What are the Qualifications of a Family Physician? banner

By westgate October 12, 2021

What are the Qualifications of a Family Physician?

Becoming a family physician is no small feat! Doctors complete a great deal of education in order to gain the knowledge and experience to provide medical care. There are many different steps that must be completed to become a family physician:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree. This typically takes 4 years and may or may not be a pre-med program. Courses typically focus on biology, physics, physiology or other sciences.
  2. Pass the MCAT: Medical College Admission Test. This 7.5-hour standardized test is broken up into four sections that assesses the applicant’s knowledge of biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, psychology, sociology, reading comprehension, humanities and social sciences.
  3. Earn a Medical Degree. This typically takes 4-5 years, with the last 2 years including hands-on experience participating in clinical rotations at hospitals and clinics. The student gains knowledge in anatomy, biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology, physiology and ethics.
  4. Pass the USMLE: United States Medical Licensing Exam. There are 3 steps to this standardized exam, encompassing over 25 hours of testing over 3 days to assess the applicant’s clinical knowledge and skills, knowledge of the foundations of independent practice and advanced clinical medicine and understanding of scientific concepts.
  5. Complete a Residency Program. This takes 2-3 years and allows the medical school graduate to choose from over 470 family medicine residency programs in their chosen specialty. During the residency, the physician will gain experience caring for people of all ages and learn how to perform different types of medical procedures.
  6. (Optional) Complete a Fellowship Program. If the doctor wishes to specialize in a certain area of family medicine, they may pursue a Fellowship in a specialty such as geriatrics, sports medicine, sleep medicine, women’s health, adolescent medicine, etc. The length of Fellowships vary depending on the type and the goals of the doctor.

Westgate Family Physicians are a team of highly-trained and experienced family physicians in Spartanburg, SC, who have a passion for caring for others. They are trained to recognize a wide variety of symptoms to properly diagnose conditions, provide treatment or refer patients to specialists, if necessary. If you are searching for a new doctor to care for you and your family, the team at Westgate Family Physicians would be honored to become your trusted resource for medical care. Please call (864) 574-0070 or click here to make an appointment.