In an age when specialists seem to be garnering all the attention let’s not forget the essential aspect of family physicians. Research studies have shown the incredible potential and critical nature of family medicine to improve the entire community’s health.
What is Residency for Family Medicine?
Family medicine physicians also called family doctors are trained in the prevention, diagnosing and treating various disorders and diseases.
Family physicians can diagnose and treat patients of all ages. Family medicine has an incredibly broad scope.
It is an extremely precise specialty. It integrates several healthcare aspects, such as behavioral, biomedical and social sciences together.
Family medicine is focused on providing healthcare services to an entire family, consisting of parents and their children alike.
As a family physician, you will be required to use several different cognitive and procedural skills. You will be responsible for coordinating with specialists when required.
Family physicians are also trained in surgical procedures, internal medicine, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, geriatrics and pediatrics too.
In short, as a family physician, you will be responsible to serve everyone in some capacity.
What are the education, training and certification required to become a Family Medicine Physician?
Family medicine is focused on providing complete healthcare to the members of a family. This specialty encompasses healthcare for all, irrespective of age and gender.
They are trained to diagnose, treat and prevent disorders and diseases affecting every organ system.
To become a family physician in the US, you will first need to acquire a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree or its equivalent Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree.
The training for this profession begins right at college. Following this, you will need to enroll in a medical school for a 4-year medicine program and then move on to residency for family medicine.
Let’s take a closer look at the educational requirements and training needed to become a certified and skilled family medicine physician in the United States:
1 – Medical School
The US has more than 170 accredited medical schools. These have all been accredited by either the American Osteopathic Association’s (AOA) Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA).
As a medical student, you will need to clock around 9,000 hours in lectures, labs, clinical studies and patient care. While in medical school, you should take the two “steps” exams held by the USMLE (the United States Medical Licensing Exam).
Apart from this, you will also need to complete periods of clinical instruction or core clerkship.
Once you pass the classes and both the exams the clerkship will grant you the MD or DO degree which is necessary to begin your residency for family medicine.
2 – Residency for Family Medicine
Physicians in family medicine can choose to train in one of 600 family medicine residency programs. The residency for family medicine programs is verified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medicine Education (ACGME) and usually involves three years of training.
In the first year of your residency (internship year), you will need to appear for the third, and final, part of the USMLE exam.
During these three years of training, students enrolled in residency for family medicine must fulfill all educational, training and certification requirements as dictated by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).
Once you have fulfilled all program requirements during these three years of training, then you are considered eligible to appear for the certification exam held by the ABFM.
When you reach the end of the residency for family medicine you will also need to apply for a license to practice from your state’s medical board.
Once you have successfully completed the residency for the family medicine program, you become eligible to sit for the board examination conducted by the American Board of Family Medicine.
What is the career scope and salary for Family Medicine Physician in the US?
Once you complete your residency for family medicine, acquire the state license and successfully pass the ABFM board examination, you will be able to apply for a job as a family physician at hospitals, clinics, community healthcare centers and even research facilities.
On average, a doctor of family medicine has the potential to earn as much as US$ 192,000 per year as the median academic salary. Family physicians can earn as much as US$ 211,000 per year on an average as the median clinical salary in the US.
Residency for family medicine is essential to qualify for the state licensure and ABFM board examination. Make sure to choose a place of medicinal residency which is reliable and accredited by the USMLE.