Family Medicine

Family physicians offer comprehensive medical care to infants, children, adolescents, and adults. In addition to diagnosing and treating disease, family doctors teach patients how to improve health and prevent disease.

Family physicians also refer patients to specialists, assist patients struggling with emotional and mental health disorders, and supervise nurses and medical assistants.

It's not uncommon for family physicians to meet with patients over the course of many years and develop life-long relationships.

Family doctors are needed in every region of the United States. In fact, 25 percent of all people seeking primary care meet with family doctors.

Working Conditions

Family doctors assist patients at urgent care clinics, community health centers, assisted living facilities, schools, hospitals, and private practices.

Since most family doctors setup and manage private practices, they're responsible for hiring employees, submitting bills, and overseeing other administrative tasks.

Most family doctors work above average work weeks. In fact, it's estimated that most family doctors work 50 hours or more a week. Most of their time is spent meeting with patients.

Family doctors typically earn anywhere between $125,000-161,000 a year at the beginning of their careers. Salaries are affected by clientele size, setting, and geographic region. Those with years of experience can earn $180,000 or more a year. Doctors in rural regions also receive large annual salaries.

Career Training and Education

If you're interested in family medicine, you must complete 4 years of medical school, followed by a 3 year residency. Residencies can be completed at over 400 locations nationwide. Most doctors completing their residencies meet with the same group of patients during the tenure of a residency.

During and after a residency, family physicians develop expertise in various hospital-based and outpatient medical procedures. They learn how best to diagnose and treat infants, children, adults and elderly patients. Following residencies, many family doctors specialize in public health, preventive medicine, geriatric medicine, and obstetrics.

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