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What Is an Occupational Medicine Physician and How to Become One

Occupational Medicine Physician

What Is an Occupational Medicine Physician?

An occupational medicine physician is an MD who assesses and treats patients who have an injury or disease that is work-related. Occupational medicine physicians also perform health screenings on behalf of employers who want to confirm that new employees are medically fit to perform rigorous job duties. Occupational medicine physicians advise employers on public health and workplace safety including physical and chemical hazards. Companies may hire an occupational medicine physician to review patient health and working conditions in worker’s compensation claims and to determine the severity of a workplace injury.

How to Become an Occupational Medicine Physician

The primary qualifications for becoming an occupational medicine physician are a master's degree in a relevant medical field and obtaining any licenses required in your area. Many physicians continue their education to get a doctorate, and this can help maximize your job opportunities. While the degree and the license are enough to get a job, previous experience with preventative health, workplace safety, management of employees, or handling illness can help you stand out from other physicians. Fulfilling the responsibilities and duties of an occupational medicine physician requires flexibility, communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to travel to a workplace and identify hazards for your client.