Physicians may choose to pursue a career in primary care (family medicine, general internal medicine, or general pediatrics) or may choose to train more intensely in one of the medical subspecialties as a surgeon or in one of several other fields. Some of these fields are listed below.
  • Allergy and immunology - immunization specialist.
  • Anesthesiology - giving anesthesia for surgical procedures.
  • Cardiology – study of the structure, function, disorders and treatment of the heart.
  • Dermatology – the study of diseases of the skin.
  • Family Practice Medicine – the study of general, comprehensive health care for patients of all ages and genders.
  • Forensic Pathology – the study of tissues and body fluids to determine the cause of sudden, questionable, or unexpected death.
  • Gerontology – study of the aging process, and health and diseases of the elderly.
  • Gynecology – the study of diseases and disorders affecting the female reproductive organs.
  • Internal medicine – study of the diagnosis and treatment (non-surgical) of diseases of the internal organs.
  • Neonatology – treatment of diseases and care of newborn infants.
  • Nephrology – study of the functions and diseases of the kidneys.
  • Neurology – the study of the nervous system and the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries that affect it.
  • Neuropathology – the study of diseases of the nervous system.
  • Neurosurgery – nervous system surgery.
  • Nuclear Medicine - radioactivity used in disease diagnosis Obstetrics – the study of pregnancy, childbirth and associated functions.
  • Ophthalmology – the study of the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and injuries.
  • Orthopedics – the study of correction and prevention of injuries and disorders of muscles, joints and ligaments.
  • Otolaryngology – the study of the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries of the ear, nose and throat.
  • Pathology – the study and diagnosis of health problems by examining body fluids, tissue and secretions.
  • Pediatric – the treatment of injuries, illness and diseases of infants and children.
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation - rehabilitation of people who have suffered from stroke, heart attack, spinal chord injury, or similar conditions.
  • Plastic Surgery – corrective and cosmetic surgery.
  • Preventive Medicine – disease prevention.
  • Psychiatry – the study of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental and emotional disorders.
  • Radiology – the study of X-rays and radioactive substances to examine the structure and function of the human body and to diagnose and treat disease.
  • Surgery – using manual or surgical instruments to treat injuries, illness and conditions of the human body.
  • Urology – the study of disease and disorders of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs.

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Physicians provide the services of prevention, diagnosis and treatment to individuals suffering from physical ailments or mental illness, injuries, or diseases.
  • Physicians work in variety of settings including private offices, hospitals, clinics, research facilities, laboratories, government agencies, public health or home healthcare agencies, colleges, or universities.
  • They are trained to properly examine patients and their medical history, assess the patient's needs, and then perform and evaluate diagnostic tests and appropriate treatment(s).

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Becoming a physician takes many years of schooling followed by many years of training called Residencies and Fellowships.
  • Being accepted into medical school is VERY competitive and requires excellent grades and national test scores (MCAT-Medical College Admission Test) that are at certain levels for specific schools.
  • A physician’s work can be emotionally and physically demanding, but also challenging and rewarding.
  • Physicians usually enjoy a respected position in their community along with higher salaries.


Getting Started

Career Outlook