May 28, 2016 by
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They’re the people we call when the contractions come every five minutes. We rush to them for broken arms, and we make appointments when we find irregular freckles. We come to them with coughs and colds and when we suspect that mom might be losing her memory or that dad’s heart is working too hard. They’re obstetricians and gynecologists, ER doctors, dermatologists, primary care providers, neurologists, cardiologists – in a word, physicians.
There are two main types: Medical Doctors (M.D.s) and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.s). Both diagnose and treat patients for a range of medical issues, although a D.O. might also specialize in preventive medicine and holistic patient care. Within these categories, there are a host of specialties, from radiology to allergy and immunology, plastic surgery to urology, pediatric to geriatric.
Over the last couple decades, there have been huge advancements in the field of medicine making patient care better, says Robert M. Wah, president of the American Medical Association who teaches in the District of Columbia metro area and is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. But he also says that physicians today face challenges too. “There are a lot of nonmedical people intruding into [a physician’s] exam room,” he says, citing legislators who make laws about what can be said and done and lawyers who threaten medical liability.
Still, he says that medicine is a career that offers great opportunities and potential. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for physicians will increase a higher-than-average 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, which translates to about 5,100 job openings. An aging population with increasing health concerns and health reform that will lead more Americans to health care services is driving this demand.
$187,199 Median Salary
0.4% Unemployment Rate
5,100 Number of Jobs