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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 Physiatrist
Top Careers After Physiatrist
Hispanic or Latino8.2%
Black or African American0.6%
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Baylor University Medical Center5.0%
University of Massachusetts Amherst5.0%
Albert Einstein College of Medicine - Montefiore Medical Center5.0%
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine5.0%
Harlem Hospital Center5.0%
Metropolitan College of New York5.0%
Washington University in Saint Louis5.0%
Wayne State University5.0%
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College5.0%
California Institute of Technology5.0%
University of Nebraska - Lincoln5.0%
East Tennessee State University5.0%
University of Pittsburgh -5.0%
University of Louisville5.0%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Physiatrist||Greenville Hospital System||Greenville, SC||Jul 01, 2010||$430,000|
|Physiatrist||Pikeville Medical Center, Inc.||Pikeville, KY||Jan 05, 2016||$300,000|
|Physiatrist||Albert Lea Medical Center-Mayo Health System||Albert Lea, MN||Sep 16, 2009||$284,000|
|Physiatrist||United Hospital Center, Inc.||Clarksburg, WV||Mar 10, 2010||$280,000|
|Spine Physiatrist Physician||Wisconsin Michigan Physicians S.C.||Niagara, WI||Oct 15, 2009||$275,922|
|Spine Physiatrist Physician||Wisconsin Michigan Physicians S.C.||Niagara, WI||Jan 24, 2010||$275,922|
|Spine Physiatrist||Wisconsin Michigan Physicians, Sc||Niagara, WI||Jan 12, 2010||$250,000|
|Physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehab)||Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Sep 15, 2016||$235,000|
|Attending Physiatrist||The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago||Herrin, IL||Jan 27, 2016||$230,000|
|Physiatrist||Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center||Sioux Falls, SD||May 26, 2016||$230,000|
|Physiatrist||Avera McKennan||Sioux Falls, SD||Aug 01, 2014||$230,000|
|Physiatrist (Physical Medicine & Rehab)||Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Feb 18, 2016||$225,000|
|Physiatrist||Hennepin Healthcare System, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Mar 01, 2015||$225,000|
|Physiatrist||Eastern Maine Medical Center||Bangor, ME||Jul 31, 2016||$220,000|
|Physiatrist||The Aroostook Medical Center||Presque Isle, ME||Jul 01, 2015||$205,000 -
|Physiatrist||Northeast Medical Group, Inc.||New Haven, CT||Feb 12, 2015||$185,000|
|Physiatrist||Northeast Medical Group, Inc.||New Haven, CT||Jul 01, 2014||$185,000|
|Physiatrist||Northeast Medical Group, Inc.||New Haven, CT||Jul 28, 2014||$185,000|
|Physiatrist||Va Northern Indiana Health Care System||Marion, IN||Sep 03, 2011||$182,436 -
|Physiatrist||Group Health Plan, Inc.||Saint Paul, MN||Jan 08, 2010||$165,000 -
|Physiatrist||Eastern Maine Medical Center||Bangor, ME||Nov 20, 2014||$161,000|
|Physiatrist||Eastern Maine Medical Center||Bangor, ME||Sep 05, 2013||$161,000|
|Physiatrist||Eastern Maine Medical Center||Bangor, ME||Sep 05, 2010||$161,000|
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