Difference Between Physician and Doctor

When people fall sick, the most common statement they hear from people is, “consult a doctor”. This can be experienced for all issues.


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When one feels unwell or feels that there is something incorrect with their body, they consult a physician. The physician observes the symptoms and then plans the treatment.

Doctors and Physicians are both confused for one another. Both physicians and doctors practice medicine.

They help to restore, maintain, and promote good health. They guide patients, determine a patient’s illness, implement treatment plans, etc.

However, the two terms differ. Right from the cost of becoming a doctor or physician to the salary received by them, or the number of years required to be invested, there are differences between a doctor and a physician.

Physician vs Doctor

The difference between physician and doctor is that ‘All physicians are doctors, but not all doctors are physicians.’ A physician is a person who has finished his training to provide health management and health care. He is basically a medical doctor. On the other hand, any person who has completed a doctoral degree is known as a doctor.

Physician vs Doctor


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonPhysicianDoctor
Job functionsA physician works in connection with a doctor.A doctor works independently.
SalaryOn average, a physician earns $86,000- $120,000 per year.On average, a doctor earns $200,000-$300,000 per year.
TreatmentPhysicians use medication and drugs to cure patients.Doctors use full-scale medical procedures and surgeries to treat patients.
DutiesA few of the physician’s duties are: guiding patients, determining a patient’s illness, implementing treatment plans, etc.A doctor performs all the duties of a physician and some major duties as well such as surgeries.
Time requiredIt requires fewer years of education and training to become a physician as compared to a doctor.It requires more years of training and education to become a doctor. It may take 10-14 years to become a licensed doctor.


What is a Physician?

Physicians are qualified specialists who are trained to provide health care to people. They use non-surgical ways to cure others.

They use drugs and medication to treat people. That does not mean that they are not practical.

There are two groups of physicians- Specialist physicians and General physicians. As the name suggests, a general physician is not skilled in just one area.

They can treat illnesses, but if any more medical help is required, they might have to refer to the specialist physicians. Physicians are given comprehensive training, which helps them to choose the appropriate drugs and medication that are necessary to treat and prevent diseases.

They can deal with all medical issues. They also have high skills in making clinical decisions.

Physicians have many responsibilities and tasks to complete. They review a patients’ medical history, identify the symptoms that are present, and determine the health disorders, injuries, and diseases.

They prescribe the necessary treatments and ensure that the patient is following the treatment. To manage and instruct the health team to implement patient care is also the responsibility of the physician.

To become a physician, one has to get a four years undergraduate degree, followed by a 27-month course of a physician program. One-year clinical rotation is required to become a licensed physician.


What is a Doctor?

Most people believe that the term Doctor is associated with someone who is practicing medicine. However, this is not true.

A doctor is a broad term. It is not merely restricted to someone practicing medicine.

There are people who do not have the qualifications of practicing medicine, but they are still referred to as Doctors. A doctor is a person who has completed any doctorate degree.

There are numerous doctorate degrees available, such as a doctor of fine arts, doctor of engineering, doctor of public health, doctor of public administration, and so on. If we talk about the medical field, a Doctor is any person who restores a person’s health by practicing medicine.

They guide patients, determine a patient’s illness, implement treatment plans, etc. There are many categories of doctors such as an oncologist, dermatologists, dentists, pediatricians, physician, orthopedist, and so on.

To become a doctor, one has to get a four years undergraduate degree, then two years for a medical degree, followed by a few years of residency training. One has to put in many years of education and training to become a licensed doctor.

Doctors can work in a hospital or they can work in a community. Some can even choose to pursue a career in academia, by teaching other students.


Difference Between Physician and Doctor

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