Content updated Nov 4, 2021, by Riley Nisbet

While pediatricians work with children and internists work with adults, family physicians work with all age groups and provide care for a broad range of symptoms and illnesses. Also referred to as primary care physicians, a family physician will work with a patient over the course of his or her life. The bond formed during this time can help the physician to learn valuable information about the patient. This insight can better help physicians to determine a course of care they provide a patient and what considerations must be made when deciding on treatments, medications, or in making referrals.  

Keep reading below for more on this specialty. 


Family Medicine Residency: Requirements and Stats

Medical graduates interested in becoming family physicians will need to complete a three-year stint in residency. A majority of these years will be spent in outpatient settings. 

During the 2020-2021 Match cycle, 4,823 residency positions in family medicine were offered. Of these, 4,472, positions were filled.  

Family medicine is also one of the friendliest specialties for both U.S.- and non-U.S.-IMGs. Based on total IMGs accepted, family medicine ranked second only to internal medicine for both IMG types. International medical graduates attributed to 1,224 of the family medicine spots filled, just under a third of all positions. Family medicine is the second most popular medical specialty for international medical students looking to be matched. 

Additional data on the 2021 Main Residency Match can be found here. 


Practicing as a Family Physician  

According to 2019 data from the American Association of Medical colleges, there are 118,198 practicing family physicians in the U.S. Although this number has remained steady in the last few years, population growth and retiring physicians that outpace incoming physicians has accelerated a shortage of primary care physicians in the U.S.  

Fewer and fewer medical students and graduates are interested in pursuing the specialty as it has a broader, more general than the specific focus of other medical specialties. As of 2020, the average salary for a family physician is $234,000, which is less than that of other medical specialties. However, it is up from previous years. 

Although the shortage of family physicians is currently around 21,000, studies show this shortage is expected to more than double by 2033 to over 55,000. This means that family medicine will continue to be an in-demand specialty, especially for IMGs. 

Are you interested in a clinical experience focused on family medicine? Create a free AMO account to explore our family medicine programs.