How to be a Physiatrist (PM&R doctor)?

How to be a Physiatrist (PM&R doctor)?

How to be a physiatrist (PM&R doctor)? A physiatrist is the one who deals with your health problems related to bones, spinal cords, brain, etc. Many times, we suffer injuries like Sprained Ankles, chronic back problems, brain injuries, etc. Sometimes you may face injuries that may stop you from getting back into your daily routines. In such a scenario you want to get rid of it and become normal again. This is all which is covered if you become a physiatrist. Though this is a very uncommon profession in the field of medicine, it is a worthy profile to choose from.

Quick Takeaways

  • A physiatrist is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) doctor who deals with problems related to the Brain, Bones, Spinal Cord, Ligaments, etc.
  • To become a Physiatrist you will need to get an undergraduate degree and along with it, you will have to take the MCAT test to get into the medical field.
  • You will first need to give your 10 years after high school to become a physiatrist.

However, you must read till the end so that you could understand how can you become a Physiatrist.

How to be a Physiatrist (PM&R doctor)?

Who is a Physiatrist?

A physiatrist is a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) doctor who deals with problems related to the Brain, Bones, Spinal Cord, Ligaments, etc. This branch of science deals with patients who have functional disabilities and physical impairments. You will first have to look out for the problem within the patient, examine it and develop a treatment plan for it.

As a Physiatrist, you will not need to treat the body as a whole and not as a part. You may need to be in coordination with other physicians including neurologists, primary care physicians, orthopaedic surgeons, etc. 

How to be a Physiatrist (PM&R doctor)?

Roles and responsibilities of Physiatrists

Following are the roles and responsibilities of a Physiatrist-

  • Treating each patient irrespective of their age.
  • Providing a treatment plan for the problem.
  • Getting knowledge of a wide range of medicines needed for treating patients.
  • Leading the team of doctors which may be physical therapists, occupational therapists, etc.
  • Get in coordination with other physicians, so that you can treat the patient easily.
  • Using the injections related to the spine and joints.
  • You must be aware of all the methods of treating the patient.

How to be a physiatrist?

Every profession including, radiologist or podiatrist has its own requirements. To become a Physiatrist you will need to follow the given steps-

Undergraduate Degree

The first thing that you will need to become a physiatrist is to earn a bachelor’s degree in Medical Field from an accredited institution. In preparation for medical school, you may focus on subjects like pre-med, physical sciences, anatomy, etc. You can also choose an undergraduate degree that combines all three by utilizing a double major.

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)

When completing the undergraduate degree, you will need to take the medical college admission test (MCAT). This test is required for each student who wants to make his/her career in the medical field. There are different sections in the MCAT exam. Though medical schools will look for the total marks of a student, a passing MCAT score is an important need for consideration. The most common score for the MCAT score is 511 points

Get admission into medical college

Once you get enrolled in a medical school, you can choose to become an M.D. (medical doctor) or D.O. (doctor of osteopathy). You will typically receive almost the same fundamental training for both programs.

Typically, an M.D. provides allopathic treatments that target the distinctive signs and symptoms of a disease. Whereas D.O. approaches conditions from a lifestyle and medical perspective. Although to become a Physiatrist you can take up subjects like Understanding the Brain, biochemistry, etc.

How to be a Physiatrist (PM&R doctor)?

Earn a Certification

When you finish your degree the last and most important stage is to get a Certification. You will be required to take up the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology(ABPN).

This certification is the most common certification for every type of doctor. It is the basic requirement for practising it in the clinic. The renewal of the license will depend upon the field chosen, though it is renewed mostly after 10 years.

How many years would it take to be a physiatrist?

To become a physiatrist you will first need to give your 10 years after high school. It includes 5 years of a degree from medical school, 2 years for the foundation program and 3 years for core training.

Is being a Physiatrist worth it?

As discussed above to become Physiatrists you will need to give 10 years of your life to it. Therefore it is important to know if being a Physiatrist is a good career or not. They are the people who diagnose as well as look for the problem. Thus being a Physiatrist is a good and worthy career option. When compared to other professions in the medical field, it has a better lifestyle and comparatively less workload. 

How to be a Physiatrist (PM&R doctor)?


As a Physiatrist, you will be treating patients with brain as well as nervous system problems. Your job role includes treating patients irrespective of their age and also treating the body as a whole and not just body parts. You will need to commit 10 years of your life in order to become a successful Physiatrist. It includes the undergraduate degree, medical school, and at last the residence program for which you will need to give a supplemental ERAS application. You may also take up an additional fellowship program which is a training program of 1 year.


How much a Physiatrist makes?

A Physiatrist generally makes between $205,517 a year. Although it will depend on which state you are living in right now. It will also vary with your educational background as well as your speciality and work experience.

How much does it cost to become a Physiatrist?

The average cost to become a Physiatrist will depend upon which school you want to get enrolled in. It will also depend upon if you are getting any financial aid or not. On average in-state students pay less than students who are out-of-state which is approximately around $3,30,000 However, in addition to the financial aid, it will also depend if you are admitted to a public or private school.

Is it difficult to become a Physiatrist?

It is hard to become a Physiatrist as you will need to spend 10 years on it. You will need a lot of hard work and training to become a successful Physiatrist. Another hardship that you face is that the acceptance rate is low i.e 6.8% and 2.4%. This means that the chances of getting selected for medical school become very low and you need to work hard.

William Christie

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