Physician (General Practitioner or Family Doctor)

Family doctors identify and treat diseases and injuries in a private practice clinic, community health centre, nursing home, or hospital. They also look for health risks, address health prevention (immunizations, treatments, etc.) and manage end-of-life issues.

Watch the Career Trek BC video on physicians by clicking here.

What skills do I need to be a family pracitioner?

  • the intellectual ability required to successfully complete the required academic training and to continue learning life long
  • the ability to get along with people and instill confidence
  • the stamina required to work long hours
  • emotional strength and maturity
  • good communication skills
  • the ability to work effectively in a health care team
  • the ability to find solutions to problems, and
  • the ability to coordinate the work of others.

What education do I need?

To be a family doctor, you require good grades in mathematics and the sciences while in secondary school.

A doctor of medicine degree is required to work in this field. This requires three years of undergraduate studies, as well as four years of medical school, and two years of residency training.

Medical schools have demanding academic admission requirements. University medical programs conduct interviews to ensure that applicants, who have acceptable academic credentials, also have the appropriate social skills and attitudes to work as medical professionals.

Graduates of medical programs need two years of recognized residency training. The residency programs are competitive and may require graduates to travel to other provinces in order to get a placement. Residents spend most of their time in community practices working with family doctors and their clinical teams. Residents will also spend four or eight weeks working in specific areas of the medical profession, such as medicine, surgery, pediatrics and psychiatry.

To become a licensed physician in BC, graduates must pass the Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination. As well, they must become licensed through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia.

In addition, family doctors have to pass a national exam administered by the College of Family Physicians of Canada within five years of start of practice. Continuing medical education and professional development are required throughout the careers of family doctors. All family doctors are also required to complete a minimum of 50 hours per year (on average) of documented continuing professional education throughout their career.

Photo: Career Trek BC


View the full job description (PDF, 355.97KB) to find out more about this career, including education and training requirements, salary range, and benefits.

Full Job Description