If you’re a natural problem-solver who loves science and makes a difference in the lives of others, a medicine career could suit the bill very well. Doctors provide preventive care, diagnosis and treatment of illness, order tests, prescribe medicines and advise patients on health and self-care. Many doctors bring home a decent salary that could comfortably sustain a family and have a stable financial future for college funds. Hours can often be long and erratic, but the industry is growing rapidly, offering plenty of opportunities for steady and reliable work.
Definition of the job:
With a wide range of specialties, doctors diagnose and manage conditions including general medicine, asthma, dermatology, ophthalmology, psychiatry, gynecology, gastroenterology, ophthalmology and more. The surgeons have surgical techniques with a wide variety of medical conditions. Doctors meet with patients to take careful medical history, order tests, discuss outcomes, recommend treatment, prescribe drugs, and answer general health issues. Many physicians often help patients select preventive medicine and lifestyle and health services. Depending on the specialty field, the hours can be long and very unpredictable.
Requirements for education:
Doctors complete several years of preparation and training and learn how to use treatment and attention to detail to support their patients. They are expected to receive a bachelor’s degree, followed by a four-year medical school diploma. They complete another three to seven years of residency after graduation, before taking the national licensing test. Most doctors complete specialized residency programs and exams in their area of expertise to become a board certified in a specialty. Multiple years of schooling and residency may be taking their financial toll, but often scholarships and grants help offset the cost.
Doctors and surgeons earn a median annual salary of $208,000, which means that half of all doctors earn more than that, and half earn less. Area of practice impacts earning, with primary care physicians earning a $251,578 median salary and specialists earning a $425,509 median salary.
About half of all doctors work in hospitals where patients are treated, often spending the whole day between their office and the hospital. Hours can be unpredictable but excellent family support and efficient childcare help make it easier for doctors with children to plan. The other half of doctors work in academic institutions , hospitals, and government settings outside of the clinic. Group medical practices provide more flexibility and regular off-days than solo practice, because patient care is shared by many physicians.
Like in other occupations, the pay steadily increases in years of field experience. Although general practitioners may expect to receive a little less than surgeons, they are still well paid. General practitioners can expect salaries like this:
- Entry-Level: $49,730–$199,931
- Mid-Career: $58,669–$208,688
- Experienced: $77,345–$248,214
- Late-Career: $80,595–$256,190
Surgeons can look forward to these salaries throughout their career:
- Entry-Level: $102,043–$354,743
- Mid-Career: $102,495–$397,643
- Experienced: $146,092–$395,856
- Late-Career: $149,499–$406,683
Trend in job growth:
With the aging of the baby boomer population, doctors are in greater demand than ever before. Jobs are abundant, and most medical students are easily matched upon graduation with residencies. In particular, the rural and low-income areas need medical professionals, including physicians. Anesthesiology and general practitioners are particularly in demand but they are experiencing rapid growth in all specialties. Job protection and ample resources offer peace of mind as you want to raise children while you are working. Although the hours can be challenging, the profession’s financial security and benefits create a stable financial environment to raise and prepare the little ones for the future.
- PayScale.com: General Surgeon Salaries
- Learn.org: Medical Doctor Education, Career and Salary Facts
- PayScale.com: Physician / Doctor, General Practice Salary
- Job Descriptions: Physician and Surgeon Job Description
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Physicians and Surgeons
- Salary.com: Physician: Generalist Salaries