Emergency room doctors treat patients who need immediate medical care, and may be called on to address surgical, medical or psychiatric emergencies. Doctors who choose this profession must have the ability to work in a stressful and fast-paced environment, in which they'll need to make quick assessments and decisions. Emergency physicians need confidence, stamina and strong interpersonal skills. Lastly, these doctors must be able to work flexible hours and cooperate well with other medical teams.
Emergency patients require immediate diagnosis and stabilization, so emergency physicians must specialize in cardiac life support, trauma care, advanced airway management and other areas related to emergency treatment. ER doctors see many patients each day, and they may be called on to perform emergency surgical procedures, if needed.
Doctors who work in the ER must receive standard training, which starts with a four-year undergraduate degree. After taking the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) exam, prospective doctors go to a four-year medical school. This is followed with a three- to eight-year internship and residency. Emergency doctors will take on the specialty of emergency medicine during their internship and residency. Before practicing emergency medicine, they must pass a licensing examination like the one from the American Board of Emergency Medicine. There are several other licensing boards available for emergency room doctors that may vary, depending on location.
According to Salary Wizard, the middle 50 percent of ER doctors received an annual salary of between $208,747 and $269,942, as of December 2010. The lower 10 percent of ER doctors received less than $183,683, and the highest 10 percent received over $300,592. Salary varied depending on years of experience, and the doctor's location.
The average benefits package for an ER doctor was $73,346 as of December 2010, according to Salary Wizard. This package includes $1,411 in bonuses, $10,068 in Social Security and $9,270 in a 401k or 403b plan. The package also includes $4,041 in disability, $7,418 in healthcare, $11,884 in pension and $29,254 in time off. This benefits package is based on the median salary of the profession, which was $236,277 as of December 2010. The benefits package may be more or less depending on the base salary, location and years of experience.