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Working as a Physician [NOC 3112]

Job Description

Working as a general practitioner and family physician, your duties may include:

  • Assess patients to diagnose problems
  • Recommend treatment, such as medication, surgery, or rehabilitation
  • Treat patients or refer them to other health care workers
  • Provide emergency care
  • Perform and assist in routine surgery
  • Deliver babies and provide pre-natal and post-natal care
  • Specialize in a particular area of medicine

Sources:  WorkBC & Career Cruising [Profile for Doctor]

Related occupations include:

  • Allied primary health practitioners (3124)
  • Chiropractors (3122)
  • Managers in health care (0311)
  • Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating (3125)
  • Specialist physicians (3111)

Source: NOC 3112

Industry Overview

Industry sources report that there is a strong demand for general practitioners [GPs] throughout British Columbia due to a growing and aging population. Smaller, northern, rural communities are in particular need of GPs.

In response to this shortage, the Government of British Columbia has increased opportunities for medical education by establishing two medical programs at the University of Victoria and at the University of Northern British Columbia.  Even so, there are still not enough graduates to replace the family physicians who retire every year. As a result, B.C. is increasingly dependent on importing physicians from other Canadian and international jurisdictions.

If you move to rural communities to practise you may receive incentives such as signing bonuses, student loan reductions, fee-for-service and flat sum premiums, or travel subsidies.

Job Outlook in BC (2017-2027)

forecasted average employment growth rate, job openings, composition of job openings

Chart from WorkBC

WorkBC provides job openings in BC regions from 2017-2027:

Region Employment
in 2017
Average Annual Employment
Number of Job Openings
Vancouver Island 1,210 1.6% 640
Lower Mainland / Southwest 4,160 2.2% 1,840
Thompson-Okanagan 640 0.8% 180
Kootenay 360 1.0% 110
Cariboo 150 1.8% 60
North Coast & Nechako 100 2.6% 50
Northeast 130 1.3% 50

You can learn more about working as a physician in BC from:

  • Career Cruising [profile for Doctor]
    Available from the VPL Digital Library | Explore our Digital Library page

Types of Employers

General practitioners and family physicians usually work in private practice, including group or team practices, hospitals, and clinics.

Senior physicians may also work as hospital administrators, teach and / or conduct research at educational institutions, or work for government health authorities and other health related organizations.


The median annual salary for physicians in BC is $102,116.

Most general practitioners are self-employed, which means you run your own clinic or office. You are paid directly by the government, and the amount you make depends on how many patients you see and the medical procedures you perform. If you are self-employed you spend some of your income on office expenses, supplies, insurance premiums and staff, therefore; your net income is less than the amount received from the government.

If work for hospitals and other medical organizations you will likely receive benefits in addition to your salary. Benefits may include health and life insurance, pension plans, and paid vacation and sick days. If you are self-employed you must supply your own benefits.

From WorkBC and Career Cruising database.

General Practitioners and Family Physicians in BC’s regions can expect to earn:
BC regional annual salaries; low, median, high
Source:  Job Bank Wage Report [Search 3112]

Working Hours

Physicians often work irregular hours, including nights and weekends. You may also be on-call 24 hours a day when required to respond to emergencies. Resident physicians generally work long hours, which could be up to 60 hours per week.

Skills, Education and Experience


  • strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • strong analytical skills and a background in the sciences
  • energetic personality
  • patient, compassionate and enjoy helping people of all ages and backgrounds
  • willing to keep up-to-date with rapid changes in the field of health
  • decisive and able to work under stress

Education and Experience

Physicians require:

  • A doctor of medicine degree (MD) is required, which takes at least three years of undergraduate studies, as well as four years of medical school
  • Two years of accredited residency training
  • Completion of the qualifying examinations of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC Evaluating Examination, MCC Qualifying Examination Parts 1 & 2)
  • Continuing medical education and professional development are required throughout your career


Physician is a regulated profession in British Columbia

In British Columbia, registration with the College of Physicians & Surgeons of British Columbia (CPSBC) is mandatory.

  • Licensing & registration can be found at CPSBC

Family physicians must also pass a national exam administered by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

International Medical Graduates (IMG)

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia welcomes applications from physicians who have obtained their medical degree from a medical school listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools which include the Canadian sponsor note.

International medical graduates (IMGs) are often registered in the provisional class as an interim step so that you can apply your knowledge and skill while under supervision. To advance to the full register, a registrant in the provisional class must complete Canadian qualifying exams or be eligible to participate in a comprehensive workplace assessment within a specified period of time.

IMGs who are not eligible for full or provisional registration, but who wish to enter a postgraduate training program in British Columbia, may apply to be registered as a clinical trainee, which can improve the likelihood of acceptance into a Canadian residency program. This licence allows you to obtain educational experience in Canada by permitting you to observe and learn in a practice setting under another physician’s direct supervision, to a maximum of three years in total. Registrants in this class are not eligible for independent practice.

IMG family physicians who are initially screened by Health Match BC may qualify for selection in the Practice Ready Assessment – British Columbia (PRA-BC) program. Contact Health Match BC to discuss whether you are eligible to apply for entry into the PRA-BC program.

More information:

The Medical Council of Canada (MCC) is responsible for the provision of the examinations which form the basic standard for qualification to practise medicine in Canada. Further information:

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, trade journals, and electronic sources, as well as through professional associations’ publications.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

Regional Health Authority Career Postings:

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For physicians, look for these related job titles (from NOC):

  • family physician
  • general practitioner (GP)
  • medical doctor
  • resident, general practice

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers who work in the healthcare sector in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring. You can photocopy from the print directories at Central Library, or use the online directories from a computer connected to the Internet.

  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “physicians” or “hospitals” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume or curriculum vitae and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.
Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, see the following:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Associations for physicians in BC and Canada provide information and assistance.  Registration and fees are usually required for membership.

  • HealthMatch BC
    Health care recruitment service funded by the Government of British Columbia. It recruits on behalf of over 100 health care facilities across the province.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. Examples at the Central Library: