California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Family and General Practitioners in California

May also be called: Board Certified Family Physicians; Family Medicine Physicians; Family Physicians; Family Practice Doctors; Family Practice Physicians; Medical Doctors; Medical Staff Physicians; Physicians; and Primary Care Physicians

What Would I Do?

Family and General Practitioners may diagnose and treat many different illnesses. They order laboratory tests, X-rays, and other forms of medical evaluations as needed. Family and General Practitioners also prescribe medications, provide dietary advice, and educate patients on the prevention of illnesses.

Family and General Practitioners commonly work indoors. Practitioners who work for a health group are likely to have backup coverage, allowing them the flexibility to plan their schedule. Practitioners working as part of a health group generally work 40 hours a week, Monday through Friday. Family and General Practitioners in private practice may work long and irregular hours such as evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Family and General Practitioners may appeal to those who enjoy searching for facts and figuring out problems. They should also enjoy helping people and have the ability to relate to their patients and their patients’ relatives.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages are not available for Family and General Practitioners. Earnings vary according to experience, location, and number of hours worked. Family and General Practitioners who work in rural areas tend to earn less than those who work in larger cities.

Family and General Practitioners generally receive excellent benefit packages, including health and life insurance, vacation and sick leave, and pension plans. Those in private practices are responsible for providing their own benefits and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Job opportunities for Family and General Practitioners are expected to increase, primarily due to population growth and an aging population that will require frequent medical attention.

How Do I Qualify?

Individuals interested in becoming Family and General Practitioners will need to have completed a bachelor's degree, successfully complete an accredited medical school program, and residency program. Prior to enrolling in a medical school, applicants must have completed 90-semester hours or 135-quarter hours of college level coursework and take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). After the completion of medical school, individuals must begin a residency program, a paid internship where they work under the supervision of experienced doctors and begin to put their knowledge to work. New Family and General Practitioners will also need to obtain state and national licensing.

Finding a Job

Direct contact with employers is a traditional means to finding a job as a Family and General Practitioner. The hospitals where recently graduated doctors complete their residency programs often provide employment once the residency period has ended. They may also provide references or letters of recommendation. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at and CalJOBSSM at

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Learn More About Family and General Practitioners