Physicians diagnose illnesses, prescribe, and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. Physicians examine patients; obtain medical histories; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive health care.
There are two types of physicians: The Doctor of Medicine – MD and the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine – DO. MDs are also known as allopathic physicians. While both MDs and DOs may use all accepted methods of treatment, including drugs and surgery, DOs place special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care.
Most physicians travel frequently between office and hospital to care for their patients. Increasingly, physicians practice in groups or health care organizations that provide back-up coverage and allow for more time off.
Many physicians work long, irregular hours. More than one-third of all full-time physicians work 60 hours or more a week. Physicians on call deal with many patients’ concerns on the phone, and they may make emergency visits to hospitals or nursing homes.
Overall employment of physicians and surgeons is projected to grow 3 percent from 2020 to 2030, slower than the average for all occupations, according to the BLS.
Despite limited employment growth, about 22,700 openings for physicians and surgeons are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
All medical school applicants must take the MCAT, a national examination, no less than one year before applying to start medical school.
To practice as a physician, one must earn a college degree followed by a 4-year degree for a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) from an accredited school and pass an examination for state licensure. At least one year of post-medical school experience is required, but most graduates of medical and osteopathy schools complete a longer period of specialty training called a residency, which lasts from three to five years.
Licensure is required in the state of Connecticut. Prerequisite: Connecticut requires graduation from an approved medical school, two years acceptable progressive graduate residency training; USMLE, NBME, FLEX or a State Board Licensing Examination; Current ECFMG certification or completed Fifth Pathway program if foreign trained.
American Medical Association
AMA Plaza, 330 N. Wabash Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
American Osteopathic Association
142 East Ontario Street
Chicago, IL 60611
National Medical Association
8403 Colesville Road, Suite 820
Silver Spring, MD 20910