About the job
Specialists have an in-depth knowledge and highly specialized skills in a specific medical field. There are many specialities, which can be broadly grouped into clinical medicine, laboratory medicine, and surgery. This group includes residents training to become specialist physicians.
Examples of specialists in clinical medicine include anaesthetists, who administer anaesthetics and control pain during surgery; gynecologists, who study and treat disorders of the female reproductive system; internists, who specialize in disorders of organs such as heart, lungs, kidneys, and stomach; pediatricians, who care for infants and children; psychiatrists, who specialize in disorders of the mind; and oncologists, who treat cancer. These individuals diagnose and treat the diseases, physiological and psychological disorders, and injuries of patients. This may include examining patients; ordering laboratory tests, x-rays and other diagnostic procedures; prescribing and administering medications and treatments; performing surgical procedures; acting as a consultant to other physicians; conducting medical research; teaching; and performing related tasks. Specialists in clinical medicine usually work in private practice or in a hospital.
Specialists in laboratory medicine study the nature, cause, development, and effect of diseases in humans. They supervise laboratory activities and may act as consultants to other physicians. Pathologists and medical biochemists fall into this category. These specialists usually work in hospitals.
Specialists in surgery, of course, supervise and perform surgery. They must assess their patients to determine the appropriate procedures and also act as consultants to other physicians. This group includes general surgeons and specialized surgeons such as cardiac surgeons and orthopedic surgeons. Specialists in surgery usually work in hospitals.
Compassion, sensitivity, and a desire to help people are important. Physicians must take final responsibility for their decisions and the effects they have on patients' lives. Therefore, emotional stability, ethics, maturity, and good judgement are essential. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills are important. You should be able to inspire confidence and put people at ease. You must be willing to continually update your knowledge and skills. Good health and stamina may be needed, as physicians often work long hours.
Graduation from an approved medical school and specific specialty training are required for specialist physicians. You must be licensed by the provincial licensing authority in order to work as a specialist physician. Specialists in clinical medicine require four to five years of specialty residency training and an additional two years of subspecialty training may also be required. Specialists in laboratory medicine are required to have four to five years of specialty residency training. Specialists in surgery are required to have five to six years of specialty residency training and may require an additional two years of subspecialty training.
Most physicians are self-employed and administer their services through private practices. Most physicians are paid by fee-for-service, so earnings depend upon the fees paid by the government for various services and the number of patients served. Some physicians are paid through alternative funding plans.
Labour Market Information
The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is above average. This is a fairly large occupation in Nova Scotia, with employment around 1,400, and so job opportunities occur fairly regularly. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next five years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With 28% of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to contribute somewhat to employment opportunities over the coming years. Specialist Physicians may either be working full-time or part-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs may either be permanent or temporary positions, as both are common. Also, a fair portion (39%) of the workforce is self-employed, and so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.
The median employment income for 48% of individuals in this occupational group who worked full-time, year-round in 2010 was $92,234. The median income for the occupation overall was $89,647
(Source: 2011 National Household Survey)
|Estimated employment in 2011||Estimated change in employment between 2011 and 2016||Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2011-2016||Estimated rate of unemployment in 2014||Estimated hourly earnings in 2013|
|Area of Employment||% Employed|
|Industry of Employment||% Employed|
|Health Care and Social Assistance||92.4|
|Less than high school graduation certificate||0.0|
|High school graduation certificate or equivalent||0.0|
|Trades certificate or diploma||0.0|
|Non-university certificate or diploma||0.0|
|University certificate or diploma below bachelor||0.0|
|University bachelor's degree||4.9|
|University post graduate degrees||95.1|
Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.
Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.