What does a family practice physician do?
Family practice physicians are trained medical doctors that provide medical care to individuals and families of all ages and sexes. They often provide care for patients throughout their lifetimes. They focus on a wide variety of conditions and diseases that are both acute and chronic. They provide preventative care such as performing routine checkups, administering vaccinations, conducting screening tests, performing health-risk assessments, and educating patients on how to maintain healthy lifestyles. Family practice physicians often create personal relationships with patients and their families. Some family practice physicians focus on a specific area such as emergency medicine, public health, research, and education.
What kind of training does a family practice physician need?
Family practice physicians must have a Doctor of Medicine or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. They complete undergraduate education, medical school, and a family medicine residency. Medical school consists of intensive classroom and laboratory instruction and clinical rotations of all major medical disciplines. Residency training includes rotations in internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, geriatrics, and psychiatry. All states require family practice physicians to be licensed. Licensing requirements include graduating from an accredited medical school, completing graduate medical education, and passing an examination. Many family practice physicians obtain board certification from the American Board of Family Medicine. Family practice physicians must stay up to date on the current advancements in the field and they complete continuing education consistently throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a family practice physician?
Employment of all physicians is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing and aging population with increased medical needs will drive job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for family practice physicians with extensive experience and specialty training. Numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace family practice physicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do family practice physicians make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% for family practice physicians earn annual salaries between $142,068 and $188,242. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $213,421 (2).
A career as a family practice physician is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care for patients of all ages. Family practice physicians must have a solid understanding of a variety of conditions and diseases. They must have excellent bedside manner and be able to work with a variety of patients. Self-motivation, determination, perseverance, and good problem solving are desirable characteristics. Family practice physicians must also have excellent communication skills and be able to work effectively as part of a team.