Family Practitioner

Profession Overview

A family practitioner is a medical doctor that provides primary health care to everyone regardless of age.  They must be trained in general, pediatric, and geriatric medicine as well as preventative care.  They usually receive some training in OB/GYN care.  Family practitioners must be familiar will all specialties in order to treat the base level of their patient’s needs and be able to refer them to the proper specialists if needed.


Requirements to Become a Family Practitioner

To become a family practitioner all people must graduate high school or receive a GED and graduate college with an undergraduate degree.  The most common degree to receive is a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Biology, but there are other options such as Kinesiology.  It is not a requirement to have a certain major in college as long as you meet all the pre-requisites required by the medical schools you are applying to.

Physicians must graduate from a 4-year accredited medical school and will take courses in anatomy, physiology, biology, and chemistry of the human body that provides insight into all specialties in the field of medicine.  Medical schools provide students with rotations working in different specialties including cardiology, orthopedics, surgery, obstetrics, and gynecology.  After graduation from medical school, a 3-4 residency is required where new doctors or residents practice in their setting under the supervision of an attending physician and have rotations with obstetrics, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine, and inpatient hospital care.

New physicians must pass the Boards exam and become Board certified by an organization like the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) or the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).

There are additional optional fellowships that allow physicians to receive more training in certain subsets to become a specialist in sports medicine, emergency medicine, public health, pediatrics, and more.


Medical Schools in Louisiana

Louisiana State University School of Medicine New Orleans
1901 Perdido Street
New Orleans LA, 70112
(504) 568-4007

Tulane University School of Medicine
1430 Tulane Avenue
New Orleans LA, 70112
(504) 988-5263

Louisiana State University School of Medicine Shreveport
1501 Kings Highway
Shreveport LA, 71130
(318) 675-5000

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Louisiana Campus
4408 Bon Aire Drive
Monroe LA, 71203
(318) 342-7131



Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that this field will have a 4% growth by 2029.


Family practitioners can work in a large variety of locations that allow them to be accessible to a majority of people regardless of socioeconomic status.  Family practitioners can start their own private practice, but can also work in hospitals, specialized medical clinics, or urgent cares.

Typical Work Week

Family practitioners will work on average 50 hours per week and it is estimated that a large majority of their time is spent directly treating patients and that they will spend about 10 hours per week doing documentation or administrative work.  Because there is a variety of settings that these doctors can work in, there can be a larger variety of hours.  Private practices allow physicians to create their own schedules and they could work a more traditional 8 am to 5 pm work week Monday through Friday.  Other clinics will require longer days with the trade-off of not working as many days per week.  Depending on the setting, certain physicians may have to or choose to work on weekends.  When working in the hospital setting family practitioners may be required to work some nights or to be on-call.  On average family practitioners will see between 22 and 25 patients per day for short visits, while urgent cares will often see higher numbers.


The average salary in Louisiana is $205,097 with a salary range from $180,651 to $235,376.


Responsibilities and Daily Duties

Family care physicians are a combination of internal medicine doctors, pediatricians, and gerontologists.  They provide a majority of health care through routine check-ups or annuals and are the first resource for when their patients experience a medical problem.  It is their responsibility to screen their patients for health risks and provide information and guidance on living a healthy lifestyle to reduce those risks.  The family physician treats the patient as a whole and becomes familiar with their patients to help treat their specific needs.  Common conditions that family physicians often treat are lingering colds and cases of flu, allergies, and more chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.  They will help diagnose and then treat conditions specific to various age groups.  Family physicians can prescribe a patient’s medications, order tests for them, provide vaccinations, and monitor growth and health. Family physicians are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of more serious conditions and will refer their patients to specialists that have more training to treat the condition.


From the Professional


Professional Organizations

The American Board of Family Medicine

1648 McGrathiana Parkway Suite 550

Lexington, KY 40511

(877) 223-7437


The American Board of Physician Specialties

5550 West Executive Drive Suite 400

Tampa FL, 33609

(813) 433-2277