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Salary Range
€32k - €120k
Career Zone

In Brief...

A fully qualified medical doctor who specialises in examing, treating and advising sick people in a local GP surgery, or in a hospital setting.

In Summary - Doctor / GP

Career Sectors

Doctor / GPs typically work in the following Career Sectors:

Medical & Healthcare

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Further Information

The Work - Doctor / GP

A Doctors or General Practitioners apply medical knowledge and skill to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human diseases, disorders and injuries. They talk to patients to find out what symptoms they have, for example, whereabouts they feel pain, and look at notes which tell them which illnesses the patient has had before.  
They try to find out as much as possible about the patient by taking their blood pressure, listening to their heart and taking many other different measurements to try and work out what is wrong with them. A doctor is really like a detective - piecing together lots of evidence in order to make a diagnosis.  
When they know what is wrong with the patient, they decide on the best way to treat them. This may involve giving medicine or operating. Doctors are supported by a team of health care workers, such as nurses.  
The specific work activities of a doctor depend on whether they have chosen to be a general practitioner (GP), surgeon or physician.

General Practioner 

GPs are responsible for the diagnoses and treatment of a wide range of illnesses. They work in the primary care sector and attend to patients either in their surgery or in the patient's home. They examine and talk to their patients, give advice on health issues and, when necessary, refer their patients for tests.

They prescribe medicines, issue certificates an keep case notes documenting the long term health history of a patient. They also educate their patients on healthy living, proper diets and preventative measures to guard against infection.

GPs are usually on an on-call rota, when they may have to go and visit a patient at their home at any time during the day or night. In rural areas, this may involve a lot of driving. GP cooperatives are initiatives to provide out-of-hours cover by different methods in different areas of the country. Cooperatives are managed by members for members in an attempt to reduce the onerous on-call commitment of GPs.

Physicians and Surgeons

Physicians and surgeons diagnose and treat injuries or illnesses. Physicians examine patients; take medical histories; prescribe medications; and order, perform, and interpret diagnostic tests. They counsel patients on diet, hygiene, and preventive healthcare. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injuries, such as broken bones; diseases, such as cancerous tumors; and deformities, such as cleft palates.

Many doctors work long and irregular hours and spend time on-call, in case of emergencies. They can also specialise in particular areas such as Pathology, Paediatrics and Cardiology. General Practitioner, Surgeon and Consultants are just some of the areas that a doctor can specialise into.

Interests - Doctor / GP

This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:


The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.


The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.


You will deal with people from all walks of life, so you need to be able to communicate effectively with them, in a language they can understand. You will also need the ability to make rational and objective decisions, often while under a lot of pressure.  
You may well find yourself in situations that demand great emotional detachment and the ability to cope with distressing situations is vital. Practical skills are also important. A steady hand is essential for delicate operations and examination.  
A medical career involves a long, antisocial period of academic and clinical training, which requires considerable physical and mental stamina. Work is very demanding both physically and mentally.

Entry Requirements - Doctor / GP

It takes four to six years of university education and training to become a medical doctor, following which, the newly-qualified doctor spends one year as an intern or house officer in a teaching hospital. Following their intern year a junior doctor then usually enters a specialised training scheme.  

The Training Pathway to become a GP is as follows:

Step 1: Medical School, 4-6 years 

Step 2: Intern Year, 1 year

Step 3: Specialist Training Programme, 4 years

Entry Process

Graduate or direct entry is possible to medicine

Degree courses include subjects such as anatomy, physiology, and the psychology and sociology of health and illness. This academic study is combined with extended periods of clinical practice at local general practices and teaching hospitals.

The General Practice Training Programme is run by the Irish College of General Practitioners.

Last Updated: December, 2015

Pay & Salary - Doctor / GP

Salary Range (thousands per year)* €32k - €120k

HSE: 32k - 70k
Payscale: 27k - 120k

Data Source(s):

Last Updated: June, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.

Labour Market Updates - Doctor / GP

This occupation has been identified as a Job in Demand by the most recent National Skills Bulletin.

Due to international demand for these skills, job opportunities will continue to arise.

National Skills Bulletin 2018

Useful Contacts - Doctor / GP

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