How to become a Doctor / Physician
Physicians are medical doctors who focus on the non-surgical treatment of patients. Physicians tend to focus on one specific element of medicine, such as paediatrics, oncology, or cardiology, making them distinct from general practitioners, as well as surgeons.
Physicians are doctors involved in non-surgical medical care, who specialise in one area of medicine. They are therefore distinct from both general practitioners (GPs) and surgeons.
Broadly speaking, patients are referred to hospital-based specialist physicians after an initial consultation with a GP at a local/family clinic. Patients who come through urgent or emergency care will also be referred to a relevant physician once their problem or condition has been diagnosed.
Physicians tend to be highly specialised, building up expertise in one specific area over the course of their career. With advances in medicine being made all the time, continuing professional development is essential for physicians.
Examples of specialisms that might be pursued by a physician include (but are no means limited to):
- Paediatrics – the medical care of children
- Cardiology – treating disorders of the circulatory system
- Neurology – treating disorders of the nervous systems
- Oncology – the study and treatment of cancer
- Obstetrics and gynaecology – a specialism in pregnancy, childbirth, and the health of the female reproductive system
What degree is most commonly held by a Doctor (physician)?
- Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
- Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
Career Transportability across Countries
What is the Salary of a Doctor (physician)?
|Experience||Average salary | year|
|Resident Medical Officer||1-2 years||$145,000||£51,902||$95,000|
|Medical Officer||3-5 Years||$350,000||£95,609||$175,000|
|Physician / Surgeon / head of Department||5 + years||$550,000||£322,339||$590,000|
What skills are needed to become a Doctor (physician)?
- Clinical Research
- Medical Education
- Healthcare Management
- Public Health
- Internal Medicine
- Emergency Medicine
- Patient Safety
- Public Speaking
- Healthcare Information Technology
- Family Medicine
- Clinical Trials
- Medical Research
- Critical Care
- Pain Management
- Microsoft Office
Relevant Doctor / Physician Courses
These courses can also contribute to the continuing professional development of physicians, or offer insight into relevant non-clinical areas, such as big data or student supervision.
- Clinical Supervision with Confidence
Supervise undergraduate and postgraduate learners effectively with this online course for clinical and educational supervisors
- Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease
Learn more about how your heart works the causes of heart disease and how to keep your heart healthy
- The Genomics Era: the Future of Genetics in Medicine
Get an introduction to the growing role of genomics in healthcare for patient diagnoses treatment and disease prevention
- Airway Matters
Explore key concepts underlying safe multidisciplinary airway management
- Ethical Decision-Making in Care
Raise your awareness of everyday ethical issues in care and learn techniques to make ethical decisions
Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?
Clinical Supervision with ConfidenceSupervise undergraduate and postgraduate learners effectively with this online course for clinical and educational supervisors.Show course overview
Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular DiseaseLearn more about how your heart works, the causes of heart disease and how to keep your heart healthy.Show course overview
The Genomics Era: the Future of Genetics in MedicineGet an introduction to the growing role of genomics in healthcare, for patient diagnoses, treatment and disease prevention.Show course overview