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Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and Surgeons
Quick Facts : Physicians and Surgeons*
2010 Median Pay$166,400
Entry Level EducationDoctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in Related OccupationNone
Number of Jobs, 2012691,000
Job Outlook24% (Faster than average)
Employment Change168,300

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries and illnesses in patients. They examine patients, take medical histories, prescribe medications, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. Many work in private offices or clinics, often helped by a small staff of nurses and other administrative workers.

What Physicians and Surgeons Do

  • Update charts and patient information to show current findings
  • Order tests for nurses or other healthcare staff to do
  • Review test results to identify any abnormal findings
  • Recommend and design a plan of treatment
  • Answer concerns or questions that patients have about their health and well-being

Work Environment

Many physicians work in private offices or clinics, often helped by a small staff of nurses and other administrative workers. Surgeons and anesthesiologists usually work in sterile environments while performing surgery and may stand for long periods.
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Job Outlook

Employment of physicians and surgeons is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2010 to 2020 because of the continued expansion of healthcare-related industries. Wages of physicians and surgeons are among the highest of all occupations.
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In 2010, physicians practicing primary care received total median annual compensation of $202,392, and physicians practicing in medical specialties received total median annual compensation of $356,885.
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Physicians and Surgeons*
Average Annual Salary, May 2010

Physicians and Surgeons


Healthcare Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.

Physicians and Surgeons*
Percent Change in Employment

Physicians and Surgeons


Healthcare Occupations


All Jobs in the U.S.


Becoming a Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons have demanding education and training requirements. Almost all physicians complete at least 4 years of undergraduate school, 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years in internship and residency programs, depending on their specialty.
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