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What does a Physician do?

A physician, or medical doctor, cares for the health and well-being of their patients. They diagnose, treat and prevent disease, illnesses and injuries that can be chronic and long-term or life-threatening emergencies. A physician can find employment in hospitals, clinics, health care centers, universities and research centers. The career can be highly specialized with roles such as anesthesiologists, obstetricians and gynecologists, family and general practitioners, pediatricians and surgeons.


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Working as a Physician

The role of a physician can vary significantly depending on their specialization and workplace, but typically include the following duties:

  • Assessing the patient's health by taking a medical history and performing an exam
  • Ordering diagnostic blood and other tests to be sent to the laboratory
  • Reviewing test results to determine if there are any issues
  • Planning and implementing suitable treatments
  • Discussing and addressing health concerns with patients
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How much does a Physician make in the United States?

Average base salary

Average $179,145
Low $97,735
High $328,367
Non-cash benefit
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The average salary for a physician is $179,145 per year in the United States. 7.1k salaries reported, updated at September 21, 2023

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Where can a Physician earn more?

Compare salaries for Physicians in different locations
Explore Physician openings
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How much do similar professions get paid in United States?

Primary Care Physician

Job openings

Average $200,331 per year

Family Medicine Physician

Job openings

Average $281,850 per year

Internal Medicine Physician

Job openings

Average $287,088 per year

Emergency Medicine Physician

Job openings

Average $116,633 per year

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Common questions about for a Physician

Are physicians in demand?

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of physicians is projected to grow 7% from 2018 to 2028.

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What is the difference between a physician and a doctor?

A physician is a medical doctor and may be referred to as a doctor. It is possible to be a doctor or Ph.D. in many subjects, but only a medical doctor is a physician.

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Are there different types of physicians?

Physicians can work in a variety of specializations that include:

  • Family physicians: Usually, the first doctor that someone consults with before being referred to a specialist if necessary. Diagnoses and treats diseases and injuries in the general population.
  • Internists: Treats injuries, conditions and disease of the internal organs such as heart disease or diabetes.
  • Pediatricians: Treats general conditions, injuries and childhood diseases in children, adolescents and babies.
  • Surgeons: Performs surgeries to treat disease and injuries. There are general surgeons and specialists in areas such as neurological, thoracic or vascular surgery.
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