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Doctor Job Description

What does a doctor do? Doctors are medical professionals who treat patients suffering from illnesses and injuries. They also diagnose medical conditions through examinations and diagnostic tests. In addition to diagnosing and treating, doctors also provide preventative care to patients by instructing patients about appropriate diet and other lifestyle factors that could put patients at risk for health issues.
There are many types of specialized doctors. Some specializations include neurology, gynecology, pediatrics, and cardiology. Although there a number of areas one can choose to work in as a doctor, there are two main types of doctors: An M.D. is a medical doctor and a D.O. is an osteopathic doctor. D.O.s generally focus more on preventative care.
Doctors typically find employment in private medical offices either alone or in groups, clinics, and hospitals. Having your own practice can offer flexibility in scheduling, but a doctor may work longer hours since he or she is the only physician. Working in a group practice offers doctors the ability to work less since they are sharing the responsibility with other doctors. Overall, doctors typically work long hours and are often on call during the night and on weekends.
Doctors in private medical offices and clinics usually work with a staff that consists of other doctors, nurses, and administrative personnel. Many times they will need to travel to hospitals to care for their patients.

Doctor Duties

On a daily basis, a doctor might perform the following duties:

  • Meet with patients and take their medical histories
  • Discuss possible treatment options for any health conditions
  • Offer suggestions to patients regarding preventative health care

Doctors are also called physicians.

How To Become A Doctor

In order to become a doctor, one must first earn a bachelor’s degree in any subject, complete prerequisite classes necessary for the study of medicine, and then get accepted to medical school. After the completion of medical school, doctors will then enter a residency program. After residency requirements are met, individuals can take state board exams to become a licensed doctor.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Doctor?

Typically, becoming a doctor takes about 12 years. It will take doctors who specialize several more years of training. The first 4 years of schooling involves obtaining a bachelor’s degree, and then another 4 years are spent in medical school. An additional year after graduation involves the completion of an internship, and then another 3-8 years in a residency program.

Education Requirements

A doctor must complete many rigorous years of schooling and training before they can actually practice medicine. The beginning of their schooling starts with the completion of a bachelor’s degree. There is not a specific undergraduate major to become a doctor; however, in order to enter medical school, students must have passed prerequisite courses in biology, chemistry, and physics. Before finishing the bachelor’s degree, individuals wanting to attend medical school should take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Getting accepted into medical school can be difficult as entrance is extremely competitive. Therefore, students should earn high grades as an undergraduate, score well on the MCAT, volunteer and/or work in the medical field and possess an excellent letter of recommendation.
Once accepted into medical school, students will spend 2 years taking classes learning about the human body and pathology. In the last 2 years of medical school, students are taught about patient care through clinical rotations in various areas of medicine in hospitals and other medical facilities.
After graduation, one must enter an internship program that consists of 1 year of training. Depending on the area of medicine that an individual wishes to practice, another 3-8 years of residency is necessary. This time period consists of working under a supervising physician in a hospital and learning more about the field and patient care.


Doctors can become certified in different specialties. It is not mandatory that doctors are certified, but it can offer doctors more opportunities for employment. Becoming certified in a specialty involves an extended residency and then passing an examination.


Doctors must be licensed in all 50 states. In order to become a licensed doctor, one must first graduate from an accredited medical school, finish a mandatory residency, and then pass an exam. Since each state has different rules and regulations regarding licensing, it is best to check the requirements in the state where an individual wishes to practice.
In addition to state licensing, doctors must also take a national licensing exam. There are two different tests given. One is for medical doctors and the other is for osteopaths.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for doctors is good. Between 2012 and 2022, it is estimated that there will be an 18 percent expansion in employment. Heath care will continue to grow, so there will be a need for more doctors. One reason for the growth is that the new healthcare reform will enable people to visit the doctor who previously did not have health insurance. The population is getting larger and aging, and this will bring more patients in for medical treatment and increase jobs in the field. Detailed doctor salary data is available here.

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