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Occupational Profile

Specialist Physician

Specialist physicians provide medical diagnosis and treatment services in a variety of specific areas including clinical medicine, laboratory medicine and surgery.

  • Avg. Salary $62,655.00
  • Avg. Wage $31.72
  • Minimum Education 8+ years post-secondary
  • Outlook Up
  • Employed 5,400
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Cardiologist, Doctor, Oncologist, Pathologist, Pediatrician, Psychiatrist, Specialist in Geriatric Medicine, Sport Medicine Physician, Surgeon

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Specialist Physician is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Specialists in Clinical Medicine
NOC code: 3111.1
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information about patients' conditions by ordering and interpreting laboratory tests, X-rays and other diagnostic procedures; may conduct medical research

SOCIAL

Interest in mentoring patients by providing treatment for physiological and psychiatric disorders

DIRECTIVE

Interest in precision working to prescribe drugs and treatments, and refer patients for surgery; and in acting as consultants to other physicians

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Specialists in Laboratory Medicine
NOC code: 3111.2
INNOVATIVE

Interest in mentoring by conducting research to further medical knowledge about the structural and functional changes caused by diseases

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to conduct microscopic and chemical analyses of laboratory samples and specimens

DIRECTIVE

Interest in co-ordinating the supervision of laboratory activities; and in acting as consultants to other physicians

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Specialists in Surgery
NOC code: 3111.3
INNOVATIVE

Interest in mentoring by assessing patients' diseases and disorders to determine appropriate surgical procedures

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to perform surgical procedures to correct physical abnormalities and deficiencies and repair injuries

DIRECTIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to supervise surgical procedures; and in acting as consultants to other physicians

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Specialist physicians diagnose and treat patients in a variety of specific medical areas related to both physical and mental health.

In general, specialist physicians may:

  • assess and diagnose health problems and illnesses related to their area of specialization
  • order, perform and interpret medical, laboratory diagnostic and screening tests
  • determine appropriate treatments which may include lifestyle change, surgery, medication, or more complex treatment or rehabilitation programs
  • perform and supervise surgical procedures, depending on their speciality
  • serve as a consultant to other physicians
  • counsel patients on preventative health care and lifestyle including diet and activity
  • plan and conduct medical laboratory experiments and conduct research on the nature, cause and development of diseases in humans
  • participate in health care teams and co-ordinate their work with other physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers
  • attend meetings with clinic or hospital staff to discuss treatment plans and progress
  • educate and train students
  • sit on university committees and research grant panels
  • act as advocates for patients and help create, organize and implement changes in communities to improve overall health
  • maintain comprehensive medical records.

Specific duties and responsibilities vary depending on the type of position and specialty.

There are many areas physicians can specialize in. Some common specialties include anesthesia, cardiology, emergency medicine, geriatrics, gynecology and obstetrics, intensive care, internal medicine, neurology, pediatrics, psychiatry and surgery. For a current list of specialties in Alberta and Canada, see the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) websites.

For a more complete list of the different specialist physicians included under the National Occupation Classification code 3111, please visit the Employment and Social Development Canada website.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Specialist physicians' working conditions depend on the type of position they hold and their area of specialization. They are more likely than family physicians to work in hospitals or specialized clinics, though some may work in private practices, universities, laboratories and community settings. The work is rewarding, but can be challenging and emotionally demanding.

Specialist physicians often work very long hours. They may work rotating shifts or be on call or be required to travel in case of medical emergencies. They generally spend part of their time standing to examine, treat or perform and supervise surgical procedures. The remainder of their time is spent at a desk completing paperwork.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Specialist physicians need the following characteristics:

  • the intellectual ability required to successfully complete the required academic training and to continue learning life long
  • the ability to get along with people and instill confidence
  • the stamina required to work long hours
  • high ethical standards
  • good powers of observation
  • the ability to stay calm under pressure
  • emotional strength, maturity, empathy and patience
  • a genuine interest in people and desire to help them
  • high tolerance for uncertainty
  • strong communication, teaching and leadership skills
  • the ability to work effectively and collaboratively as part of a team.

They should enjoy finding solutions to problems, dealing with people and coordinating the work of others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Specialist physicians must complete:

  1. pre-medicine studies at the university level
  2. pass the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT)
  3. complete a four to five year Medical Doctor (MD) degree program at an accredited university
  4. complete four to five years of post graduate specialty residency training
  5. two years of sub specialty training may also be required.

Because MD programs are quota programs, many applicants who fulfill the entrance requirements cannot be accepted. Successful applicants are selected on the basis of:

  • academic grades
  • citizenship
  • non-academic criteria including personal activities, letters of recommendation and personal interviews
  • the results of the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

After successfully completing an MD program, candidates who want to be a specialist physician must train for an additional five to seven years to become licensed for independent practice.


Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

University of Alberta

University of Calgary


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Physician, Surgeon and Osteopath

Physicians and surgeons assess the physical, mental and psychosocial condition of individuals to establish a diagnosis; assist individuals to make informed choices about medical and surgical treatments; treat physical, mental and psychosocial conditions; promote wellness, injury avoidance, disease prevention and cure through research and education; and engage in research, education and administration with respect to health. Osteopaths use manual techniques to assess, diagnose and treat diseases, disorders and dysfunctions of the body's structure.

Legislation

Under Alberta's Health Professions Act and Physicians, Surgeons and Osteopaths Profession Regulation, you must be a registered member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) to practice medicine in Alberta.

Education

Registration requires successful completion of: (1) an approved medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree, (2) two years of acceptable post-graduate training in family medicine or four or more years of acceptable post-graduate training in a specialization, and (3) approved examinations. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, visit the CPSA website or contact CPSA.

Working in Alberta

Physicians, surgeons and osteopaths who are registered by and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered physicians, surgeons and osteopaths in the two jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

To find more information on the certification process for internationally educated physicians, surgeons and osteopaths, see General Practitioner & Family Physician Licensing Process and Specialist Physician Licensing Process on the AlbertaCanada.com website.

Contact Details

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
2700, 10020 - 100 Street NW
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada  T5J 0N3
Phone number: 780-423-4764
Toll-free phone number (within Alberta): 1-800-561-3899
Fax number: 780-420-0651
Website: www.cpsa.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Most specialist physicians are self-employed. Many specialist physcians work in hospitals or are employed by regional health authorities. Others are employed in:

  • medical research companies
  • university and colleges
  • pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
  • rehabilitation centres
  • public health and community agencies
  • occupational medicine
  • health administration
  • overseas service
  • military service
  • medical clinics.

Experienced specialist physicians may advance to management positions. With additional training, they may specialize in other areas such as sports medicine. For a current list of recognized specializations, see the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) websites.

In Alberta, 91% of people employed as specialist physicians work in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation

Over 6,300 Albertans are employed in the Specialist physicians occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.6% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 227 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Specialist physicians in private practice are self-employed. Their incomes vary considerably depending on location, specialty, number of patient visits and the cost of running a medical office.

Specialist physicians
NOC code: 3111

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
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  • Median
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Overall
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Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $17.58 $35.78 $23.44 $22.21
Overall $26.38 $45.06 $31.72 $29.25
Top $29.33 $59.43 $39.76 $37.02

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

N/A

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
  • Health, Recreation and Human Services
    • Health Care Services
    • Human and Social Services
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 10, 2017

Alberta Medical Association (AMA) website: www.albertadoctors.org

College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) website: www.cpsa.ca

Medical Council of Canada (MCC) website: www.mcc.ca

Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) website: www.royalcollege.ca

 

 

 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 24, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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