Medical Doctor Video: Educational Requirements for a Career in Practicing Medicine

Medical Doctor Video: Educational Requirements for a Career in Practicing Medicine Transcript

The healthcare industry is one of the largest in the nation, which makes medical careers attractive options for students. Hospitals and clinics throughout the U.S. employ hundreds of thousands of physicians and surgeons. These health professionals are in high demand and enjoy rewarding work. Degree programs for those who would like to practice medicine are available at colleges and universities in every region of the country.


Doctors monitor the health of patients in hospitals and clinics throughout the United States. A large part of their work involves making accurate diagnoses and determining the best course of treatment for ailments. Depending on a given condition, doctors may prescribe medication, suggest lifestyle changes or recommend other specialized therapies. General practitioners (or family doctors) are usually the first medical professionals people see at health facilities. These doctors are able to treat commonly observed conditions. For ailments less familiar to them, general practitioners may refer patients to other doctors who are specialists in a given area of medicine. A cardiologist, for example, may take on patients who are experiencing heart problems. Pediatricians may be brought in when specialized care for children is required. In severe health situations, surgeons may be consulted in treating disease or injury.

Typical Coursework

Students who wish to become doctors must earn a bachelor's degree before moving on to medical school. Courses in biology, physics, mathematics and chemistry can be expected at the undergraduate level. Medical school consists of four years of intensive study in the human body and its systems. Courses in the classroom are supplemented with hands-on training in medical facilities. After medical school, students must complete hospital residencies of at least a few years before they may practice. All told, physicians undergo at least eleven years of schooling. This period can be further prolonged (in some cases, up to five years) for those wishing to become specialists in a given area of medicine.

Job Prospects

Physicians, surgeons and other medical professionals are in high demand. An aging population requiring more intensive healthcare contributes to this need. Additionally, whole new areas of medicine and medical technology are emerging in the 21st century. There is growing demand for professionals with very specialized areas of knowledge. Most doctors, physicians and specialists work in hospitals and clinics, though some may perform outpatient services in satellite offices. This is especially true in rural areas where access to healthcare can be limited. While compensation varies significantly based upon a physician's region and expertise, it can be said that the pay ceiling for doctors is higher than that of virtually all other professions.


Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the nation, making physician and surgeon careers attractive options for students. Many are drawn to these medical professions by the respect they command and the significant compensation they offer. Beyond notions of status, however, it's important that doctors genuinely care about the health of patients in their care. Doctors often find themselves working very long hours at all times of day. Most, however, find this sacrifice worthwhile given the rewarding careers they enjoy.


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