• Physician


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.

 Education: 8-12 years

 Patient Interaction: High

 Physical Activity: High

 Salary: Varies

 Job Growth: Medium

Related Careers


Physician Assistant (PA)


Getting Started

  • Students should take a college preparatory curriculum.
  • High school students should study biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics through the calculus level, anatomy & physiology, foreign language, health and related courses.
  • Participation in community and volunteer experiences is VERY helpful for admission into medical school. Healthcare volunteering, work experience, and shadowing physicians is very valuable.
  • Premedical students can major in any discipline but must complete undergraduate prerequisite coursework according to specific individual school requirements. At the UW-School of Medicine and Public Health (UWSMPS) specific courses are required for admission. For student entering starting in 2008 and after the prerequisites include: 1 semester of General Biology (with lab), Advanced Biology (with lab), Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry and 2 semesters of Inorganic/General Chemistry (with lab), Physics (with lab), and Mathematics with Statistics and Calculus recommended.
  • Medical school courses include anatomy & physiology, biochemistry, physiology, pathology, microbiology, pharmacology, psychology, genetics, medical ethics and related courses. . Medical students work with patients under the supervision of physicians, and do rotations in various specialties including family practice, pediatrics, gynecology, psychiatry and surgery. The first 2 years concentrate on lecture and academic text learning. A National Board test (USMLE-1) follows the 2nd year. The last 2 years mainly consists of clinical/patient experiences and hospital rotations followed by another Board Exam (USMLE-2)
  • After graduating from medical school, the Doctor must choose a Residency for advanced training in a specialty and thereby qualifying for licensing. USMLE-3 in the state of Wisconsin follows the 1st year of Residency. Passing these exams qualifies the Doctor to apply for licensing in the state.

Educational Institutions

Medical College of Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin – Madison


Family Residency

Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center
Mayo Clinic Health, La Crosse
UW Health Baraboo Family Medicine Residency
UW Health Augusta Family Medicine Clinic
UW Health Eau Claire Family Medicine Clinic
UW Health Madison Family Medicine Clinic
UW Health Milwaukee
UW Health Wausau Family Medicine Clinic
Waukesha Family Medicine Residency Program

  • Physicians may become an M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) or a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). M.D.s and D.O.s are fully trained and licensed physicians who can specialize in family practice or in any other specialty field of medicine. D.O.s have additional training in Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (O.M.T.), a hands-on treatment tool that focuses on the body’s structure and function, and its ability to help heal itself.
  • An undergraduate degree can be taken at any accredited college with a major of any discipline as long as the prerequisite courses for specific medical schools are completed.
  • Usually junior year of college and after taking the MCAT test, students apply for medical school. The application process is extensive and VERY competitive. Students must submit transcripts, scores from MCAT, letters of recommendations, and essays they write.
  • Following 4 years of medical school, although students earn the title of Doctor, individuals still must do a Residency Program to apply for a license. The licensing rules will vary from state to state depending on where you apply. The number of years of Residency will vary according to the field of specialization.
  • Junior year of medical school, students compete for a Residency based on their Board scores, letters of recommendation, and interviews. Students rank their choices as do the Residency Programs and a national computer Match matches choices in March of their senior year.
  • Upon completion of a Residency the doctor is considered Board Eligible…the doctor must take a Specialization Board and pass the test to become Board Certified. At this level Board Certified is voluntary.


American Academy of Emergency Medicine
555 East Wells Street, Suite 1100
Milwaukee, WI, 53202-3823

American Academy of Family Physicians
11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
Leawood , KS, 66211-2680
913/906-6000 or 800/274-2237

American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Blvd.
Elk Grove Village, IL, 60007-1098
847/434-4000 or 800/433-9016

American Academy of Physician Assistants
2318 Mill Rd., Suite 1300
Alexandria, VA, 22314-1552

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine
5550 Friendship Blvd., Suite 310
Chevy Chase, MD, 20815-7231

American College of Emergency Physicians
1125 Executive Circle
Irving, TX, 75038-2522
800/798-1822 or 972/550-0911

American College of Physicians
190 N Independence Mall West
Philadelphia , PA, 19106-1572
215/351-2400 or 215/351-2600 or 800-523-1546, x2600

American College of Surgeons
633 N. Saint Clair St.
Chicago, IL, 60611-3211
312/202-5000 or 800/621-4111

American Medical Association
330 N. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL, 60611-5885
312/464-5000 or 800/621-8335

American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
142 E. Ontario St.
Chicago, IL, 60611-2864
312/202-8000 or 800/621-1773

Association of American Medical Colleges
Section for Student Services
655 K Street NW, Suite 100
Washington, DC, 20001-2399

Association of American Physicians
45685 Harmony Lane
Belleville, MI, 48111

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. #9
Tucson, AZ, 85716

National Association of EMS Physicians
PO Box 19570
Lenexa, KS, 66285
913/895-4611 or 800/228-3677

Visiting Physicians Association
500 Kirts Blvd.
Troy, MI, 48084
248/824-6000 or 888/742-4695

Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants
563 Carter Court, Suite B
Kimberly, WI, 54136
800/762-8965 or 920/560-5630

Wisconsin Medical Society
330 E. Lakeside Street
PO Box 1109
Madison, WI, 53710-1109
800/762-8975 or 866/442-3800

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 347,200
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 398,800
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 15%
Expected Annual Openings: 14,510
Typical Salary Range (2014) (Wisconsin): $59,000 to $187,200+ per year.
Typical Salary Range (2014) (National): $56,600 to $187,200+ per year.

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

Physicians usually work 60 hours a week or more. Their hours are often irregular, and sometimes include evenings and weekends. Some physicians are frequently on-call in the event of an emergency situation, however, more and more physicians are joining networks or groups, which allow them to share in the responsibilities of on-call duties.

  • Beyond Residency one can take additional training called Fellowships that usually raises the potential earning salary.
  • A combination of a M.D. degree with a PhD. (research related) can be selected and would make medical school 7 years instead of 4. Most medical schools offering the combined program currently offer waiving tuition.