Explore Careers in Health Care

Physicians and Surgeons

  Quick Facts: Physicians and Surgeons

2017 Median Pay This wage is equal to or greater than $208,000 per year or $100.00 per hour.
Typical Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
What Physicians and Surgeons Do
  • Diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses.
  • Examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medication; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests.
  • Counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare.
  • Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones and diseases.
Work Environment
  • About half of physicians and surgeons worked in physicians’ offices in 2016.
  • Others worked in hospitals, in academia, or for the government.
How to Become a Physician or Surgeon
  • Physicians typically need a bachelor’s degree, a degree from a medical school (4 years to complete), and 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs depending on specialty.
Attendance Cost and Medical Student Debt
  • 2016 Median 4 year COA: $249,000
  • 2016 Median Education Debt: $190,000
[found on the Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physicians-and-surgeons.htm]
Attendance Cost and Medical Student Debt: Source: Authors’ analysis of the AAMC Graduation Questionnaire (GQ) and Tuition and Student Fees Questionnaire (TSF).

 

Veterinary

Quick Facts: Veterinary

2017 Median Pay $90,420 per year
$43.47 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
What Veterinarians Do
  • Care for the health of animals and work to improve public health.
  • Diagnose, treat, and research medical conditions and diseases of pets, livestock, and other animals.
Work Environment
  • Most veterinarians work in private clinics and hospitals.
  • Others travel to farms, work in laboratories or classrooms, or work for the government.
How to Become a Veterinarian
  • Veterinarians must have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from an accredited veterinary college, as well as a state license.
[found on the Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/veterinarians.htm#tab-1]

 

Dental

Quick Facts: Dental

2017 Median Pay $158,120 per year
$76.02 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
What Dentists Do
  • Diagnose and treat problems with patients’ teeth, gums, and related parts of the mouth.
  • Provide advice and instruction on taking care of the teeth and gums and on diet choices that affect oral health.
Work Environment
  • Some dentists own their own businesses and work alone or with a small staff.
  • Other dentists have partners in their practice and some work for more established dentists as associate dentists.
How to Become a Dentist
  • Dentists must be licensed in the state(s) in which they work.
  • Licensure requirements vary by state, although candidates usually must graduate from an accredited dental school and pass written and practical exams.
[found on the Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dentists.htm]

 

Physician Assistants

Quick Facts: Physician Assistants

2017 Median Pay  $104,860 per year
$50.41 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education  Master’s degree
What Physician Assistants Do
  • PA’s practice medicine on teams with physicians, surgeons, and other healthcare workers. They examine, diagnose, and treat patients.
Work Environment
  • PA’s work in physicians’ offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other healthcare settings.
How to Become a Physician Assistant
  • Typically need a master’s degree from an accredited educational program.
  • All states require physician assistants to be licensed.
[found on the Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm]

 

Registered Nurses

Quick Facts: Registered Nurses

2017 Median Pay  $70,000 per year
$33.65 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education  Bachelor’s degree
What Registered Nurses Do
  • Provide and coordinate patient care, educate patients and the public about various health conditions.
  • Provide advice and emotional support to patients and their family members.
Work Environment
  •  Hospitals, physicians’ offices, home healthcare services, and nursing care facilities.
  • Others work in outpatient clinics and schools or serve in the military.
How to Become a Registered Nurse  There are typically three education paths:

    1. Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN)
    2. An associate’s degree in nursing (ADN)
    3. Diploma from an approved nursing program
  • Registered nurses must be licensed.
[found on the Occupational Outlook Handbook, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm]