A Career as a General Physician

A Career as a General Physician
A Career as a General Physician

Are you looking to pave your way toward a career as a physician? If you’re people-oriented with an organized mind, you’re probably in the right lane. While the necessary training and education can be long and challenging, the profession is in demand. People need skilled, well-trained general physicians for diagnosis and treatment. The medical profession offers good monetary benefits, but it also requires a love for being around people, a strong stomach, and cautious hands.

The Job

To the medical world and to patients, general physicians can also be referred to as primary care physicians. Most likely, if you’ve ever been sick with a fever or a nasty cough, you’ve been to visit one. Unlike doctors who specialize in certain areas, general physicians need a broad understanding of medicine and health conditions. Basically, if you’re a general physician, you’re the one the average person visits with non-emergency symptoms.

General physicians often run tests, treat minor injuries or illnesses like the flu or infections, and give health tips and advice. They can prescribe medication to sick patients, or simply do regular check-ups to prevent problems in otherwise healthy patients. They can also recommend patients visit special care if they feel it’s a necessary measure. General physicians often have to work longer hours than other average citizens and should be able to work in a pressure-filled environment.


Receiving the necessary education to become a medical practitioner can take up to 15 years of college and residency. However, the road to becoming a general physician may only take about 11 or 12 years.

Out of high school, you first need to attend an undergraduate school, where you’ll study topics like anatomy, chemistry, physiology, and other sciences. Upon graduating your first four to five year program, your next step will be to take the Medical College Admission Test, which you will send to the medical school or your choosing with an application.

After being accepted into a medical school, this is where you’ll spend your next four years studying to become a doctor. Usually in the second half of your four years here, you’ll be able to start interacting with patients at an office with the help of another experienced doctor.

Graduating from medical school means spending the next few years in residency. This can take longer for specialists and surgeons, but generally for primary care physicians residency lasts only about three years. Residency is your best time to learn skills in diagnosis, medicine, and handling patients that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your medical career.

Salary and Benefits

General physicians tend to make less money than some other workers in the medical field, such as certain kinds of specialists. However, they can still make anywhere between $80,000 to over $200,000 a year, often depending on experience and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, places like Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Mississippi are high-paying states for physicians. Meanwhile, you’ll have an easier time finding employment in Florida or California.

Benefits as a medical practitioner can vary depending on where you are and who you work for. However, the majority of employers do offer insurance, vacation days, and sick days. If you choose to be self-employed, you may not have this kind of financial or beneficial security. On the other hand, it may have its pros, such as giving you more freedom and control in your work schedule.

Seeking out the education and employment as a physician can take years of dedication and study. However, if it’s the career you’re looking to pursue as a lifelong goal, it could lead to a stable, worthwhile way to spend your time. Your success will come from your desire to heal the sick and your ability to get the job done.