Medical Doctor Education, Career and Salary Facts

Learn about the job responsibilities and duties of a medical doctor. Find out what training is necessary to enter the field and other requirements you will need to meet. Discover whether you have what it takes to become a medical doctor. Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Medical doctors are responsible for examining and diagnosing people with different conditions, in addition to prescribing and offering the proper treatment. Doctors may specialize as family and general practitioners, pediatricians, internists, surgeons and psychiatrists.

Degrees Bachelor's degree in a science related area and a medical degree - Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) from a medical school
Training Complete a residency program in area of medical specialty
Licensure Licensure is required in all states
Average Salary (2017)* $211,390 (physicians and surgeons)
Projected Job Growth (2016-2026)* 13% (physicians and surgeons)

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Qualify to Be a Doctor?

The training to become an M.D. is among the most extensive of any profession; to become a doctor, you must complete an undergraduate degree and graduate from medical school, then complete as many as eight years of internships and residencies. This practical experience is supervised by physicians in hospital and clinical settings and usually involves rotations where you diagnose and treat patients in:

  • Family practice
  • Internal medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Surgery
  • Obstetrics and gynecology

The admission requirements for medical school vary according to which school you want to enroll in. There is no one subject in which you need to major, but in general, you must complete a bachelor's degree in a science-related area. This usually includes at least one year of biology, physics and English, and two years of organic chemistry courses. All medical schools also require you to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which covers physical and biological sciences as well as verbal reasoning.

What Are Typical Responsibilities of a Medical Doctor?

There are different types of medical doctors, and their responsibilities depend on their specialty. Generally speaking, physicians and surgeons examine, diagnose, and treat patients with different injuries and illnesses. Here are examples of what may be involved on a daily basis:

  • Obtaining a patient's medical history
  • Updating charts with new medical information
  • Ordering and reviewing tests
  • Making determinations based on assessments of tests
  • Developing and recommending a plan of care
  • Educating patients

What Happens After Medical School?

Graduating from an accredited medical school is a requirement for taking an examination and becoming licensed as a medical doctor. You will often start taking a licensing examination in medical school and complete the process during your first year of residency. Contact your state's medical board for specific licensing requirements. You can enroll in a residency program to fit the medical specialty that you want to work in at a university-sponsored hospital. The length of these residency programs varies between specialties.

How Much Will I Make as a Doctor?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that in 2016 there were 713,800 physicians and surgeons working in the country. The wages for medical doctors vary widely depending on the medical specialty. In 2017, the BLS reported that the average annual wage for physicians and surgeons was $211,390, while internists made an average annual wage of $198,370. The pay for physicians and surgeons is expected to grow by 13% from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than average.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Yale University

    Campus Locations:

    • Connecticut: New Haven
  • West Virginia University

    Campus Locations:

    • West Virginia: Morgantown
  • Weill Cornell Medical College

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • Washington University in St Louis

    Campus Locations:

    • Missouri: Saint Louis
  • Upstate Medical University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Syracuse
  • University of Toledo

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Toledo
  • Yeshiva University

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: New York
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Dallas