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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 Primary Care Physician
Top Careers After Primary Care Physician
Hispanic or Latino15.2%
Black or African American1.2%
Primary Care Physician
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Nova Southeastern University7.6%
State University of New York Buffalo6.7%
University of Missouri - Columbia6.7%
Florida International University6.7%
Michigan State University5.7%
New York Medical College5.7%
Tufts University School of Medicine5.7%
University of Miami5.7%
National College of Natural Medicine4.8%
University of Kentucky4.8%
University of Nebraska Medical Center4.8%
University of Phoenix4.8%
New York University3.8%
George Washington University3.8%
University of Cincinnati3.8%
Western University of Health Sciences3.8%
State University of New York Stony Brook3.8%
Central State University3.8%
Primary Care Physician
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Crticial Care Physician||Freeman Health System||Joplin, MO||Jun 01, 2016||$350,400|
|Crticial Care Physician||Freeman Health System||Joplin, MO||Feb 03, 2016||$350,390|
|Crticial Care Physician||Freeman Health System||Joplin, MO||Feb 03, 2016||$316,335|
|Neurocritical Care Physician||United Health Services Hospitals Inc.||Johnson City, NY||Jun 30, 2016||$310,000|
|Primary Care Physician (Internal Medicine/Family Medicine)||Pennyroyal Services, Inc.||Princeton, KY||Jul 06, 2015||$302,615|
|Intensive Care Physician||Excela Health Physicians Practices, Inc.||Greensburg, PA||Jan 08, 2016||$300,000|
|Primary Care Physician (Psychiatry)||Mark David Levine, Md, Psychiatrists Professional Corporation||Sacramento, CA||Jan 07, 2016||$260,000|
|Primary Care Physician (Ob/Gyn)||Good Shepherd Medical Center||Hermiston, OR||Jan 07, 2016||$246,500|
|Primary Care Physician||Alliance Medical Group, Inc.||Middlebury, CT||Jun 20, 2016||$225,000|
|Urgent Care Physician||Asante Physician Partners||Grants Pass, OR||Nov 28, 2016||$225,000|
|Palliative Care Physician||Fairview Health Services||Minneapolis, MN||Jan 10, 2016||$220,721|
|Primary Care Physician||Geisinger Clinic||Mifflintown, PA||Sep 11, 2015||$220,000 -
|Primary Care Physician||PMR Georgia Holding LLC||Decatur, GA||Feb 05, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||PMR Georgia Holding LLC||Morrow, GA||May 02, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||PMR Georgia Holding LLC||Decatur, GA||May 02, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||PMR Georgia Holding LLC||Morrow, GA||Feb 05, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||PMR Virginia Holding LLC||Norfolk, VA||Feb 05, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||PMR Virginia Holding LLC||Virginia Beach, VA||Feb 05, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||PMR Virginia Holding LLC||Richmond, VA||Feb 05, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||Asian Americans for Community Involvement||San Jose, CA||Jan 09, 2016||$195,000|
|Primary Care Physician||Cameron Regional Medical Center Inc.||Lathrop, MO||Jan 18, 2016||$184,400 -
|Primary Care Physician||Cameron Regional Medical Center Inc.||Cameron, MO||Jan 18, 2016||$184,400 -
|Primary Care Physician||Cameron Regional Medical Center Inc.||Polo, MO||Jan 18, 2016||$184,400 -
|Primary Care Physician-Outpatient||Spectrum Health Medical Group||Kentwood, MI||Jul 31, 2015||$180,003|
|Primary Care Physician||Brockton Neighborhood Health Center||Brockton, MA||Jul 02, 2015||$180,000|
|Primary Care Physician||Jacqueline Delmont Md PC||NY||Aug 22, 2016||$180,000|
|Physician, Primary Care General Medicine||District Medical Group, Inc.||Phoenix, AZ||Apr 27, 2015||$180,000|
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