What They Do:

Examine patients, perform diagnostic tests and interpret them. Physicians diagnose and prescribe treatments for people with injury or disease.  Both M.D.s and D.O.s use all accepted methods of treatment such as medications and surgery, but D.O.s put more importance on the musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine, and holistic patient care.  Also, D.O.s are more likely to be primary care specialists, examples of primary care areas include pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine. 

There are 2 types:

  • Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)

  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) – also known as allopathic physicians


  • Bachelors degree (4 years)

  • Medical school (4 years)

  • Internship or residency (3-8 years)


  • United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE)

  • Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam (COMLEX) – for D.O.s

What They Make:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year or $100.00 per hour."

Where They Work:

  • Hospitals

  • Self-employed

  • Physician offices

Career Outlook:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for physicians will increase a higher-than-average 4% from 2019 to 2029, which translates to about 5,100 job openings.



Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Physicians and Surgeons,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm (visited February 2021).

Updated February 2021