Career Description

Family and general practitioners are often called primary care physicians. They diagnose, treat and help prevent disease and injuries. Family practitioners may refer patients to doctors who are experts in certain diseases, called specialists, when further treatment is needed.

Academic Requirements

Medical school applicants must take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), which medical schools use as one factor in choosing which candidates to admit. Medical school typically requires four years to complete and awards a Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. After earning a medical degree, aspiring family doctors must continue their clinical education with a residency training program. Applicants for a medical license take either the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam or the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Exam.