General Practitioners (GPs) diagnose and treat various kinds of medical conditions ranging from sprains and infections to flu and common cold. Other than providing care and medication themselves, they also decide whether a particular patient’s ailment is serious enough to be referred to a specialist.

Moreover, GPs try to encourage physical and mental well-being among people by promoting healthy lifestyles. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 98,590 Family Medicine Physicians working around the country (as of 2020). If you also want to become a General Practitioner or Physician, then this piece is for you.

Should I Become a General Practitioner (GP)?

Education Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree
Area of Study/Major Requirement  

General Medicine

License/Certification Required
Experience/Training Required
Key Skills Problem Sensitivity, Communication, Counseling and Therapy, Active Listening and Complex Problem Solving.
Annual Mean Salary – US (2020) $214,370 (Family Medicine Physicians)
Job Outlook (2020-20300) 3% (Physicians and Surgeons)

Sources: O*Net Online and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

As a GP, you will be responsible for initiating diagnostic tests, prescribing medicines, gathering patient information, providing mental health support and identifying illnesses, etc. As with most medical professionals, GPs work long hours and have to be on-call most of the time.

Career Outlook

Jobs for Physicians and Surgeons are projected to increase by 3% during the decade from 2018 to 2028. Slightly faster than the average rise for most other professions, this will be the result of an ageing and growing population.

Steps to Become a General Practitioner in the US

The following process will help you become a General Practitioner in the United States.

  1. Finish Undergraduate Education
  2. The first step on your journey to becoming a General Practitioner is enrollment into a Bachelor’s degree program. There are no compulsions as far as choosing a major is concerned, although you are recommended to take a few courses in mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics and other related sciences.

    This is because medical schools often require a few credits in such subjects. Many schools also offer a specialized pre-medical track for students who want to join the world of healthcare. However, this is not a mandatory requirement for getting into medical school.

  1. Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  2. Once you are finished with undergrad studies, you can take the MCAT. It is also normally taken during the final two years of the Bachelor’s program. Doing well on the MCAT is imperative for securing admission to a medical school of high repute.

  1. Enroll in a Medical School
  2. Just like undergraduate education, you will need 4 years to finish medical school. At the end of it, you will graduate with either a Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) degree.

  1. Residency Training
  2. When you have graduated from medical school, it is time for residency training. This is paid instruction on the job where you work under the supervision of licensed medical practitioners. It takes about 3 years to complete a general practitioner residency program.

  1. Get Licensed
  2. After you are through with your residency, the final step is application for the state license. All of the states have somewhat different requirements. Passing a standardized exam is usually one of the major parts of the eligibility criteria.

How Long Does It Take to Become a General Practitioner?

Becoming a GP in the US requires 4 years of Bachelor’s education and 4 years of medical school. This will be followed by a residency program that lasts for about 3 years. So, you are looking at a timeframe of 11 to 12 years.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a General Practitioner in the US

You need to fulfill the conditions outlined below to become a General Practitioner (GP) in the US.

  • Getting an undergraduate degree.
  • Graduating from medical school with either an MD (Doctor of Medicine) or DO (Doctor of Osteopathy) degree.
  • Joining and completing a residency program.
  • Getting licensed in the state you want to work in.


How Much Can I Make After Becoming a General Practitioner?

The latest available records of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that Family Medicine Physicians took home $214,370 in annual mean wage in 2020.

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