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International Student
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Careers in Medicine

Professional doctors make more money than almost any other profession. You will also be making a lasting impact on the community you live in. So whether you decide to be a primary care physician, a dermatologist, or a surgeon, you can be proud of what you do.

Depending on your interests, capabilities, and motivations, there are many different careers for international students who choose to study medicine. Some doctors are specific in their scope and focus on a particular part of the body, while others specialize in specific clientele. Because there are so many different types of doctors, this list should in no way be considered exhaustive. Rather, it should be seen as a small window into a vast number of careers in medicine.

Family Physicians

Like the name suggests, family physicians treat people of all ages. As a family physician (also known as a family doctor), you will be the primary care provider to your patients. This means promoting a healthy lifestyle while also serving as the first point of contact when your patients are sick, making it one of the more rewarding careers in medicine.

Family physicians in the US have to complete an additional three years of family medicine residency in country before they are able to practice. The job does not pay as much as many other jobs that will be available, but you will be creating long-lasting relationships with your patients and help put them on the right track to a healthy and long life.


A hospitalist is a physician who is employed by a hospital. Typical duties of a hospitalist are wide ranging, from palliative to specialized care. The idea behind the position is to reduce the number of physicians that have contact with a patient. Rather than having several specialized physicians all try to sync their schedules with one another, a hospitalist fulfills the role of many doctors.


The highest-paying of the various careers in medicine is that of a surgeon. International students looking for a high-paying job in medicine should note that the salary for a surgeon in the US averages more than $200,000 USD a year, and if you decide to become a specialized surgeon you can expect to make quite a bit more than that. Of course, specialized surgeons require more schooling, so that is a factor to consider.

As a surgeon, you will always be on call and work long hours at all times of the day. The job can be stressful and, of course, it is not for the squeamish. If you love anatomy and working with your hands though, being a surgeon may be one of the best-fitting jobs in medicine.


Anesthesiologists are responsible for providing drugs to patients during surgery, the intensive care unit, and even outside of the hospital. These drugs will often render the patient unconscious and have to be delivered at a very specific dosage to prevent any harm.

Anesthesiologists are sometimes seen as one of the "easier" jobs in medicine. However, whether or not this is true is up for debate. Surgeons cannot work without first having their patients put under. This means that anesthesiologists often have to work the same unpredictable hours as surgeons.


As strange as it may sound, Dermatology is one of the more sought-after jobs in medicine. This is because it is a highly paid position, and because dermatologists are rarely, if ever, on call. There is a lot of patient interaction, so international students interested in dermatology as a career should be friendly and empathetic. Because it is so highly sought after, you will also have to make sure to really focus in medical school. Dermatologists, like surgeons, are often some of the top in the class.

No matter what you decide to study, a career in medicine of any kind is a career to be proud of. You will make enough money to provide for your family, while also providing much-needed services to those in need every day.

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