14 Interesting Careers in Medicine With Duties and Salaries
Updated 7 September 2023
A man wearing scrubs, a mask and a telescope holds a clipboard, standing next to a list entitled, "Interesting careers in medicine" that includes these jobs:
Family medicine physician
Emergency medicine physician
If you're interested in becoming a doctor, you can choose from many career options. Choosing a medical specialisation that would allow you to use your strengths in real-life situations could help you succeed professionally and find treating people more enjoyable. To know which career path to choose, it's important that you review some common duties of each profession and consider how much you can make in them. In this article, we list 14 examples of careers in medicine, explain their primary duties and mention how much you can make on average in each of them.
What are careers in medicine?
Careers in medicine typically refer to roles that involve practices of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. Some medical professionals, such as nephrologists or cardiologists, specialise in performing surgeries or treating only selected parts of a human body. Selected careers in medicine may also focus on treating patients of a certain age, for example, paediatricians who treat children or geriatricians who work with elders. It's common for doctors who are generalists to work in family medicine or emergency medicine.
14 interesting medical careers
Here are 14 interesting careers that you can consider if your goal is to become a doctor:
National average salary: £27,466 per year
Primary duties: A family medicine physician is a general practitioner (GP) who provides medical care and focuses on meeting the needs of the entire family. Typically, they train to understand how to care for their patients throughout their entire lives, from birth to old age. It's common that a family medicine physician is both a paediatrician and an internist at once. Their primary duties include managing common health complaints, recognising important diseases, performing routine check-ups or helping their patients manage acute and chronic illnesses.
National average salary: £31,785 per year
Primary duties: A podiatrist is a medical professional who specialises in diagnosing, treating and preventing abnormal conditions of the feet and legs. They commonly treat calluses or corns and help patients with other foot problems that may cause discomfort or pain. Typically, they may prescribe medication or perform foot surgeries. Many doctors of podiatric medicine are physicians and surgeons in one, offering complex care and treatment of the foot.
National average salary: £55,920 per year
Primary duties: An emergency medicine physician is a professional who works in an emergency department. Typically, they're the first medical specialist who treats patients after a variety of emergent situations, such as strokes or car accidents. Their primary responsibility is to resuscitate and stabilise a patient before transferring them to an appropriate endpoint, such as the ICU, another hospital or home.
National average salary: £58,855 per year
Primary duties: A geriatrician is a doctor who specialises in treating and caring for seniors. Their primary responsibilities include diagnosing and treating issues related to the five most common geriatric issues, which are impaired intellect, memory loss, immobility, instability or incontinence. Geriatricians work to improve the everyday life quality of older patients by choosing treatments for their medical and psychosocial problems.
National average salary: £60,810 per year
Primary duties: Neurologists are doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect the brain, nerves, spinal cord and muscles. On a daily basis, they meet with patients to examine their mental and physical state or qualify them for surgeries. Neurosurgeons, who are surgeons who specialise in neurology, also perform complex surgeries to fix problems related to the patients' nervous system. If you're passionate about how the brain works, detail-oriented and ambitious about continuous professional growth, becoming a neurologist or neurosurgeon might be a perfect challenge for your career in medicine.
Related: What is a neurologist consultant?
National average salary: £66,542 per year
Primary duties: A radiologist is a medical professional who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries. In their work, they use many medical imaging techniques, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). They connect medical images of patients to other tests and recommend further examinations. Radiologists work alongside other doctors, such as oncologists, and treat some forms of cancer or other diseases that may be fixed with radiation or nuclear medicine.
National average salary: £68,071 per year
Primary duties: A paediatrician is a medical professional who specialises in treating the diseases of children. Their primary duties include administering treatment or vaccinations, prescribing medication, preventing illnesses or treating injuries. Most paediatricians also perform regular examinations to assess the growth and development of the child. Working in paediatrics might be a great choice for you if you're a generalist who'd enjoy working with children and managing their physical and mental care.
Related: What Is a Paediatrician?
National average salary: £75,412 per year
Primary duties: A surgeon is a doctor whose primary duty is to perform surgeries on patients. They typically split their time between office work and working in hospitals or clinics where they carry out medical procedures. Surgeons are experts at diagnosing illnesses and injuries and using surgical tools to fix or remove parts of the body. They also develop post-operative care plans and may work with other healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists or anaesthesiologists.
National average salary: £79,391 per year
Primary duties: A cardiologist is a medical professional who specialises in studying, preventing and treating disorders of the heart and blood vessels. On a typical day, cardiologists examine patients and perform routine or emergency heart surgeries. It's also common for them to help their patients develop ongoing treatment plans. For example, they may help manage treatment for people who have suffered from heart attacks, murmurs or hypertension.
National average salary: £87,476 per year
Primary duties: A dermatologist is a medical professional who specialises in evaluating patients' skin. Dermatologists have expert knowledge of skin diseases and focus on treating skin health conditions. They record their patients' health histories and diagnose conditions such as acne, dandruff or psoriasis. Some dermatologists may work alongside oncologists to treat complex cases of skin cancer, carry out procedures to remove cancerous moles or perform cosmetic skin grafting surgeries.
Related: What does a dermatologist do?
National average salary: £87,583 per year
Primary duties: A psychiatrist is a doctor who evaluates, diagnoses and treats patients with mental, behavioural or emotional issues. Their primary responsibilities include meeting with patients to observe and evaluate their disorders and developing treatment plans, which may include psychotherapy. Psychiatrists may also administer medication that would alleviate their patients' mental distress. They need strong active listening, observation and communication skills. It's also important that they are empathetic, which helps them educate patients and their families about diagnosis and treatment.
Related: 15 Skills You Need as a Doctor
12. Plastic surgeon
National average salary: £91,285 per year
Primary duties: A plastic surgeon is a doctor who performs reconstructive surgeries. They typically help patients with birth defects or after injuries to change their appearance. As a plastic surgeon, you may choose to specialise in performing craniofacial surgeries, which puts focus on reconstructing the face, including the skull or parts of the mouth. You may also choose to work exclusively with cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentations or rhinoplasties.
National average salary: £93,809 per year
Primary duties: An anaesthesiologist is a medical professional who takes care of patients before, during and after surgeries or complex medical procedures. They typically lead an anaesthesia care team and ensure the maximum safety of patients. Their primary responsibility is providing general anaesthesia to patients for operations. Many anaesthesiologists also deal with pain management or intensive care of patients.
National average salary: £94,807 per year
Primary duties: A nephrologist is a doctor who specialises in nephrology or renal medicine, which is an internal medicine field focused on kidney care. The primary responsibilities of a nephrologist are evaluating kidneys, interpreting blood results, recommending dialysis or prescribing medication to improve kidney functions. Many nephrologists also focus on managing a wide range of systemic disorders that may cause kidney malfunction, such as hypertension or diabetes.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
Explore more articles
- 11 types of administration jobs (plus roles and salaries)
- A detailed guide on going from self-employed to employed
- 8 popular construction trades (with salaries and duties)
- How to become a cloud consultant (with steps and skills)
- How to find a headhunter to get a job (with steps and tips)
- 15 Sales Jobs That Pay Well
- Electrical design engineer courses list (plus definition)
- How to track my job applications: with steps and tips
- Informatics nurse: role description, duties and FAQs
- How to get music apprenticeships (with benefits and tips)
- Director vs manager (list of differences and similarities)
- Applying to jobs: a comprehensive step-by-step guide