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Become A Primary Care Physician

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Working As A Primary Care Physician

  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Unpleasant/Hazardous Environment

  • Stressful

  • Make Decisions

  • $148,083

    Average Salary

What Does A Primary Care Physician Do

A Primary Care Physician is responsible for providing regular medical care for their patients. They provide personal assistance, medical attention, and emotional support to others, such as coworkers, customers, and patients.

How To Become A Primary Care Physician

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.


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.


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).

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Primary Care Physician jobs

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Primary Care Physician Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Chinese

  • Arabic

  • Italian

  • Portuguese

  • Mandarin

  • Kurdish

  • Vietnamese

  • Nepali

  • Greek

  • German

  • Albanian

  • Cantonese

  • Gujarati

  • Burmese

  • Armenian

  • Russian

  • Tamil

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Primary Care Physician

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Primary Care Physician Education

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Real Primary Care Physician Salaries

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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Top Skills for A Primary Care Physician


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Top Primary Care Physician Skills

  1. Primary Care Services
  2. Internal Medicine
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided primary care services in an ambulatory setting.
  • Established a full internal medicine outpatient practice, focusing on geriatrics.
  • Developed disciplinary, malpractice and professional conduct evaluations, and regulatory compliance procedures.
  • Provided Primary and Preventative Medical Care in an outpatient clinic setting to adults of all ages, children, and infants.
  • Performed moonlighting duties in Urgent Care facility.

Top Primary Care Physician Employers

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