There are many specialties in medicine, but typically only three qualify as PCPs. In most cases only doctors with the following three specialties are considered PCPs:
- Family Practice or General Practice: A family practitioner is qualified to care for the entire family. A family practitioner can be board-certified and have training in a variety of subjects including Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, or Psychiatry. This specialty was more common in years past but can still be found to treat the entire family.
- Internal Medicine: An internist can diagnose and treat disease with medicine. An internist is not a surgeon. There are several sub-specialties an internist can have, including: specializing in a particular organ, like the lungs or the kidneys; a particular disease, like diabetes; or a particular age group, like the elderly.
- Pediatrics: A pediatrician specializes in the overall well-being of children. Most pediatricians treat children from birth until adolescence or about 14 years old. Pediatricians can have sub-specialties such as surgery or pediatric cardiology.