As crucial members of the healthcare team, general practitioners assume multiple roles – from diagnosing common ailments to offering continuous care for chronic diseases. They also play a pivotal role in educating and guiding patients on how to manage their conditions and how to lead a more healthy lifestyle. Moreover, they function as bridges, connecting patients with specialists when their care needs exceed their expertise. Therefore, becoming a general practitioner is a noble pursuit that leads to a rewarding and fulfilling career. But what do the general practitioner’s salary and job outlook look like?

In this comprehensive blog, we’ll delve deeper into the expected salaries for general practitioners in 2024, explore factors that influence these figures, and discuss options for maximizing earnings and advancing in this rewarding profession. Whether you’re an aspiring general practitioner or an experienced practitioner, understanding these dynamics can help you navigate your career path more effectively. 

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Understanding the Basics

General practitioners are pivotal in the healthcare system for several reasons. They serve as the initial point of contact for patients seeking medical services, offering guidance on a wide scope of health issues and providing comprehensive care. In addition, they take a proactive approach to healthcare by administering vaccinations, conducting health screenings, and offering lifestyle advice to prevent diseases. This emphasis on preventive health underscores their commitment to the well-being of their patients. For patients with ongoing conditions like hypertension, asthma, or diabetes, general practitioners oversee long-term monitoring and adjust treatment based on patient progress. 

So, what does the path to becoming a general practitioner entail? It starts with earning a bachelor’s degree, followed by a pivotal step of earning a medical degree. After graduating from medical school, you must complete a residency program, which can take three to four years. To become a practicing physician in the U.S., you must also pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Moreover, you must obtain board certification from relevant boards, such as the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), the American Board of General Practice (ABGP), or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). 

Since, as a general practitioner, you’ll interact with a wide range of patients every day, they must possess exceptional interpersonal skills. Some other core skills you must possess to succeed as a general practitioner include:

  • Attention to detail;
  • Customer service;
  • Leadership;
  • Problem-solving skills;
  • Observation skills;
  • IT skills;
  • Having patience and remaining calm in stressful situations;
  • Effective verbal and written communication skills;
  • Empathy and compassion.

What Is a General Practitioner?

A primary care physician specializing in general practice, a general practitioner, often referred to as a GP, is primarily trained in preventive and public health but can also diagnose and treat patients from birth to old age. This broad scope of practice allows them to diagnose and provide treatment for a wide array of acute and chronic diseases that may affect the community. Moreover, they can provide continuous service throughout a patient’s life so they’re able to develop long-standing relationships with their patients and monitor their health and overall well-being. 

In the U.S., general practitioners are medical doctors who have completed the basic educational and training requirements for becoming health practitioners without seeking further specialization. When working in a rural community, general practitioners can play different roles, such as internists, obstetricians, surgeons, or whatever medical role is currently needed. On the other hand, when working in urban areas, they focus on chronic health problems and treat non-threatening diseases. 

General practitioners can work in various healthcare settings. They can be in a private practice or at a larger hospital practice with multiple physicians. General practitioners can also work in hospitals in departments like emergency medicine, where they can provide life-saving treatment until emergency services arrive. They can also work in clinics and provide accessible healthcare services to patients. Some general practitioners can also provide home visit services, especially for patients with mobility issues or in palliative care. Increasingly, general practitioners are incorporating telehealth services, providing consultations and follow-up care over the phone or through a video call. 

What Does a General Practitioner Do?

General practitioners can offer a comprehensive range of medical services, focusing on overall patient health and preventive care. Some of the medical services they can provide include:

  • Conducting regular health assessments and physical exams to monitor patient health;
  • Administering immunizations;
  • Diagnosing and managing acute and chronic conditions, such as diabetes, colds, and blood pressure;
  • Ordering and reviewing blood work and taking patient vital signs;
  • Referring patients to a specialist when care needs exceed their expertise;
  • Providing patients and their families with information about their health conditions, available treatment options, and potential risks;
  • Advocating for patients and helping them make informed decisions about their health;
  • Coordinating healthcare with other professionals;
  • Identifying and addressing mental health concerns. 

As we’ve mentioned above, general practitioners treat and manage a wide variety of medical issues. But what are some of them? The most common health issues encountered in general practice include:

  • Diseases of the lymphatic system;
  • Diseases of the musculoskeletal system, such as back pain, diseases of the spinal column, arthritis, or knee pain;
  • Cardiovascular diseases such as spider veins, thrombosis, varicose veins, and chronic venous insufficiency;
  • Mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, or stress-related disorders;
  • Skin conditions like acne, eczema, and fungal infections;
  • Hormonal, nutritional, and metabolic diseases;
  • Sleep disorders like insomnia and apnea;
  • Diseases of the respiratory tract, like colds, flu, or bronchitis. 

General Practitioner Salary in 2024

The annual salary for general practitioners depends on location, experience, and specialization. As of the latest data, the average wage is approximately $230,390, with the range falling between $199,490 and $257,690. Let’s explore the factors that influence this compensation.

  • Geographic Location: Your earning potential as a general practitioner varies dramatically from one state to another. This is due to a combination of living expenses, state economy, and local market conditions. While coastal regions and metropolitan areas often provide higher salaries due to the high cost of living, rural areas aim to attract physicians with competitive compensation packages and benefits. 
  • Years of Experience: If you have a higher level of experience and a proven track of service, you can expect higher compensation. While you may have a lower starting salary at the beginning, there’s a high potential to scale upward as you gain knowledge and expertise.
  • Specialization: Your salary as a general practitioner can increase significantly as you gain specialized skills and knowledge in a specific area of medicine. As a general practitioner, you can specialize in sports medicine, diabetes, palliative care, adolescent health, etc. 

There’s a wide range of occupations that you may consider within healthcare. Therefore, understanding the differences in expected salary can help you decide which career pathway is right for you. Here are the average salaries for various healthcare occupations with similar roles.

Salary Growth and Career Advancement

Salary Growth and Career Advancement

Working as a general practitioner, you have numerous opportunities for salary growth and career advancement throughout your career. As mentioned above, general practitioner salaries typically start lower but increase steadily as you gain advanced skills and expertise. Besides years of experience, obtaining additional certifications is another significant factor that can increase your salary. If you’re ABFM board-certified, you can pursue additional certification in addiction medicine, brain injury medicine, clinical informatics, and emergency medical services. 

Another way to increase your earning potential as a general practitioner is to advance your career through specializations, administrative roles, and leadership positions in healthcare organizations. As a general practitioner, you can move into administrative roles such as a medical director or a department head in hospitals and clinics. These roles typically involve overseeing medical staff and managing operations and may come with higher salaries and additional responsibilities. Furthermore, as you gain experience, you can move into leadership positions such as chief medical officer (CMO) or chief executive officer (CEO). These positions offer significant career advancement and salary growth potential. 


General practitioners play an indispensable role in ensuring the health and well-being of communities. They deliver a diverse array of services, from preventive care to the management of chronic and acute conditions. This comprehensive approach allows general practitioners to provide continuous care, significantly improving health outcomes and fostering long-term patient relationships.

In this blog, we’ve explored how a general practitioner’s salary depends on factors such as experience, geographic location, and additional certifications. Therefore, you have significant opportunities for salary growth and career advancement. 

If you’re considering a career in medicine, becoming a general practitioner offers a unique opportunity to make a profound impact on individual lives and public health. So, take the first steps toward this rewarding career and explore how a medical degree can shape your future as a general practitioner. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest salary for a general practitioner?

The highest salary of general practitioners is $257,690.

Is a medical doctor the same as a general practitioner?

A medical doctor is a general term for anyone who has earned a medical degree and is licensed to practice medicine. A general practitioner, on the other hand, is a specific type of medical doctor who delivers primary care and provides treatment for a wide range of medical issues. Therefore, while all general practitioners are medical doctors, not all medical doctors are general practitioners. 

How to become a general practitioner?

To become a general practitioner, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree, pass the MCAT, attend medical school, complete a residency program, and obtain licensure and board certification. 

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