Specialist physicians (NOC 3111)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

Specialist physicians include people who specialize in clinical medicine laboratory medicine and surgery. Residents in training to become specialist physicians are included in this group.

Want to learn more? Watch this WorkBC Career Trek video and see what it’s like to work in this type of career.

Specialists in clinical medicine diagnose and treat diseases and physiological or psychiatric disorders. They also act as consultants to other physicians.

Specialists in laboratory medicine study the nature, cause and development of diseases in humans.

Specialists in surgery perform and supervise surgical procedures.

Specialists in clinical medicine usually work in private practice or in a hospital, while those in laboratory medicine and in surgery usually work in hospitals.

Common job titles
  • allergist / immunologist
  • anatomical pathologist / anatomopathologist
  • anesthesiologist / anesthetist
  • bacteriologist, medical
  • clinical pharmacologist
  • dermatologist / skin specialist


Specialists in clinical medicine:

  • diagnose and treat diseases and physiological or psychiatric disorders
  • order laboratory tests, X-rays and other diagnostic procedures
  • prescribe medication and treatment
  • refer patients for surgery
  • act as consultants to other physicians
  • may do medical research

Specialists in laboratory medicine:

  • study the nature, cause and development of diseases in humans and the structural and functional changes caused by diseases
  • do microscopic and chemical analyses of laboratory samples and specimens
  • supervise laboratory activities
  • act as consultants to other physicians

Specialists in surgery:

  • assess patients' diseases or disorders to determine appropriate surgical procedures
  • perform and supervise surgical procedures to correct physical deficiencies and repair injuries
  • act as consultants to other physicians

Work environment

Key aspects of the work in this occupation:

  • Work takes place in various medical environments such as laboratories.
  • Workers may be exposed to infectious bacteria and viruses that may cause illness.
  • Working with equipment and instruments may cause injuries.
  • X-rays and radioactive substances or non-ionizing radiation such as radio frequencies and infrared, ultraviolet or visible light may have negative health effects.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Progression to management positions such as director of laboratory medicine or chief of surgery is possible with experience.

Additional resources