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Medicine Career Information

Medicine Career Information

Since the American population continues to grow in size and age, the demand for health care services is expected to surge in the coming decades. Because of the expected demand, additional physicians and surgeons will be needed to perform more procedures and general practitioners will need to see more patients than ever. Meanwhile, pediatricians and gynecologists will be needed to care for pregnant woman, babies, and small children. Because of the expected demand for health care in the coming decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment for all health diagnosing and treatment practitioners will increase 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, or almost twice as fast as the average for all occupations combined. The top careers in medicine are as follows:

  • Family and General Practitioners
  • OBGYN - Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Pediatricians
  • Physicians and Surgeons

Although all careers in this field have their own nuances and requirements, the basic mission of all medical professionals is the same. All healthcare practitioners use their technical skills and vast knowledge of the human body to suggest and provide treatments that will improve patient's overall health in the short-term and long-term. Some common tasks performed by medical professionals are as follows:

  • Meet with patients to discuss medical conditions and symptoms.
  • Suggest tests and procedures in order to diagnose injuries and illnesses.
  • Review test findings and suggest treatment options, as needed.
  • Take patients' medical history and update, as needed.
  • Keep accurate records of all interactions with clients and patients.
  • Prescribe medicines and treatments designed to cure or improve certain illnesses or conditions.

Top Careers in Medicine (BLS, 2013)

Career Number of Workers Nationally in 2013 Job Description Degree Requirements
Family and General Practitioners 120,860 Family and general practitioners treat patients for illnesses and injuries that occur on a regular and daily basis. They typically have long-term patients that they see and monitor through each stage of their lives. According to the BLS, all physicians, doctors, and surgeons complete at least four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school, usually followed by 3 to 8 years in internship and/or residency.
Obstetricians and Gynecologists 21,730 Obstetricians and gynecologists provide ongoing care for pregnant mothers until they give birth. They also diagnose and treat health issues that involve the female reproductive system and provide care to women experiencing problems with fertility, menopause, and cancer of the cervix or ovaries. According to the BLS, all physicians, doctors, and surgeons complete at least four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school, usually followed by 3 to 8 years in internship and/or residency.
Pediatricians 30,890 Pediatricians are general practitioners who choose to focus their practice on toddlers and children. They treat everyday illnesses and injuries, and monitor children's progress as they mature. According to the BLS, all physicians, doctors, and surgeons complete at least four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school, usually followed by 3 to 8 years in internship and/or residency.
Physicians and Surgeons 623,380 Physicians and surgeons usually work in one of many specialty fields within the field of medicine. They meet with patients, prescribe medicines, and suggest treatment plans, including surgery. Surgeons perform various surgeries on the human body, including both simple treatments and complex, extensive procedures. According to the BLS, all physicians, doctors, and surgeons complete at least four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school, usually followed by 3 to 8 years in internship and/or residency.

Medicine Career Education

According to the BLS, all careers in medicine require extensive postsecondary education that could last anywhere from 11 to 16 years. The following table uses BLS data to outline degree options in this field:

Degree Type Timeline for Completion Possible Careers
Doctoral Degree, M.D. or Ph.D. All physicians, doctors, and surgeons must complete at least four years of undergraduate school and four years of medical school, usually followed by 3 to 8 years in internship and/or residency. General Practitioners, Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Pediatricians, Physicians and Surgeons

Sources:

"Bureau of Labor Statistics," May 2013 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm

"Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Physicians and Surgeons, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm

Schools for Medicines are listed in the column to the left.

Careers and Salary Data

This table shows summary data on occupations in the US. Clicking on any occupation name brings you to a page showing job prospects and salaries for that occupation in hundreds of metro areas across the country, with data updated through 2022.(Where data is denoted by an asterisk (*), summary info was not available.

Click each Occupation title for more details.


Medicine

Occupation Jobs
(2016)
Median Pay
(2016)
% Growth
2014-2024
General Practitioners 122,970     $190,490     10.2%
OBGYN - Obstetrics and Gynaecology 19,800     N/A     17.6%
Pediatricians 26,960     $168,990     10.3%
Physicians and Surgeons 338,620     $206,920     14.9%
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