PHYSICIANS diagnose, prevent, and treat disease and injuries. They obtain medical histories, examine patients, order lab tests, and order and interpret diagnostic tests. They prescribe medications and administer routine or emergency medical treatments. They advise and counsel patients about good health practices, such as diet, hygiene, and preventive health care. They practice general and family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics. These primary care physicians see the same patients on a regular basis for preventive care and to treat a variety of ailments. They refer patients to specialists when necessary.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $180,500 average per year ($86.75 per hour)
- A medium occupation (97,800 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (2.2% per year)
To become a PHYSICIAN takes 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3-8 years of internship and residency, depending on the specialty. The minimum requirement for entry into medical school is 3 years of college, although, most applicants have at least a bachelor's degree, and many an advanced degree. All states require physicians to be licensed. Candidates must graduate from an accredited medical school (4 years), complete 1-7 years of residency, and pass a license exam. A final exam immediately after residency, or after one to two years of practice, is required for board certification by the American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS).