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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 Hospitalist
Top Careers After Hospitalist
Hispanic or Latino9.4%
Black or African American1.1%
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Morehouse School of Medicine7.2%
University of Washington5.8%
New York University5.8%
University of South Florida5.8%
University of Texas Medical Branch5.8%
Catholic University of America5.8%
University of the Sciences4.3%
Central State University4.3%
University of Alabama at Birmingham4.3%
Texas Tech University4.3%
Mountain State University4.3%
East Tennessee State University4.3%
Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences4.3%
University of Miami4.3%
George Washington University4.3%
Michigan State University4.3%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Hospitalist||Franciscan Health System||Federal Way, WA||Jan 31, 2016||$434,785|
|Hospitalist||Franciscan Health System||Tacoma, WA||Jan 31, 2016||$434,785|
|Hospitalist (Internist)/Psychiatrist||Parkview Medical Center, Inc.||Pueblo, CO||Apr 22, 2016||$417,400|
|Hospitalist (Internist)/Psychiatrist||Parkview Medical Center, Inc.||Pueblo, CO||Apr 18, 2016||$417,400|
|Hospitalist||St.Vincent's Multispecialty Group, Inc.||Bridgeport, CT||Oct 01, 2015||$417,400|
|Hospitalist||Marion General Hospital, Inc.||Marion, IN||Jan 07, 2016||$396,530 -
|Hospitalist (Internist)||Parkview Medical Center, Inc.||Pueblo, CO||Mar 25, 2016||$375,660|
|Hospitalist||Shannon Clinic||San Angelo, TX||Nov 01, 2016||$365,225|
|Hospitalist||Shannon Clinic||San Angelo, TX||Jan 11, 2016||$365,225|
|Hospitalist||Memorial Hospital at Gulfport||Gulfport, MS||Feb 20, 2015||$364,000|
|Hospitalist||Hospital Medicine Associates, LLC||Alexandria, LA||Jan 10, 2016||$360,000|
|Hospitalist||Decatur Memorial Hospital||Decatur, IL||Jan 07, 2016||$354,790|
|Hospitalist||Midwest Hospital Medicine Associates, PC||McAlester, OK||Feb 01, 2015||$348,529|
|Hospitalist||Midwest Hospital Medicine Associates, PC||Ponca City, OK||May 11, 2015||$348,529|
|Hospitalist||Spectrum Health Primary Care Partners||Grand Rapids, MI||Jan 02, 2016||$231,657|
|Hospitalist||Spectrum Health Primary Care Partnerrs||Fremont, MI||Jan 02, 2016||$231,657|
|Hospitalist||Beacon Medical Group, Inc.||South Bend, IN||Jul 02, 2015||$231,000|
|Hospitalist||United Health Services Hospitals Inc.||Johnson City, NY||Jun 30, 2016||$230,006|
|Hospitalist||Physician Groups, L.C.||Farmington, MO||Jan 11, 2015||$230,006|
|Hospitalist||Centra Medical Group, LLC||Lynchburg, VA||May 01, 2016||$230,002|
|Hospitalist Physican||Sound Inpatient Physicians of Ohio, LLC||Springfield, OH||Oct 02, 2015||$207,720|
|Hospitalist||Sanford Clinic||Sioux Falls, SD||Aug 07, 2015||$207,100|
|Hospitalist||Sanford Clinic||Sioux Falls, SD||Jul 08, 2015||$207,100|
|Hospitalist||Redington-Fairview General Hospital||Skowhegan, ME||Aug 21, 2016||$207,001|
|Hospitalist (Internal Medicine)||Redington-Fairview General Hospital||Skowhegan, ME||Aug 31, 2015||$207,000|
|Hospitalist||Redington-Fairview General Hospital||Skowhegan, ME||Jan 18, 2016||$207,000|
|Hospitalist||Redington-Fairview General Hospital||Skowhegan, ME||Sep 24, 2015||$207,000|
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