Education and Training in Endocrinology - Presented by Erin Kershaw, MD
How to Become an Endocrinologist
An endocrinologist is a doctor that specializes in the endocrine system, meaning they work to diagnose and treat patients with glandular or hormonal issues. While this is a complex specialty that requires extensive schooling to become licensed, endocrinologists have an average salary of 5,000!
If you have a passion for medicine and want to help people with diabetes, hormone imbalances, or reproductive issues, becoming an endocrinologist could be the perfect fit for you! After earning your Bachelor’s degree, pass the MCAT exam and enroll in medical school. Complete a residency and fellowship upon graduation, then pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination.To find out how to become board-certified and keep your license up to date, read on!
Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in a science-related major.Though you could choose any major you want, it’s best to study something like physiology, biology, or social science. These majors will help you build the prerequisite skills for medical school.In addition to studying science, you should also take courses in math, English, and the humanities. These courses can help prepare you for interacting with patients and writing reports.
Volunteer at hospitals to make your med school application stand out.The competition for medical school is fierce! In order to differentiate yourself from other applicants, you can volunteer at clinics and hospitals while pursuing your Bachelor’s degree. Volunteering shows dedication, determination, and compassion, which could help you get into the medical school of your choice.
Pass the Medical College Administrations Test.The Medical College Administrations Test, or MCAT, is a standard test given to all students who want to go to medical school and become doctors. It is given via computer and is multiple-choice.The MCAT is divided into 4 sections: Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems; Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems; Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills.
- To find out to register for the MCAT, speak to a career advisor at your college or university or visit .
- A score of 30 or higher on the MCAT gives you a 70% at getting into med school (without considering your GPA).
Apply to an accredited medical school.You should begin the application process about 18 months before you plan to attend medical school. Choose schools that have been accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). Not only will you need to submit your personal information, MCAT score, and transcripts, you’ll also need to include a personal statement.
- Some medical schools will send you a secondary application after they receive your first application, and you may have to pay up to 0 to submit it.
Complete your medical degree.Getting a doctorate from a medical school takes 4 years. You should declare your interest in endocrinology as soon as possible. During the first 2 years, you’ll likely focus on medical law and ethics as well as pharmacology, anatomy, and biochemistry. In the last 2 years, you’ll learn about the endocrine system, specifically.
Putting Your Skills into Practice
Finish a residency program.After graduating from med school, you will need to complete a 3-year medical residency in internal medicine to become an endocrinologist. During your residency, you’ll be supervised by a licensed physician and can work in a hospital, clinic, or other medical facility. You will diagnose and treat real patients as well as make patient assessments and conduct research.
Complete a fellowship.A fellowship program takes 2-3 years and will take place at a medical facility such as a clinic or hospital. It is similar to a residency, except that you will specialize in endocrinology. A board-certified endocrinologist will supervise you as you diagnose, monitor, treat, and support patients that have problems with their endocrine systems.
- Patients with endocrine issues may have diabetes, hormonal imbalances, or fertility or reproductive problems.
Join the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, or AACE, helps endocrinologists access the latest research in the field and provide the best care to their patients. Joining this organization gives you access to their medical journals and can also put you in touch with other endocrinologists. Networking with your new contacts can help you find desirable positions in private practices, clinics, or hospitals. To learn more, visit the AACE website at .
- The cost to become an AACE member is 5 per year.
Becoming Licensed and Certified
Pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination.In order to become a licensed endocrinologist in the United States, you’ll have to take and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).This is a 3-step exam that assesses your ability to understand concepts and principles as well as apply knowledge and skills of clinical science. To learn more, go to .
- The first step is an 8-hour, 280-question testing session that evaluates your ability to understand the scientific principles behind medicine.
- The second step is a 318-question, 9-hour testing session that tests your skills regarding patient care.
- The third step is a 2-day assessment consisting of 413 multiple-choice questions and 13 case simulations designed to evaluate your knowledge of health, diseases, diagnosis, and treatment.
- If you fail a step of the examination, you can retake it up to 3 times in 1 calendar year.
Get board-certified as an endocrinologist.You must pass both the certification examination in internal medicine as well as the endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism exam. Both tests are given by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Then, you’ll need to apply to the ABIM for a subspecialty in endocrinology.To learn more, go to .
Look for jobs through the AACE and online.Check the “Careers” section of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists website to find available positions in your area. You can also use search engines, social networking sites, and job boards such as LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed, , and .
Renew your license as required by your region.Check with your state’s medical board to determine if or how often you will need to renew your license.As long as you keep your endocrinology license up to date, you don’t need to renew your internal medicine license.
Video: Endocrinologist: Sara Ahmadi, MD
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