbilt University Medical Center3.9%
Wayne State University3.9%
Saint Louis University-3.9%
Southwest Tennessee Community College3.9%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Regional Employee Assistance Program||Livingston, TX||Sep 16, 2016||$560,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Regional Employee Assistance Program||Lufkin, TX||Jan 11, 2015||$560,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Regional Employee Assistance Program||Lufkin, TX||Dec 01, 2015||$560,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Regional Employee Assistance Program||Lufkin, TX||Sep 16, 2016||$560,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Prime Healthcare Services-Pampa, LLC||Pampa, TX||Mar 09, 2015||$500,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Prime Healthcare Services-Pampa, LLC||Pampa, TX||Jan 18, 2017||$500,000|
|Advanced Heart Failure Cardiologist||Healthtexas Provider Network||Dallas, TX||Jan 04, 2017||$435,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Grace Clinic of Lubbock||Lubbock, TX||Jun 30, 2017||$400,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Grace Clinic of Lubbock||Lubbock, TX||Jul 01, 2014||$400,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Grace Clinic of Lubbock||Lubbock, TX||Jan 07, 2017||$400,000|
|Advanced Heart Failure Cardiologist||Healthtexas Provider Network||Dallas, TX||Jan 04, 2017||$395,000|
|Non-Invasive Cardiologist||Shannon Clinic||San Angelo, TX||Jul 01, 2017||$357,400|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Heart Institute of East Texas||Livingston, TX||Nov 24, 2010||$350,000|
|Cardiologist||Covenant Medical Group||Lubbock, TX||Jul 01, 2011||$350,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Cardiology Care Consultants, P.A.||El Paso, TX||Aug 01, 2012||$325,000|
|Cardiologist||Department of Veteran's Affairs||Houston, TX||Sep 01, 2011||$283,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Heartplace P.A.||Corsicana, TX||Jan 15, 2011||$275,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Heartplace P.A.||Corsicana, TX||Aug 25, 2010||$275,000|
|Interventional Cardiologist||Heartplace P.A.||Dallas, TX||Aug 25, 2010||$275,000|
|Cardiologist||Valley Cardiology, LLP||McAllen, TX||Dec 10, 2010||$250,000|
|Cardiologist||Valley Heart Consultants||McAllen, TX||Jun 01, 2010||$250,000|
|Cardiologist||Adnan Afzal Md Pa||The Woodlands, TX||Mar 01, 2018||$234,312 -
|Cardiologist||Heartplace P.A.||Dallas, TX||Jul 01, 2013||$230,000|
|Cardiologist||Cardiovascular Associates of San Antonio||San Antonio, TX||Jul 01, 2010||$225,000 -
|Interventional Cardiologist||Heart Institute of East Texas Pa||Lufkin, TX||Jan 07, 2016||$219,907 -
|Interventional Cardiologist||Chi St. Luke's Health Memorial Clinics D/B/A Memorial Multispecialty A||Lufkin, TX||Jan 07, 2016||$177,395|
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