Average Physician Salary in 2017 – Hourly Wages, Income, & Benefits

Physicians are some of the most essential workers in society. A Physician, referred to as a “doctor” colloquially, diagnose and treat illness and injury. This may seem like a simple job, yet it actually requires years of experience and knowledge. No two patients are alike. An incorrect diagnosis could possibly mean life or death for the patient.

Physicians often specialize on a specific category of illness, or exclusively deal with a certain demographic (i.e. children or the elderly). Specialized doctors typically own their own practice. A physician who does not have a specialty is known as a general practitioner.

In a typical day, a physician may diagnose illnesses, offer advice, and create treatment plans. They can also prescribe medication, study an illness or a patient, and do research. There are many specializations within the field, including:

  • Allergists
  • Cardiologists
  • Dermatologists
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Ophthalmologists
  • Pathologists
  • Radiologists

The profession of a physician is widely held in very high regard. When one considers the amount of time, effort, and money goes into becoming one, as well as the universal need for physicians, this reputation is well-earned. The average salary for physicians is one of the highest out of all careers in the world. However, this should not be the sole reason one becomes a physician. Genuine passion is required to be able to uphold the massive workload.

How much do physicians make?

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A physician’s salary skyrockets above most other careers. The average physician makes $187,200 annually. The highest paid physicians typically own their own practice.

Physicians who specialize in niche areas may also make more than the average doctor. These include:

  • Anesthesiologists: $443,859
  • General Surgeons: $395,456
  • Obstetrics/gynecology: $317,496
  • Psychiatry: $245,673
  • Internal Medicine: $238,227
  • Pediatrics: $226,408
  • Family Medicine: $221,419

Other variables that influence pay include a doctor’s education level, experience, and professional reputation. Some doctors may be particularly gifted in their craft. Their personalities may also help them offer more personalized service – something that can be difficult to find in a career wherein one deals with so many people.

How to become a physician

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Prospective physicians must understand the job they are undertaking. Although it certainly promises great rewards, all doctors must be prepared for the sacrifice. Their job will be their life – starting out with intensive study, followed by years of hard work and sleepless nights.

Since a physician’s expertise can literally mean life or death in certain situations, they are required to undergo rigorous education. Nearly all physicians are required to complete 4 years of undergraduate school followed by 4 years of medical school. Depending on their specialization, they may then complete 3 to 7 years of residency programs and internships. Additionally, the constantly advancing state of medicine and medical technology means that a physician’s education never officially ends. Furthermore, medical students may volunteer for the experience.

A medical school applicant must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Regardless of major, all student must take courses in math, chemistry, biology, physics, and English. The first two years of medical school are typically spent studying, in the lab, and practicing on patients. The final two years put an emphasis on real-world experience. They typically consist of internships, specialized courses.

Medical schools are notoriously competitive. Along with having at least a bachelor’s degree, students must submit their transcripts, MCAT (Medical College Admission Test), and multiple letters of recommendation. Medical School staff members will also interview students individually, to assess them for traits such as:

  • Empathy and compassion: A physician often deals with patients in dire situations. They must know how to understand their situations and offer emotional support. Some physicians may suffering on a daily basis, which they must learn proper coping skills to process healthily.
  • Patience: Physicians must be prepared to deal with patients who require intensive care or are difficult to work with.
  • Leadership: A physician usually oversees many other medical professionals. They also work with other physicians. If the situation calls for it, they should know how to make the right decision and lead the way.
  • Organization: Hospitals deal with thousands of patients regularly, meaning mix-ups can be disastrous.
  • An eye for detail: Every patient is different, and require a special treatment plan adapted for them.