Preventive Medicine Physicians


Employment Prospects


Approximately 390,680 physicians and surgeons, all others not listed separately by the Department of Labor, are employed in the United States. Preventive medicine physicians work in primary and managed care organizations. They work in hospitals, private and group medical practices, public health clinics, nursing homes, universities, and government agencies, among others. Some are self-employed in their own or group practices.

Jobs for preventive medicine physicians are available all over the world, although licensing requirements may vary. Developing countries have high demand for medical professionals of all types. Conditions, supplies, and equipment may be poor and pay is minimal, but there are great rewards in terms of experience. Many doctors fulfill part or all of their residency requirements by practicing in other countries. 

Starting Out

Preventive medicine physicians must have an M.D. or D.O. degree, pass a licensing examination, have a one- or two-year internship, and a two- to three-year residency. It can take many years before a preventive medicine physician is ready to start practicing in the field. Many receive job offers from the hospital or health care facility in which they complete their residency. Some get their start in federal and state agencies. Ask your school's career services office for assistance with finding job opportunities. Other ways to find job listings include searches on professional associations' Web sites, such as the American College of Preventive Medicine,, as well as sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Simply Hired, among others.

Advancement Prospects

Preventive medicine physicians advance by acquiring more experience in their medical practice. Throughout the years they build their practice by acquiring more patients, increasing their income, and developing a good reputation in the preventive medicine field. They enhance their knowledge and skills by continually taking classes, attending conferences, and getting certification. They may also pursue an advanced degree in a subspecialty or another medical field. Those who work in a managed-care setting or for a large group or corporation can advance by opening their own private practice. Some preventive medicine physicians may become directors of a laboratory, managed-care facility, hospital department, or medical school program. Some may move into hospital administration positions.

Preventive medicine physicians may become a fellow in a professional specialty or elected to an important office in the American Medical Association or American Osteopathic Association. They may also elevate their status through teaching and research positions. They may conduct research in new treatments, practices, and medicines that help reduce and prevent diseases and disorders, sharing their findings by writing articles for medical journals.  Participation in professional organizations can also bring prestige.

Tips for Entry

Read publications to keep up with developments and career opportunities in preventive medicine. Find resources on professional associations' Web sites, such as the American Association of Public Health Physicians,, and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research,

Learn more about the different types of preventive medicine and find newsletters and other resources by visiting the Web site of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine's Web site,, and the American College of Preventive Medicine,

Find information on medical schools at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Web site,

Learn more bout the MCAT test by visiting this Web site: