Family medicine or family doctor is a medical career to provide comprehensive health care for people of all ages. To launch in this path, you need to have professional training programs. What is the right way to pursue this job? Don’t miss this post because we covered the step-by-step guide to complete your career dream!
Why Should You Become a Family Doctor?
What are Family Practice Doctors/Family Doctors? What Do They Do? They are primary care physicians for patients/clients from infants to the elderly. They treat common ailments and injuries including chronic illness, heart disease, stroke, and hypertension. They also refer to other specialists to get needed advanced treatment for those who have expressions of diabetes, cancer, and asthma.
The family physician career is considered an essential job because they provide personal care services and the nation’s most serious health problems. This career also provides better-than-average incomes. You will have consistent working hours with regular business hours, however, overtime or weekend hours might be required depending on your duties.
According to the BLS, a family doctor earned a median salary of $201,100 in 2018, so it is a potential job. Although it requires a long time to train, it offers sustainable incomes and high advanced opportunities.
6 Steps to Become a Family Doctor
Want to succeed on the way to pursue the family doctor job, simply follow this guide
Step 1: Take a Bachelor’s Degree
Before applying to medical school, you must earn a bachelor’s degree. A Family Doctor doesn’t require a specific major, but you should complete pre-medical courses involving physics, biology, chemistry, English and math. To gain admittance to medical school, you need to have a very competitive GPA in a high undergraduate.
Improving more experience is a good idea to pursue this career. You can work at a doctor’s office, medical facility, or nursing home when you are in college. If you have volunteer experience or other medical activities at the undergraduate level, it will be a strong point to impress medical school admissions boards.
Step 2: Obtain the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
The MCAT is considered an important factor to decide which candidate to admit. The MCAT will assess your ability on medical cases that need to think and solve problems. You will get a multiple-choice exam including the biological, physical sciences, and reasoning ability.
Step 3: Get a Medical Degree
Medical school requires 4 years to complete and obtain Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degrees. In the first two years, the knowledge focuses on classroom and lab studies in biochemistry, anatomy, pathology, ethics, pharmacology, and infectious diseases fields. You also train and practice medical duties such as diagnosing medical conditions, examining patients, and taking medical histories.
In the 2 final years, you will start internships to treat patients at hospitals and clinics under the supervision of licensed doctors. During that process, you may work over hours or night work. To get more diagnostic experience, you need to serve different healthcare fields such as family medicine, emergency medicine, surgery, and obstetrics/gynecology.
Step 4: Finish Residency Training
After earning a medical degree, a residency training program is a next challenge for family doctors. This program lasts three years to practice diagnosis and treat patients in hospitals and clinics under the supervision of relevant doctors. The residency training also focuses on ailments and procedures that family doctors face in patients.
Some fields of residents complete clinical rotations
- Critical care
- Sports medicine and cardiology
You also have opportunities to learn didactic in medical seminars and conferences when entering this residency training.
Step 5: Earn a Medical License
Mandate licensing for doctors is required, but each state has different requirements such as
- Graduate from an accredited medical program
- Finish residency training
- Pass licensing exams
Then you need a medical license by taking the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam.
Step 6: Certified in Family Medicine
This is an optional level to advance your career. After completing the 5 steps above, you have requirements to get certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians or the American Board of Family Medicine. However, certified family doctors must satisfy continuing education requirements to sustain their certification.
Pursuing the family doctor career is a long way in the training process but if you have the right path you will complete it successfully. Hope this post can give you more knowledge about the guide to becoming a family doctor.