What is a Doctor?

Doctors can be found in several settings, including public health organizations, teaching facilities, private practices, group practices and hospitals. Medical Doctors maintain or restore human health through the practice of medicine, which is the diagnosis and treatment for human disease, ailments, injuries, pain or other conditions.

Find your next career

Sokanu matches you to one of over 500 careers by analyzing your personality, interests, and needs in life. Take the free assessment now to see your top career recommendations!

What does a Doctor do?

Not all Doctors do the same thing everyday. Doctor's schedules differ depending on the kind of medicine they practice. Some doctors work in an office, others in the hospital, and some in places you might not think of, like laboratories where they develop new medicines and research cures.

Most doctors work very long hours and have to be available for emergencies. These hours are typically spent seeing patients in an office-based setting, running tests as well as interpreting them, prescribing medicine or treatments, doing rounds in the hospital, making notes on patient's physical conditions, advising patients on how to stay healthy and talking to them about further treatment. They keep up to date by taking classes and regularly reading books and medical journals.

A doctor that also performs surgeries will usually work two or three full days in the office and then two or three days in the hospital operating room performing surgeries.

Doctors will also invest time completing administrative duties such as updating patient records, returning phone calls or dealing with various office issues.

Types Of Doctors:

Audiologist - Ear Specialist

Allergist - Allergy Specialist

Andrologist - Male Reproductive System Specialist

Anesthesiologist - Anesthesia Specialist

Cardiologist - Heart Specialist

Dentist - Dental Specialist

Dermatologist - Skin Specialist

Endocrinologist - Hormone Specialist

Epidemiologist - Disease Specialist

Family Practician - General Physician

Gastroenterologist - Digestive System Specialist

Gynecologist - Female Reproductive Specialist

Hematologist - Blood Specialist

Hepatologist - Liver Specialist

Immunologist - Immune System Specialist

Infectious Disease Specialist

Internal Medicine Specialist

Internists - Adult Disease Specialist

Medical Geneticist - Genetic Disease Specialist

Microbiologist - Infectious Disease Specialist

Neonatologist - Premature & Critically Ill Newborn Specialist

Nephrologist - Kidney Specialist

Neurologist - Brain Specialist

Neurosurgeon - Nervous System Surgeon

Obstetrician - Childbirth & Gynecological Specialist

Oncologist - Cancer Specialist

Ophthalmologist - Eye Specialist

Orthopedic Surgeon - Skeletal (Bone) Specialist

ENT Specialist - Ear, Nose And Throat

Perinatologist - High Risk Pregnancy Specialist

Paleopathologist - Ancient Disease Specialist

Parasitologist - Parasite Specialist

Pathologist - Performs Autopsies And Are Living Organism Abnormality Specialists

Pathologist (Forensic) - Help Police & FBI Solve Crimes

Pediatrician - Treats Medical Problems Of Infants, Children And Adolescents

Physiologist - Physiology Specialist (Life Science Doctor)

Physiatrist - Medicine & Rehabilitation Specialist

Plastic Surgeon - Cosmetic & Structural Surgeon

Podiatrist - Foot & Ankle Specialist

Psychiatrist - Mental Illness & Behavioural Disorder Specialist

Pulmonologist - Lung Specialist

Radiologist - X-Ray & Imaging Technology Specialist

Rheumatologist - Allergic Condition & Autoimmune Disorder Specialist

Surgeon - Performs Operations

Urologist - Urinary System Specialist

Emergency Doctor - Treats Various Emergency Cases - On Call 24/7

Veterinarian - Animal Specialist (Various Kinds Of Doctors Within This Field)

What does it take to be a Doctor?

No doubt this profession requires deep knowledge of the academic disciplines (i.e. Anatomy, Physiology, etc.), existing diseases and their cures together with communicative skills that will enable doctors to establish good relationships with their patients.

In order to become a doctor you will have to go through many years of training, including undergraduate, graduate and hands-on study. To know exactly how long the training will take one must choose a specialty.

A pre-med student will typically obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology or Chemistry. All medical undergraduates should attend classes in Chemistry, Mathematics, Biology and Physics. This degree typically takes four years to complete.

Once the student has the prerequisites for Medical School, he/she can start applying for the tests, the most authentic being the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a gruelling standardized exam that takes several hours. This exam has several sections and the student has to clear all of them in order to become eligible to be admitted to a reputable Medical School.

Students will typically then spend four years in a Medical School. During their first two years they do classroom and laboratory work in Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Medical Laws, Ethics and Pharmacology. In their last two years of Medical School they complete clinical rotations, or clerkships, in different medical departments such as: general practice, pediatrics, internal medicine, osteopathy, psychiatry and surgery. By experiencing these areas, students get the chance to decide on their specialty. Clinical rotations are conducted in hospitals and are always monitored by professionals.

Entering residency programs is the next step to becoming a doctor. This is the time when students obtain on-the-job paid training. Usually it is given in hospitals under the supervision of senior physician educators. Students are then called 'residents'. They act as professional doctors, dealing with patients, prescribing medications and working in different hospital areas.

If a specialty is chosen (i.e. Gastroenterology, Child Psychiatry, Oncology, etc.), the student will typically have to complete a fellowship or internship after their residency. This usually lasts from one to three years.

Regardless of your specialty, you as a Doctor must receive licensure before you start practicing medicine. Licensure is obtained from your jurisdiction or state, and this is done by passing the States Medical Licensing Exam. In Canada you must register with the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the province you live in.

Becoming a Doctor is not easy. Your willpower and effort will play an important role in making you a successful Doctor. You must develop a keen interest in research and medicine. You must study extensively once you decide to study medicine. Passing through all the years of rigorous study requires not only patience and dedication, but attentiveness, carefulness, and a great sense of responsibility. Sometimes students will not make it to the end, even after passing the medical exam. In this case, a student can opt for other medical jobs, such as nursing or becoming a vocational doctor.

What is the workplace of a Doctor like?

There are many workplaces available for doctors. Some start working at an existing practice, others open their own practice. Large hospitals are always eager to take on new staff members. It is believed that a lot depends on your personal preferences as the environment in each place will be different (i.e. a government hospital vs. a private hospital).

In general the healthcare industry continues to grow, which is good news for anyone who is interested in a medical career.

How much does a Doctor earn?

The amount of money Doctors earn depends on factors such as patient volume, insurance carriers of the patient seen, place of work and the specialty of the Doctor. It has been noted that the average physician's salary in big cities such as New York, London, Sydney or Toronto is higher than of the same doctor in other cities. General hospitals usually offer the highest physician salaries. Plastic surgeons, Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Emergency Room Doctors tend to earn higher physician salaries.

Considering all of these factors, Doctors can earn an annual income of anywhere from about $120,000-$175,000 for a Family Medicine Physician, and over $500,000 annually for specialists and sub-specialists.

It is important to remember that interns and medical residents are paid less, approximately $45,000 in their first year to $63,000 in their fifth year, depending on what state or province, and of course, what country they live in.

Learn more about being a Doctor