How to Become an

Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist)

The complete career guide to be an Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist): salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $196,520
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 9.4%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Internal medical doctors, or internists, are general practice physicians that cover a broad scope of medical conditions and provide patients with a variety of treatments.  They address total body wellness, management of chronic illness and conditions and disease prevention.

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What is an Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist)?

The following responsibilities are common for Internal Medicine Doctors:

  • Examines, diagnosis and treats patients of all ages for a variety of conditions
  • Completes medical charts after each patients visit according to the medical records systems in place
  • Supervises medical assistants, nurses and other medical facility staff
  • Follows and maintains all patient privacy practices regarding patients diagnosis or treatment
  • Prepares and interprets health documents and images for patients

A Day In The Life

Most internists are typically the first doctor patients see if they are having a problem or illness.  They can assist a patient with a range of problems like skin problems, ears, eye, nose, throat and all the way to the nervous and reproductive systems.

On a daily basis, internists treat any and all internal diseases or ailments like, hypertension, diabetes or gastro-intestinal problems.  They spend the majority of their days analyzing reports, observing records, or examining patients to make educated medical diagnosis’.  These doctors are equipped to deal with whatever issue a patient may bring.  They are educated as experts in diagnosis, treatments of illness, promotion of healthy living and disease prevention.

One of the main responsibilities is to administer and prescribe prevention, medication, therapies or treatments patients to help assist or cure a patients illness or injury.  Some also provide comprehensive and acute long-term medical care for patients as well.

Typical Work Schedule

This is a full time, 40 plus hour per week occupation.  They may need to spend some additional time doing hospital rounds or being on-call if the healthcare facility they work for requires it.

Projected Job Growth

As with most medical professions, job outlook for internists is very good and will continue to stay that way over the next few years.

Typical Employers

They typically practice in an outpatient office setting in their own private practice or in a clinic or hospital setting.

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How To Become an Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist)

To become an internal medicine physician, an individual must first obtain a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, physiology or a related medical subject.  After completing their undergraduate program, the student must then enroll into medical school.  Medical school applicants must have completed at least three years of undergraduate studies.  DUring undergraduate training, the student should maintain the highest GPA possible to enter this highly competitive field.  Along with excellent grades, the student must also submit letters of recommendation, complete an interview and pass various background checks.  The medical school curriculum is a required four year program. During medical school, students will do coursework in biology, pathology, anatomy & physiology, pharmacology, ethics and other human science courses.  After completing medical school, the student then will go on to complete three years in a residency program called a general internal medicine residency.  During their residency program, the student will complete rotations in family medicine practices, obstetrics, psychology, orthopedics along with other medical specialties.  For those students wanting to specialize in internal medicine a one to three year fellowship is then required after completing their residency program.  Every state also requires that an individual fulfill the specific licensing requirements for practicing medicine.  They must pass a state board examination as well as adhere to the states explicit institutional requirements.  In some cases, it is also necessary for the individual to become board certified as well.  Being board certified designates that an internist has fulfilled and completed all requirements set forth by the state board.  Requirements include academic proof of education and degrees, state licensure information, all additional certifications as well as pass additional board testing.

Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist) Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist) salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist)'s can make an average annual salary of $196,520, or $94 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $117,350 or $56 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #7 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Highest Education Among Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist)s

  • 93.7%   Doctorate
  • 3.3%   Masters
  • 2.3%   Bachelors
  • 0.3%   Associates
  • 0.1%   College
  • 0.2%   High School
  • 0.2%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist) job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 5,100 jobs for a total of 59,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 9.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #220 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Internal Medicine Doctor (Internist)s

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Offices of physicians 33,000 3,400 3%
General medical and surgical hospitals; private 9,300 -300 0%
Self-employed workers 5,200 900 1%

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