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Ph.D. Doctorate

What is a Doctor?

Also known as: Doctor Of Medicine, Physician.

A doctor is someone who maintains or restores human health through the practice of medicine. He or she will diagnose and treat human disease, ailments, injuries, pain or other conditions. A doctor can be found in several settings, including public health organizations, teaching facilities, private practices, group practices and hospitals.

There is a specific type of doctor for almost every major system located in the human body. Listed below are just a few examples:

How to Become a Doctor

Think you might be interested in becoming a Doctor? Here are your next steps.

  1. Take the Sokanu Career Test

    Would you make a good doctor? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

    Take the free career test
  2. Get the Education

    • Dawn Career Institute Inc | Wilmington, DE
      Offers: Certificate
    • Delaware Technical Community College-Terry | Dover, DE
      Offers: Certificate, Associates
    • Delaware Technical Community College-Stanton/Wilmington | Wilmington, DE
      Offers: Certificate, Associates
    • Delaware State University | Dover, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
    • University of Delaware | Newark, DE
      Offers: Bachelors
  3. Get Hired
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What does a Doctor do?

A doctor's schedule will differ depending on the kind of medicine they practice. Some doctors work in an office, others in the hospital, and some in places you may not think of, like laboratories where they develop new medicines and research cures.

A doctor typically works very long hours and has to be available for emergencies. These hours are 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.

The following are various types of doctors. Click on each type to learn what they do.

Anesthesiologist - Anesthesia Specialist

Cardiologist - Heart Specialist

Cardiothoracic Surgeon - Thorax Surgeon (Heart, Lungs, Esophagus, And Other Organs In The Chest)

Chiropractor - Musculoskeletal And Nervous System Specialist

Colorectal Surgeon - Colon Rectum Anus And Gastric Tract Specialist

Coroner (Medical Examiner) - Cause Of Death Investigation Specialist

Dentist - Dental Specialist

Dermatologist - Skin Specialist

Endocrinologist - Hormone Specialist

Family Practitioner - General Family Physician

Gastroenterologist - Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract Specialist

Gynecologist - Childbirth & Gynecological Specialist

Hospitalist - Medical Care of Hospitalized Patients

Immunologist - Allergy Specialist

Internist - Internal Medicine Specialist

Naturopathic Physician - Naturopathic Medicine Specialist

Neurologist - Brain Specialist

Neurosurgeon - Brain Surgeon

Occupational Physician - Workplace Health & Safety

Oncologist - Cancer Specialist

Ophthalmologist - Eye Specialist

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon - Dental/Medical Specialist

Orthopaedic Surgeon - Musculoskeletal System Specialist

Orthodontist - Jaws And Teeth Alignment Specialist

Otolaryngologist - Ear, Nose, Throat, and Related Structures of the Head and Neck Specialist

Pathologist - Performs Autopsies And Are Living Organism Abnormality Specialists. Forensic Pathologists Help Police & FBI Solve Crimes

Pediatrician - Treats Medical Problems Of Infants, Children And Adolescents

Periodontist - Dental Specialist in Periodontal Disease

Plastic Surgeon - Reconstructive, Aesthetic or Cosmetic Surgeon

Podiatrist - Foot & Ankle Specialist

Prosthodontist - Dental Specialist

Psychiatrist - Mental Illness & Behavioural Disorder Specialist

Pulmonologist - Lung And Respiratory Specialist

Radiologist - X-Ray & Imaging Technology Specialist

Sports Medicine Physician - Sports Injury Specialist

Surgeon - Performs Operations

Urologist - Urinary System Specialist

Veterinarian - Animal Specialist

Zoo Endocrinologist - Animal Hormone Specialist

Find your perfect career

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How to Become a Doctor

This profession not only requires extensive knowledge of academic disciplines and existing diseases and their cures but requires communication skills that will enable the doctor to establish good relationships with their patients. Many years of training are required, 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. This degree typically takes four years to complete, and all prerequisites for medical school must be met. After completing the first four years, the aspiring doctor must pass the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), a standardized exam that takes several hours to complete.

Students will typically then spend four years in medical school. The first two years are spent doing classroom and laboratory work. The last two years are spent doing 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 a residency program is the next step. This is when students obtain on-the-job paid training, usually 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, the student will need to complete a fellowship or internship after their residency. This can take from one to three years.

Regardless of the specialty, a doctor must receive licensure before practicing medicine. Licensure is obtained from the jurisdiction or state, and this is done by passing the state's medical licensing exam. In Canada, one must register with the college of physicians and surgeons in the province of residence.

Becoming a doctor is not easy. Getting through all the years of rigorous study requires not only patience and dedication but a desire to help people. 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 while 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.

Are Pharmacists doctors?

A pharmacist has a doctorate degree - a PharmD, or Doctor of Pharmacy. Many professions require a doctorate degree (for example, a professor, a phsychologist, etc). However, they are not "doctors" like your medical doctors are. For example, while in a crowded airplane flight, someone yells out "is there a doctor in the house?" would or should a PharmD stand up and approach in the affirmative? Probably not. Clearly here they are referring to a physician that has completed medical school and can take charge in a medical emergency.

Also relevant for Pharmacist



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Further Reading

  • A Day In The Life Of A Surgery Resident baystatehealth.org

    4:45 am My alarm has just gone off which means I’ve got 30 minutes to take a shower, get ready because I’m on the Vascular Surgery service. I do all of that and grab my bag with some reading material for later and head up to the hospital...

  • A Day In The Life Of A Family Medicine Doctor forums.studentdoctor.net

    As a family doctor, we're trained to see people of all ages, from pregnant women, to newborns, to adults, to the very elderly. We're also trained to work in either a hospital or in an outpatient office, although many (not all) will choose one or the other. Some will also work in urgent care centres or nursing homes.

  • A Day In The Life Of A Primary Care Doctor www.washingtonmonthly.com

    A harried pediatrician tells her story. Tick tock: Candice Chen, like many primary care physicians, tries to give her patients the time they need while staying ahead of the clock.

  • A Day In The Life Of A Doctor Without Borders www.huffingtonpost.ca

    Wednesday May 15 started early. I got up at 6 a.m. and took a cold refreshing shower. My mind was spinning with the day ahead so I had not slept well. The night before was a late one in the MSF base office as Luigi, our Italian project coordinator and I, were analyzing data regarding our surge in malnutrition here in eastern Chad. We sat in his hot, bug-filled office with laptops strewn across his desk...

  • What Are The Qualifications To Become A Doctor? www.wisegeek.com

    It is important to research specific requirements in the country where the person will work or train as a doctor.

  • The Difference Between A Physician & A Surgeon work.chron.com

    Those who perform little or no surgery are simply referred to as physicians. All surgeons are physicians, but not all physicians are surgeons.

  • Types Of Doctors And Their Salaries www.buzzle.com

    As we have paced towards growth and development in every sector, the medical field has evolved to become one of the most dynamic and diversified sectors. Today, health care is an established industry with numerous medical jobs and specializations.

  • Reality Check: Being A Doctor Doesn't Guarantee 'Big Bucks' Anymore www.theguardian.com

    I am writing this letter because I feel that our leaders and lawmakers do not have an accurate picture of what it actually entails to become a physician today; specifically, the financial, intellectual, social, mental, and physical demands of the profession.

  • Physician Career Profile healthcareers.about.com

    A physician, or medical doctor, leads the medical team in caring for patients as the primary healthcare provider. A doctor diagnoses and treats diseases and conditions, as well as provides treatment in many forms including medication, procedures, surgery, or therapy.

  • What Is It Really Like To Be A Physician? www.experience.com

    Everyone has come in contact with a physician, but many misunderstandings about the profession remain. Here's the real deal.

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