Emergency Room Physician: Education and Training Program Information

Emergency room physicians must complete a substantial amount of undergraduate and graduate education relating to science and medicine, including earning a M.D. degree. Medical programs include both theoretical training, labs and clinical rotations.

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Essential Information

A Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree program involves the intensive study of numerous subjects, including pharmacology, immunology and embryology. Most students complete medical school in roughly four years, though certain programs allow for a measure of flexibility. A residency program includes clinical experiences in an emergency room, and participants familiarize themselves with real-world techniques and practices in the ER. This program can be completed in three to four years. Prior to enrollment in a M.D. program students need to earn a bachelor's degree with a curriculum that includes specific math and science coursework. Students also need to score well on the MCAT.


Doctor of Medicine

Schools awarding medical degrees typically require students to complete academic courses - with classes in areas like patient care, pathology and histology - as well as clinical experience and hands-on labs. Additional course topics include:

  • Surgery
  • Brain and human behavior
  • Physical diagnosis
  • Psychiatry
  • Obstetrics and gynecology

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Emergency Medicine Residency

After completing a medical degree program, potential emergency room doctors often complete a residency program in emergency medicine. These programs include numerous clinical rotations, as well as classes in areas like radiology, trauma care and orthopedics. Other areas of education include:

  • Patient care
  • Emergency room procedures
  • Resuscitation
  • Pediatric critical care
  • Emergency ultrasound

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the overall employment prospects for physicians and surgeons, including emergency room doctors, should be good in the coming years (www.bls.gov). Between 2014 and 2024, the number of available jobs for physicians and surgeons was projected to increase by 14%, BLS data reveals. The average annual income for all physicians and surgeons not listed separately by the BLS was $197,700 as of May 2015.

Students wanting to become an E.R. physician first need to earn a bachelor's degree with a curriculum that includes specific math and science coursework. Then they need to earn a M.D. and complete a three to four-year emergency medicine residency.

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