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Education Needed to be Considered for Family Practice Jobs

Family practice jobs require a great deal of education and training before you can become such a doctor. Here's the path you'll need to experience first.

There are a number of job opportunities in the healthcare profession and providing care for others can be a rewarding career. A family medicine career is an option that many entering the medical industry opt for and this involves providing health care and treatment of common illness and disease for all family members from toddlers to seniors. However, there is a lot of training required to enter the profession and much education is needed to be considered for family practice jobs.

Undergraduate degree

Those considering family practice jobs need to gain a high school education that enables them to study at college for an undergraduate degree. This typically involves obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent. While an undergraduate degree can be taken in any subject, most of those that intend to move on to medical school will choose a subject which is related to science or medicine, with a Bachelor of Science in biology or chemistry being common choices. Whatever subject is selected there are typically a few prerequisites required for entering medical school and this includes studying subjects such as biology, chemistry (organic and inorganic), physics, English and math. If courses are available in subject matter such as anatomy and physiology it can also be worth taking these while at undergraduate level.

Medical College Admittance Test (MCAT)

A qualification typically considered for those seeking admittance to medical school is their MCAT score. This test should therefore be taken while at undergraduate level in preparation for gaining entry to a medical school. It is also worth getting some extracurricular volunteer or work experience as a medical technician, nursing assistant or other such job, as this can be another factor considered by medical schools when admitting students.

Medical degree

Following the successful completion of an undergraduate degree, those looking to pursue a career in family practice jobs need to undertake a medical degree. This is typically a 4-year degree course at an accredited medical school and there are in excess of 100 medical schools in the US which are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Entry to medical school can be competitive and gaining admittance can be based on MCAT scores, letters of recommendation, a student’s character and also extracurricular experience. For those that are successfully admitted, the first two years of study is typically desk based in classrooms and laboratories. Classes taken can include anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, medical ethics and medical law. The final two years will typically involve directly working with patients under supervision. This will be gained in a variety of job types to gain an understanding of the diagnosis and treatment of a range of illness, injury and disease.

Medical residency training

Following successful completion of medical school, a family doctor candidate will continue their education with a period of residency. This is generally carried out in a medical clinic or hospital and is a form of paid on-the-job training. Generally a period of at least 3 years needs to be completed in residency, during which further experience will be gained in diagnosing and treating illness and disease.


To enable someone to qualify for family practice jobs, the final education required is to pass the state board licensing exam. Generally this involves passing the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), although checking the state laws should show the exact requirements. Once this has been successfully completed it is possible to practice medicine in family practice jobs. Generally passing the exam in one state should enable a family doctor to practice in another state without needing to undertaking further examination. However some states limit reciprocity and for doctors that are looking to move jobs between states it obviously needs to be checked what the exact requirements are.

A career in healthcare is something that many people aspire to and being able to help and care for others can be rewarding as well as lucrative once training has been completed. For those interested in family practice jobs, education can take a number of years and involve a great deal of studying and training. However, the benefits of completing this and working in the medical industry can be worth it and practicing family medicine is one o the opportunities to consider.

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