Is a General Practitioner Career Right for You?

Many people believe, mistakenly, that any young, new doctor would be foolish to become a general practitioner. You’ll hear it said—and often—that specialties command higher salaries. After all anyone out of med school could become a GP… right?

Well, those people are wrong, especially in today’s job market. First of all, not everyone has the talent, skill, dedication, or temperament to be a general practitioner. While some envision GPs as having little in depth knowledge because of their lack of specialty, the truth is, the ability to switch gears from patient to patient, to switch focus from one type of ailment in one part of the body to a completely different issue is a type of in depth knowledge.

Not only that, but many forget that GPs are specialists in several areas, including preventative medicine, health team coordination, and chronic disease management.

As for the naysayers in regards to salary and demand, the simple fact of the matter is that times have changed. Healthcare reform has resulted in an absolute skyrocketing of the demand for general practitioners. In fact, there’s a shortage, and it’s been predicted to last for several decades. That sort of demand naturally drives up salaries.  With health coverage becoming more widely available, and most providers gating access to specialists behind a visit to one’s GP, the future for general practitioners looks rosy indeed.

How do I Become a GP?

For those who have decided to pursue a career as a general practitioner, there are a number of steps.

  1. Complete your non-medical undergraduate education, earning either a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science. In either case, concentrate on basic sciences and mathematics, including chemistry and biology.
  2. Attend an accredited four year medical school to complete your medical undergraduate education.
  3. Complete a residency program—this fulfill your graduate educational requirements. Ideally, to become a general practitioner, you will seek out a residency that supports general practice as a specialty. Family medicine and general practice residency programs typically take approximately three years.
  4. Complete a fellowship(Optional). Fellowships are generally designed for subspecialties, but that doesn’t mean that someone angling for a career in general practice shouldn’t pursue one if they so choose. Many GPs take a secondary specialty, like obstetrics or pediatric to augment their skills.

Finding the Right Job as a General Practitioner

The best way to find the right general practice position for you is to start your search online. There are many services out there that can help. Reputable job placement aide services like can help you find the perfect position.  Because the demand for general practitioners is so high right now, you’ll very likely be able to choose a job that suits you well—and you’ll need help narrowing your choices down.  Consider what region, state, or city you’re interested in, what type of facility you’d prefer, and the salary range you’ll require, and then dive in and start looking!

Bella Gocher

Bella Gocher is an avid writer, and reader, with a love for home design, healthcare and other issues. She writes the blog about the healthcare industry, career advice and other interesting topics where she shares about healthcare and associated topics.