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Physicians and surgeons diagnose illnesses and prescribe and administer treatment for people suffering from injury or disease. Physicians examine patients, obtain medical histories, and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive health care.

Hours: Many physicians and surgeons work long, irregular hours. Over one-third of full-time physicians and surgeons worked 60 hours or more a week in 2006.

Opportunities: About half of wage–and-salary physicians and surgeons worked in offices of physicians, and 18 percent were employed by hospitals. Others practiced in Federal, State, and local governments, including colleges, universities, and professional schools; private colleges, universities, and professional schools; and outpatient care centers.


Anesthesiology - $259,948 to $321,686

Surgery: General - $228,839 to $282,504

Obstetrics/gynecology: General - $203,270 to $247,348

Psychiatry: General - $173,922 to $180,000

Internal medicine: General - $141,912 to $166,420

Pediatrics: General - $132,953 to $161,331

Family practice (without obstetrics) - $137,119 to $156,010

Training: The common path to practicing as a physician requires 8 years of education beyond high school and 3 to 8 additional years of internship and residency. All States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories license physicians.

Citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Physicians and Surgeons, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos074.htm (visited July 28, 2009 ).

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