Physicians, or Doctors of Medicine (MDs), are in charge of diagnosing and
treating illness, injury, and disease. They perform examinations and
tests, prescribe medicines and treatments, perform surgeries and related
procedures, and conduct life saving research. Physicians also counsel
patients on methods of preventative care such as diet and exercise. Anyone
interested in this field of health care should be compassionate and caring
as well as possess sound judgment. Physicians many choose from a number of
specialties that include: internal medicine, pediatrics,
obstetrics/gynecology, geriatrics, radiology, psychiatry, emergency
medicine, anesthesiology, cardiology, neurology, pathology, family
practice, rheumatology, ophthalmology, and surgery. Depending on their
area of specialty, physicians work with patients from various age groups
and patient populations. Another important aspect of a physician's job is
to develop and test new medical techniques and life saving procedures. A
physician must be dedicated to a lifetime of continuing education in order
to meet the changing health care needs of a diverse society.
The majority of physicians work in hospitals, private practice, group
practice, clinics, nursing homes, community health centers, urgent care
centers, research facilities, medical schools, and the military. Most
physicians work long and hectic hours, with nearly one third working 60
hours a week or more.
High School Preparation:
Students interested in a career as a physician should concentrate on high
school courses in algebra, biology, chemistry, English, literature,
geometry, physics, trigonometry, humanities, health occupations/medical
professions, psychology, emergency medical technology, and computer
Individuals interested in becoming a physician must complete a premedical
program at an accredited college or university. These programs are four
years in length and are very rigorous. Students must then pass the Medical
College Admissions Test (MCAT) and get accepted into a school of medicine.
This may require a personal interview, additional applications, or further
Once admitted into medical school, a student must graduate this four-year
program which is very difficult and expensive. Upon graduation, a student
then begins a period of post-graduate training called a residency, which
can last 3-8 years.
For educational institutions in
offering this course of study
The career outlook for physicians and surgeons is great because the
growing population will need more doctors to fulfill their health care
needs. Employment will increase 10%-20% over the next decade, with the
bulk of the growth in primary care physicians (family practitioners,
general practitioners, etc.). Specialists will also experience a rise in
employment in response to patient demand for access to specialty care.
Technology will also play an important role in the increase in employment.
As physicians are able to perform more tests and procedures, they will be
able to treat conditions that were previously regarded as untreatable.
Average Annual Salary
(*Varying with specialty)
American Medical Association
515 North State Street
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: (312) 464-5000
Association of American Medical Colleges
2450 N Street NW
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: (202) 828-0400
Mississippi State Medical Association
PO Box 2548
Ridgeland, MS 39158-2548
Phone: (601) 853-6733
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