Preventive Medicine Physicians fall into the Social Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory®. This inventory and its associated assessment were developed in 1927 to help job seekers find fulfilling careers in a simple, two-step process. First, individuals take an assessment that analyzes their personal and vocational preferences. Then, the Inventory® uses that analysis to match them with one or more of six categories of careers that will likely be a good fit. For example, Social careers generally appeal to people who derive fulfillment from improving others’ quality of life. They enjoy interacting with people and caring for their physical or emotional needs.
Preventive Medicine Physicians apply their knowledge of public health and medicine to prevent disease, injury, disability, or death. This could take the form of population-level initiatives or interventions, or simply educating or treating individual patients. The first step of this process is to identify at-risk groups as well as the diseases or injuries to which they may be susceptible, perhaps by performing epidemiological investigations of chronic and acute diseases or conducting other population-level studies. Then, they design and implement interventions to address the causes of those diseases, whether they are behavioral (e.g., washing hands) or other, in addition to any surveillance tools that might be used to identify health risks.
From there, Preventive Medicine Physicians may direct or manage prevention programs or public health programs with topics relevant to their study, such as preventable diseases, injuries, nutrition, food sanitation, water supply safety, sewage and waste disposal, and immunizations. Throughout this process, they may need to supervise other specialists, including physicians, nurses, statisticians or other staff members. After the intervention, Preventive Medicine Physicians then need to evaluate how effective their prescribed risk reduction measures were.
In addition to their everyday duties, Preventive Medicine Physicians may also communicate with the media or local, state and federal health authorities to provide information about potential health hazards and possible interventions. They need to be comfortable delivering presentations to a wide range of audiences, from laypeople to professionals.
Successful Preventive Medicine Physicians use a wide array of hardware and software. Hardware may be related to providing medical care (e.g., stethoscopes, medical syringes, eye wash stations, hyperbaric chambers, oxygen masks), or may have more specialized applications (e.g., decontamination showers, specimen collection containers). Software may be analytical (e.g., SAS, MATLAB), database related (e.g., Tidepool Scientific Software Comprehensive Environmental Toxicity Information System CETIS), or medical (e.g., Patient Electronic Medical Record EMR), or may be related to standard office operations (e.g., Microsoft Office Suite, Scheduling software, email, web browsers). Regardless, these professionals need to be able to learn new software and apply their skills relatively quickly.
The vast majority of Preventive Medicine Physicians hold a doctoral degree and/or post-doctoral training (96%), while the remaining 4% hold another professional degree. They need to have expertise in biology, medicine, and dentistry, and also need to be strong communicators in English and any other relevant languages. In addition, Preventive Medicine Physicians should be skilled enough to solve problems and understand large amounts of information quickly, as well as gather and convey technical details in a variety of forms; the lives of many people could depend on the timing and clarity of their communication.
The average Preventive Medicine Physician Salary is $96.58 hourly, which comes to over $200,000 per year. The median in many states is over $208,000, and even the bottom 10% still earn over $100,000 annually. These high salaries reflect the high and growing demand for their expertise—projected growth over the next decade is faster than average, with an estimated rate of 7-10%. The most populous states of New York, California, and Florida are projected to add over 4,500 jobs each year over the next decade, while several other states, including Arizona, are projected to experience growth rates over 25%.
Below are some employment trends for Preventive Medicine Physicians.
- Preventive Medicine Physician Salary: $96.58 hourly; $200,890 annually
- Employment: 434,000 employees
- Projected growth (2018-2028): Faster than average (7-10%)
- Projected job openings (2018-2028): 16,500
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections Onetonline.org