Physician and Surgeon Training

Physician and Surgeon Job Description

Physicians and surgeons work with patients to diagnoses and treat health conditions such as chronic conditions, illnesses or other health concerns. Treatments may require ordering tests or other diagnostic procedures in order to determine a cause of the symptoms or to treat the underlying problem. In many cases a physician and surgeon may work together with a patient in order to effectively treat their condition. This is often the case when a patient needs a surgical procedure to either diagnose or treat a condition.

Long and irregular hours are often worked by both surgeons and physicians. This is due to the nature of the work, as some patients may need to be seen on an emergency basis. Those in private practice often have slightly more regular hours but may work on an as needed basis if the situation calls for it. For physicians and surgeons who find employment in clinics or hospitals, hours are often longer and more irregular. Some may work on call and either stay at the hospital for longer periods of time, or come in as needed for emergency or urgent patient care.

Work Environment

Both physicians and surgeons often work from a private practice office and meet with patients as needed in order to treat their conditions. In some cases, physicians or surgeons may be employed by a clinic or hospital and work from that location as opposed to to a private practice office.

Surgeons who have a private practice office often divide their time between meeting with patients at the office and performing surgery in a hospital or clinic setting. Those who work through a hospital or a surgical clinic may have a larger client base as these surgeons treat patients who come in on an emergency or urgent care basis.


Responsibilities do vary depending on the type of employment for the physician or surgeon but there are several core responsibilities that are part of both fields. This includes the treatment of patients and managing their health care needs. This includes the use of regular check up visits, diagnostic tests and consultations as needed to help prevent additional health problems. Physicians often will strive to meet the health needs of their patients by providing information on how to manage their condition and how to improve their overall health. This improvement may come in the form of weight management, fitness recommendations or dietary changes.

Surgeons are responsible for many of these same core goals but with the addition of providing surgical services to their patients. Surgeons must be capable of performing surgeries on patients on both a scheduled and an urgent care basis. This may require the use of high tech machinery to help with the surgery or it may require fine motor skills in order to safely perform the necessary procedures.

Preparing for Physician and Surgeon Training

Those interested in a career as a physician or surgeon often have studied medicine or worked in some capacity in the medical field to begin to gain experience. As these career paths require extensive education, those interested are often encouraged to take courses during college that focus on anatomy, medicine and science. Strong personal and communication skills are also important in this field and should be strengthened if possible in order to help with patient interactions.

Education and Certification

While education requirements for physicians and surgeons do have some differences, the initial education is often very similar. Both career paths require extensive education in order to learn the necessary skills to both diagnose and treat patients who may be ill or have chronic conditions.

Four years of undergraduate schooling must be completed as part of the training necessary to become a physician or surgeon. Once this has been completed four years of medical school must then be completed. In addition to the nearly eight years of education, several years, often 3-8 years of internship and residency must be completed. Acceptance into medical school is most often extremely competitive, making it important for those interested in a career as a physician or surgeon to have high scores on testing and grades in college. Once undergraduate work, medical school and internships have been completed, physicians and surgeons must pass certification exams in order to gain their license that allows them to practice in their state.

Physician Salary

The salary earned by a physician varies depending upon whether the physician is general practice or in a specialty field. On average, annual salaries for general practice physicians is $184,000 while those in specialty fields may earn up to $360,000 per year. Another factor in the salary for a physician is length of time in the practice and whether they have a private practice or work as part of a clinic or hospital network.*

*According to the BLS,

Surgeon Salary

Surgeons often earn an average of $216,000 annually for general practice surgery. Surgeons who work in specialty fields often earn a yearly salary far above this amount, up to $450,000 per year. Where the surgeon practices from has some impact on salary as well as some locations may pay more or less than the average wage.*

*According to the BLS,

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