What is an Endocrinologist? Brief Overview:
Some of the most common issues that endocrinologists help to diagnose, treat or manage is diabetes, irregular metabolism, growth disorders in children, weight issues, hypo- and hyper-thyroidism, and more.
How to Become an Endocrinologist - Education and Training Requirements:
- 4 years of undergraduate coursework resulting in a Bachelor's Degree.
- 4 years of medical school resulting in a medical degree from an osteopathic (D.O.) or allopathic (M.D.) program.
- 3 years of residency training in internal medicine.
- 2-3 years of required fellowship training in endocrinology (and nutrition if a 3-year fellowship).
Licensing and Certification for Endocrinologists in the United States:
Most practice opportunities will require an endocrinologist to be board certified in both specialties of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology.
In order to keep their license current, like all physicians, endocrinologists must successfully complete the required hours of continuing education (CME) and have their license renewed every 7-10 years depending upon state and specialty requirements. Also, the doctor must maintain an ethical standard of practice, as some disciplinary actions can cause a physician to lose his or her medical license if they are severe infractions.
Typical Workweek and Practice Characteristics:
Endocrinologists may be employed by a hospital or group, in a single- or multi-specialty practice, or they may own their own practice or be a partial owner of a group practice as opposed to being an employee.
Many of the patients treated by endocrinologists may be referred to the endocrinologist by another physician such as a primary care doctor, obstetrician/gynecologist, gastroenterologist, etc. Therefore endocrinologists' work is very consultative in nature and they must be adept at working as part of a treatment team including other physicians, as well as nurses and allied health professionals.
Annual Income and Job Outlook for Endocrinologists:
As with all physicians, outlook for endocrinologists is strong. According to the American Diabetes Association, nearly ten percent of all people in the U.S. have some form of diabetes, and many more are pre-diabetic. This, combined with the growth in the population, and the increasing age of the nation's population, will continue to drive demand for endocrinologists.
Additionally, because demand for primary care physicians is going to be extremely high in the wake of the Affordable Care Act, endocrinologists always have that as an option if for any reason they can't build a large enough practice of endocrinology patients solely. In other words, worst-case scenario, if demand were to diminish, which it is not expected to, endocrinologists could incorporate some primary care patients into their practices to help maximize their volume if needed.