(8.2 out of 10)
|Number of Jobs:||168,300|
|This Job is Ranked in|
|Best Healthcare Jobs||#4|
|The 100 Best Jobs||#5|
As Who, Seuss, and Dre have found, attaching the honorific “doctor” to your name leverages respect. And we reserve special regard for physicians, who have undergone the extensive years of study and training to officially add that title to their moniker and practice medicine. There are two types: Medical Doctors (M.D.s) and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s), both of which diagnose and treat patients for a wide range of medical issues, although a D.O. might also specialize in preventative medicine and holistic patient care.
There are even more designations among physicians, according to speciality. For example, general and family physicians concentrate on general medical conditions. Internists treat and diagnose problems with internal organs. A pediatrician cares for children from infancy to teenage years. Obstetricians and gynecologists provide care related to the female reproductive system, and also treat pregnant women and deliver babies. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who treat and diagnose mental illnesses. A dermatologist treats the skin and scalp. Surgeons operate on patients to help treat a variety of medical issues, and the list of types of physicians goes on. One thing is for certain: All types are needed in abundance as baby boomers age, and as the generations behind them become more interested in preventative care. Employment for physicians and surgeons is expected to jump by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020, which translates to a cosmic 168,300 job openings.
A physician’s average salary varies. In 2011, a general internist made an average salary of $183,170, the Labor Department reports. Those with subspecialties, such as gastroenterologists, cardiologists, and urologists, had average salaries that eclipsed $187,999 in 2011. Areas of the country that pay physicians particularly well include Lowell, Mass., Texarkana, Texas, and Springfield, Mont. The lowest-paid in the profession make around $67,780.
Becoming a physician requires years of study. All doctors have to complete at least four years at an undergraduate program, followed by four years of medical school. Different specialties require different time periods to complete an internship and residency program. Dr. Charles Cutler, M.D., a practicing internist and the chair-elect of the Board of Regents for the American College of Physicians spent one year working as an intern, followed by two years of residency. He recalls the long hours. “Back in those days when I worked in the hospital, I remember driving into work on Sunday morning when the rest of the world was asleep, and knowing that I was going to be at work all day Sunday, and all night, and then part of the day Monday,” he says. “It would be more than 30 hours before I’d leave the hospital.” Following residency, a doctor must receive the appropriate licensure to practice.
Your ability to land a spot in a quality medical school partially depends on earning exemplary grades. Still, Cutler says you could be the smartest pupil in the class and still become an abysmal doctor. To him, the doctors that truly go far are good listeners. “You have to be willing to take the time to listen to patients with a sympathetic ear,” he says. “Working in primary care, many of the symptoms and concerns that patients describe to you have an emotional overlay ... You have to hear all the patient has to say and be willing to connect with them.”
Similar to other healthcare practitioners, a good doctor should have plenty of empathy and patience. Good problem-solving skills are also valued: “That doesn’t mean you need to have the right answers and find the right diagnoses,” Cutler says. “Get help to determine the right thing to do, the right diagnoses, and treatment.”
|Upward Mobility||Above Average|
Last updated by Jada A. Graves.