Family physicians are medical doctors that are often the first to be contacted by patients in need health care. Many have longstanding relationships with patients and are familiar with patients’ medical histories. They perform check-ups and advise patients on diet hygiene and preventive care. They can prescribe medicine and treat a wide variety of ailments such as the flu and some injuries. However they are trained to recognize when to refer patients with more serious illnesses and conditions need to see specialists. With regard to training family physicians complete a four-year bachelor’s degree four years at an accredited school of medicine or osteopathy followed by an internship and in some cases a residency. They are exposed to several areas of medicine including pediatrics geriatrics internal medicine and gynecology but to become certified in one of these subspecialties they must complete an extra year of training. At the end of their training program they must pass a national exam and apply for licensure in the state where they will practice. Family physicians can be either Doctors of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). Both prescribe medicine and perform minor surgery but D.O.’s emphasize preventive medicine the musculoskeletal system and holistic care. Family physicians with busy practices may work more than 60 hours a week including evenings and weekends when necessary. Income depends on location and size of practice but the median annual salary is approximately $173000. Job opportunities are especially good in rural areas and urban low-income neighborhoods.
|Education Required:||Doctoral Degree|
|Tasks:||Conducts general health exams.
Diagnoses common illnesses.
Meets with patients to provide general evaluations.
Writes prescriptions for common health issues.
|Also Called:||Family Practice Doctor
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine