What Degree Does a Physician Need?

Home » Blog » Tips » What Degree Does a Physician Need?

What Degree Does a Physician Need?

A physician is a medical professional who examines patients’ symptoms, diagnoses illnesses, and prescribes medications and other treatments. Physicians can find work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, private clinics, surgical centers, and the military. To become a physician or medical doctor, you must first obtain a high-level formal education, then complete practical clinical training, obtain state licensure to practice, and develop a set of essential skills for this patient-facing profession.

In this article, we will look at what a physician does, how much a physician can expect to earn, how to become a physician, and other frequently asked questions about this role.

What Exactly Does a Physician Do?

A physician is a licensed healthcare professional who works with patients to diagnose and treat medical illnesses, injuries, and conditions. Physicians must place their patients’ health at the center of their work ethic and strive to provide excellent care. A physician’s job entails a variety of responsibilities, including the following:

  • Conducting thorough physical examinations to evaluate patients.
  • Patient histories are recorded on paper or electronic patient records.
  • Ordering blood, urine, and tissue sample tests, as well as imaging and radiography and other diagnostic tests as needed.
  • Using test results to make diagnoses.
  • Collaboration with a team of healthcare providers to develop an appropriate treatment and therapy plan.
  • Medications and medical aid devices are prescribed.
  • Addressing patient concerns, counseling patients about illnesses and conditions, and directing them to additional therapy if necessary.
  • Minor surgeries, bone setting, and wound stitching are all examples of procedures performed.
  • Participating in conferences, meetings, and continuing education opportunities.
  • Participating in research and clinical trials.

Now, we’ll learn

How to Become a Physician?

To become a physician, you must first complete years of medical education and training, then specialize in a medical discipline, obtain board certification and licensure, and then continue your education and training. Let’s go through step by step.

Graduate from College With an Undergraduate Degree in a Relevant Field

The first step is to earn an undergraduate degree in a relevant field, such as a pre-medical track that includes biology, chemistry, and physics coursework. Other majors that are not on a pre-med track are accepted on medical school applications if they have completed the required science prerequisites, which include anatomy and physiology, statistics, advanced mathematics, chemistry, and lab coursework.

Take the Medical College Admission Test And Pass It

Before you can apply to medical schools, you must first register for and pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) administers the exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions designed to assess your skill sets. This enables prospective medical schools to assess and predict your likelihood of completing your doctoral degree. The AAMC offers a variety of study materials to help students prepare for the exam and achieve the highest possible score.

Application to Medical Schools

Because admission to medical school is extremely competitive, you should strive for a minimum grade point average of 3.5 during your undergraduate studies. You should also gain relevant medical experience to supplement your application. Opportunities for research work, volunteering, internships, and shadowing may be advantageous. This experience can help you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate that you are a serious and committed student. These extracurricular activities and their impact on your skills, knowledge, and dedication can be discussed in your letter of recommendation, which you submit with your medical school applications.

Obtain a Medical Degree

To become a doctor, you must first obtain a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree. Both types of physicians use a similar methodology for treatments such as drugs and surgery, but those with a D.O. focus on holistic or whole-person patient care, the musculoskeletal system, and the importance of preventive medicine.

Both types of medical degrees are four-year full-time programs. Biology, anatomy and physiology, chemistry, laboratory work, medical ethics and law, and the practice of medicine are all covered in the first two years. The following two years consist of clinical rotations, which are supervised clinical practice hours in a variety of specialties where you will be responsible for patient care. As you progress through your clinical rotations, you will be able to specialize in a field that most interests you, such as pediatrics, neurology, obstetrics, or critical care.

Take the Licensing Examination

Before beginning clinical rotations, you must pass the first part of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) in your second year. This exam assesses your knowledge to ensure that you are ready to begin clinical rotations. Before you can begin practicing medicine without supervision, you must first pass part two of the USMLE. This portion of the exam is usually administered near the end of your medical degree program.

Participate in a Residency Program

After graduating from medical school, you will need to enter a residency program in the specialty of your choice to become a physician. Residencies are assigned through the American Association of Medical Colleges’ Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).

Although residencies can take place in any medical setting, the majority of them take place in hospitals. The length of the programs varies depending on the specialty, but expect to spend three to eight years in this area of your training. You will receive additional training in advanced diagnostic techniques, treating difficult and rare conditions, and techniques and skills specific to your specialty.

Obtain Your State’s License to Practice Medicine

To legally practice medicine, you must first complete medical school, then a residency program, and then obtain a medical license in the state where you want to work. If you are a Medical Doctor, you must pass the final part of the USMLE or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination (COMLEX-USA) for Doctors of Osteopathy. The rules and regulations differ from state to state, so contact your state’s medical board to determine the requirements in your state. All require license renewal and continuing education hours on a regular basis.

Acquire More Certifications

Certifications are not required for physicians, but they can help you increase the number of job opportunities available to you. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) both offer certification to physicians who commit to a seven-year extended residency and pass an examination. Certifications show that you are a physician who is dedicated to providing high-quality patient care and is an expert in your medical specialty.

Make a Resume And a Cover Letter

After you have completed the preceding steps, you are ready to write your resume and cover letter and begin applying for jobs as a physician. Consider each job application separately, and carefully tailor your resume to meet the needs of the employer. This step can increase your chances of being chosen for an interview. Include your clinical experience, exam results in which you excelled, any awards or grants you have received, and measurable achievements. Your goal is to demonstrate the skills and abilities that make you a standout candidate.

What Is the Average Salary for Physicians?

Physicians’ salaries are typically determined by their working hours, level of experience and certification, medical specialization, type of employment, and geographical location.

The average annual salary in the United States is $200,867. Annual salaries range from $47,000 to $460,000.

What Is the Average Time It Takes to Become a Doctor?

Doctors must complete a four-year undergraduate program, four years of medical school, and three to seven years of residency training to learn the specialty they wish to pursue. In other words, becoming a fully licensed doctor can take anywhere from 10 to 14 years. After completing your medical education, including your residency program, you must take an exam for the state in which you intend to practice medicine.

What Soft Skills Does a Doctor Require?

You will be working directly with patients and other medical personnel, so you must have certain soft skills and qualities to succeed in the role, including:

Compassion and Empathy: Your patients are ill or injured, and they may be distressed and in pain. You must be compassionate toward them and understand how they may be feeling. You must instill trust in them so that they are at ease with the treatment they will receive.

Active Listening: You must carefully listen to everything the patient and their family say, as any and all details may be required for you to form a correct diagnosis and begin treatment. You’ll need to ask pertinent questions and remember the answers. Active listening can also be used when collaborating with other medical professionals to provide comprehensive and safe healthcare to patients.

Analysis and Problem-Solving Skills: In a critical care situation, you will need to use problem-solving skills to evaluate symptoms and administer the appropriate treatment, even if you are under extreme pressure. You must keep up with the most recent medical research and tried-and-true therapies so that you can use them when necessary.

Detail-Orientedness: You are in charge of monitoring patient treatments and vital signs, as well as adjusting medication as needed. You must ensure that medications are prescribed in the correct quantities and that even minor changes in symptoms and vital signs are noted and appropriately responded to.

Communication: You will need to communicate with other members of the healthcare team as well as your patients. You must be an excellent communicator in order for your needs to be met and the patients to receive the best possible care.

What Are Some Other Options for a Career?

Because the healthcare industry is large and diverse, there are numerous career options besides physician assistants. Consider the following alternative career paths:


The national average salary for a pharmacist is $52.48 per hour.

Primary Duties: As medication and prescription experts, these professionals must understand how medications are used, what they can treat, how they work, and how they interact with other drugs and foods. They can also give advice on minor health issues, recommend over-the-counter remedies, or refer you to a doctor.

Nurse Practitioner

Annual Salary in the United States: $108,569. Primary Duties: A nurse practitioner is a highly qualified and specialized nursing professional who is qualified to perform patient care duties similar to those of a physician, such as patient examinations, illness, disease, and injury diagnosis, and medication and treatment administration.

Director of Medicine

The average annual salary in the United States is $217,641. Primary Responsibilities: Medical directors supervise a number of teams that work in hospitals and clinics, coordinating their efforts and ensuring that patient care is excellent while keeping costs within budget.

What Professional Organizations Exist for Doctors?

Physicians can choose from a variety of medical associations to join. Membership can help advance your career by keeping you up to date on medical news and providing opportunities for networking and continuing education. You should be able to find an organization that focuses on this area of medicine, depending on your specialty. Among these professional organizations are:

  • The American Academy of Family Physicians is a professional organization that represents the interests of family physicians
  • The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)
  • American College of Physicians
  • Council of Medical Specialty Societies
  • The American Society of Internists

What Is the Working Environment Like for Doctors?

Physicians can work in a variety of healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, specialist care units, public or private clinics, military bases, community health clinics, or urgent care centers. There is even the possibility of working remotely with online health providers or in education. The position is typically full-time and may necessitate working a shift pattern to provide emergency care around the clock.

Tips for Advancing Your Medical Career

Here are a few pointers to help you advance your career as a doctor:

Make Specialization Your Goal

After completing the MBBS medical degree and gaining some clinical experience, you can pursue a specialization in a particular field of studies, such as surgery or pediatrics. It is not required to pursue a specialization in order to practice, but it can boost your credibility. Following MBBS, there are two options for specialization: a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Master of Surgery (MS). Doctors who pursue an MD typically become physicians, whereas doctors who pursue an MS can specialize in surgery.

Consider Becoming a Super Specialist

After you have completed your MD or MS, you have the option of pursuing a super specialization degree. The two super specialization degrees available to you are DM and M Ch. The M Ch degree is intended for surgeons, whereas the DM degree is intended for physicians. By obtaining a super specialization, you can significantly advance your career as a doctor.

Constantly Broaden Your Knowledge

Continuous learning is essential if you want to excel in the medical field. Treatments for various health conditions are being updated as medical science evolves. As a result, you must continue to expand your medical knowledge. This can be accomplished by completing various certification courses and attending the necessary workshops. While this step is not required, it can be an excellent way to improve your skills.


So, this is all about becoming a Physician. If you want to seek this as your Career then you should definitely consider this article, as this will surely help you. All the Best!

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.