Physician
Physician

Overview Preparation Resources blank graphic
Career photo
Salary: $75,189 - $199,494
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Hourly: $26.59 - $107.86
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Outlook: 3 Stars
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Length of Training: 8+ years
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Professionals in the field
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Career Explorer
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Roadmap
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Length of Training
Physicians must train for 11 or more years after high school before they are qualified to practice medicine. Individuals may apply for medical school after three years of college. Most complete at least the Bachelors’ degree and some have graduate degrees. Prospective medical students may major in any subject area, as long as they successfully complete required courses in math and science. Applicants also must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Since admission to medical school is highly competitive, interested students should have high grade-point averages and high MCAT scores. Individuals considering medicine should begin preparing in high school by taking a wide range of science, math, and liberal arts courses. In addition to focusing on academics, it is important for students to also spend time learning about a career in medicine, through job shadowing and even health-related volunteer work. Good grades and participation in school organizations and volunteer work demonstrate the ability to manage time and set priorities, traits both colleges and medical schools look for in applicants.

The first two years of medical school consist of basic medical science (anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, ethics, and law). Students learn how to interview and communicate with patients, take medical histories, perform physical exams, and recognize symptoms of illness. During the last two years of medical school, students apply their classroom knowledge to the art of patient care. They rotate through medical specialties and take electives in areas of special interest.

Salary
Salaries for physicians vary by specialty and location. The salary information included here is the average salary for primary care physicians.

Licensure/Certification

Graduates from medical school must pursue specialty training in residency programs. Residencies last from three to five years after medical school, depending on the specialty. After completing the residency program and passing the specialty board exam, the physician may enter practice as a board-certified member of that specialty.

Sub-specialties require that physicians complete two or more years of additional study, known as a fellowship after the residency program. For example, if a pediatrician wanted to become a neonatologist, specializing in the care of critically ill newborns, he or she would acquire two years of fellowship training after the pediatric residency. Completion of a fellowship prepares the physician to sit for the sub-specialty board examination.

The rapid changes in medicine demand that physicians make a lifelong commitment to learning. Continuing medical education programs, professional training seminars, and reading medical journals are mandatory for the physician to maintain skills and stay current with new developments in medicine and healthcare.

Physicians may hold one of two degrees: the doctor of medicine (MD) or the doctor of osteopathy or osteopathic medicine (DO). Both MDs and DOs use accepted and approved methods to diagnose and treat disease. MDs are trained in the tradition of allopathic medicine, which uses treatment actions proved to produce effects different from those of the disease. DOs are trained in osteopathic medicine, which emphasizes the musculoskeletal system and uses manipulative therapy when appropriate. Both MDs and DOs may practice general medicine, one of the primary care specialties, or any other of the specialties or sub-specialties. Both types of degrees are recognized and accepted by residency programs. Students in allopathic and osteopathic medicine receive the same basic educational training and must meet the same Texas State Board of Medical Examiners licensing requirements.

Educational Programs
University or College City Degree*
Baylor College of Medicine Houston D
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Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College Station D
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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center-El Paso El Paso D
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Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center-Lubbock Lubbock D
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston D
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The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio San Antonio D
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The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Galveston D
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The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas D
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University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth Fort Worth D
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*D- Doctorate  M-Masters  B-Bachelor  A-Associates  C-Certificate