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How to Become a Physician



A physician applies the scientific study of medicine to diagnose and treat illnesses, injuries, and other threats to people's health. They also provide health and medical advice to patients, and seek to educate their patients and community on topics involving health and the body.

If you enjoy health and the sciences, and are interested in medicine, then this may be a good career choice for you. When you become a physician you will have the opportunity to work with a wide range of people from many different walks of life. Every day will bring new challenges. There is much study involved in this occupation, therefore you will need to have aptitude for study and research. You will also need to have good interpersonal skills as you will be dealing with a wide range of people.

Education Requirements to Become a Physician



You will need to complete a lot of study in order to become a physician, however if you are interested in the human body and health, and you have enjoyed your study so far, then this is a challenge you will enjoy. It's important to get good grades in both high school and college, as this will determine whether you can get a place in medical school.

To begin with, you will need to complete a four-year bachelor's degree at college. Look for a school that offers a pre-medicine course line, with subjects like biology, chemistry, and physics.

After college, you'll need to spend an additional four years at medical school. You'll first need to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Your entry into medical school will be determined by your grade point average at college, your test scores, plus any admission interviews or essays you complete.

Your first two years of medical school are spent mainly on classroom work. In the second two years you will focus on more practical skills, and have the opportunity to work in a hospital before you become a physician.

After medical school you will spend a year as an intern working in a hospital, and a further three to eight years completing your residency, depending on the specialization that you choose.

You must also be licensed to practice in your state before you become a physician. This usually involves a state exam. The American Medical Associationt lists state specific information about exams and licensure.

Physician Job Description



A physician usually works with a patient either in a clinic, hospital, or consulting room. They will obtain a medical history, speak with the clients about their current ailments, and perform a range of tests to make a diagnosis, and develop a treatment plan.

Some of the tasks that a physician performs include:

  • Obtaining a patients history

  • Speaking with a patient about medical problems

  • Checking vital signs

  • Ordering further tests

  • Making a diagnosis

  • Preparing a treatment plan

  • Providing advice on health and nutrition


When you become a physician, you will need to be prepared to work long hours, as well as weekends and holidays. Those employed in hospitals will be required to respond to emergencies. Those working out of clinics may work more regular hours.

Physician Salary and Career Path



Once you have become a physician, you will likely start working in a hospital for the first few years of your career. Once you have gained some experience, you may like to work out of another doctor's consulting rooms, private practice, or open your own clinic.

Working as a physician, you will enjoy strong employment prospects. There are predicted shortages within the health sector, due to the aging population.

The median annual salary for a physician is $185,000 a year. The top 10% of earners make over $330,000 a year. Many of these top earners work as specialists, and own their own practices.

Many physicians move on to similar roles within the health field during their career. These include:

  • Pediatrician

  • Surgeon

  • Medical Specialist

  • Psychiatrist

  • Pathologist

  • Obstetrician

  • Anesthesiologist

  • Medical Researcher

  • Professor


If you decide to become a physician, you will be faced with a challenging road of much study and demanding and stressful situations. However, if you have a real passion for this field, enjoy study, and are willing to work hard, you can make an excellent income and enjoy strong job prospects. Many physicians find their career very rewarding.
 
 
 
 
 
 

*Salary Information provided by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics
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