Occupational Medical Physician

Occupational Medical Physician Careers

Everyone knows that the medical field is one that offers tremendous personal, professional, and financial rewards. With great pay and a chance to help others on a daily basis, it’s a field that is well worth considering for almost anyone. But many people don’t realize that there are numerous different positions you can enter. The medical field is about a lot more than just doctors and nurses, and numerous specialized areas of employment exist as well.

Becoming an occupational medical physician is a great example of this, and a job opportunity that is well worth thinking about if you’re looking for a career as a physician without the standard hospital or doctor’s room setting. To learn more about the job, what it involves, and how to become an occupational medical physician, keep reading.

What Is an Occupational Medical Physician?

An occupational medical physician is a medical doctor who focuses on occupational health. This includes a few things, and will focus on improving the health and safety of workers on a jobsite while also protecting a company or corporation by boosting health and improving management and hiring of workers.

An occupational medical physician will have a lot of different responsibilities, but some of the most common job duties will include the following.

  •   Review applicant information to ensure that they aren’t a liability for a particular job.
  •   Review current workplace environment to identify any risks to illness or injury.
  •   Create a plan that works on overcoming those issues and improving the safety and health of employees in the process.
  •   Address any illnesses or injuries that occur on the jobsite as they occur.
  •   Recommend follow up care or treatment, and offer referrals to additional medical professionals if needed.
  •   Develop wellness programs within the company that improve overall health and well-being. Programs could include smoking cessation, nutritional, or fitness related initiatives.

By monitoring and improving worker health, the occupational medical physician not only improves the health of the workers, but improves the company’s bottom line. Fewer call outs at work and healthier employees translates into better productivity, and knowing a medical professional is close by will provide a big boost to morale. Because of this, the demand for these professionals is steadily growing.

Nature of the Work

The work that an occupational medical physician does will vary greatly, and as a result will be exciting on a regular basis. They may spend a day with workers who are sick, trying to make a diagnosis and prevent the spread of the disease. The next day could involve making a pass through the facility to identify any potential safety hazards. And the day following that could involve a meeting with company directors to address those concerns and others.

Most occupational medical physicians will work for a specific company full time, while others may actually work in a consultant kind of position, travelling to different companies and delivering their services. Still others could work for insurance companies in some capacity, performing inspections of facilities insured by the company.

It’s a varied job, and one that is filled with plenty of challenge as well as plenty of reward.

Education and Training

In order to become an occupational medical physician, you’ll need to become a licensed medical doctor by earning a MD or DO degree from medical school. This includes not only classwork, but also an internship practicing medicine under the supervision of a licensed doctor.

The next step will be to focus on a specialized area of study – specifically on occupational health. This allows you to master the different skills needed to work in the occupational health world, and will usually take another 1 to 2 years. Some employers may also require on the job experience, while others will accept your degree as the primary requirement for employment.

Average salaries for occupational medical physicians vary greatly. In general, physicians earn around $170,000 annually. However, your employer and your level of experience will have a major impact on the specific pay that you earn. Additionally, the demand for these medical professionals is expected to increase by nearly 20 percent over the next decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means that not only will you enjoy excellent wages, but you’ll also enjoy great job security.


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