Is becoming an occupational physician right for me?

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What do occupational physicians do?
What are occupational physicians like?

Still unsure if becoming an occupational physician is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an occupational physician or another similar career!

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How to become an Occupational Physician

Becoming an occupational physician typically requires a significant amount of education and training. Here are the general steps one would need to take to become an occupational physician:

  • Obtain a Bachelor's Degree: The first step towards becoming an occupational physician is to obtain a bachelor's degree. While there is no specific major required, it is recommended to pursue a degree in a related field such as biology, chemistry, or pre-med studies.
  • Attend Medical School: After earning a bachelor's degree, the next step is to attend medical school. This typically takes four years to complete and includes classroom learning as well as clinical rotations. During medical school, students will take courses in subjects such as anatomy, pharmacology, and medical ethics.
  • Complete Residency Training: After graduating from medical school, aspiring occupational physicians must complete a residency program. This typically takes three to four years and involves hands-on training in a medical specialty such as internal medicine, family medicine, or emergency medicine.
  • Obtain Licensure: To practice medicine in the United States, all physicians must obtain a license from the state in which they plan to practice. This typically involves passing a licensing exam and meeting other requirements set by the state medical board.
  • Complete a Fellowship: After completing residency training and obtaining a medical license, individuals who wish to become occupational physicians may choose to complete a fellowship in occupational medicine. This typically takes one to two years and includes coursework in topics such as toxicology, occupational health, and environmental health.
  • Obtain Board Certification: Once fellowship training is complete, individuals can obtain board certification in occupational medicine. Obtaining board certification demonstrates a physician's knowledge and expertise in the field of occupational medicine and can help enhance their professional credibility and job opportunities.

Board Certification
Board certification for occupational physicians is offered by the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). To become board certified in Occupational Medicine, physicians must meet certain educational and professional requirements and pass a written examination.

Here are the general steps for obtaining board certification in occupational medicine:

  • Education: Applicants for board certification in occupational medicine must hold a medical degree from an accredited institution and have completed a residency program in a primary specialty such as family medicine, internal medicine, or pediatrics.
  • Practice Experience: Applicants must have at least two years of full-time practice in the field of occupational medicine or have completed an accredited fellowship in occupational medicine. Part-time practice may also be considered.
  • Examination: After meeting the education and practice experience requirements, applicants must pass a written examination. The exam covers a broad range of topics related to occupational medicine, including environmental health, toxicology, epidemiology, and occupational health regulations.
  • Maintenance of Certification: To maintain board certification in occupational medicine, physicians must participate in continuing education activities and periodically renew their certification. This includes completing ongoing education and professional development requirements and passing a maintenance of certification exam every ten years.