Endocrinologists provide specialized health care and are charged with treating and caring for endocrine glands and the hormones they secrete. Patients are referred to the endocrinologist when the general practitioner detects a problem in the glandular system.
As such, the typical day-at-work for the endocrinologist involves examining and making diagnoses for illnesses in the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal and hypothalamus glands. Typically, they are experts in diagnosing and treating diseases of the thyroid, adrenal, pituitary, testes and ovaries. Other than specific organs, endocrinologists also treat diseases and conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol imbalances, osteoporosis, infertility and cancers of the endocrine glands.
Endocrinologist Job Responsibilities
Endocrinologists examine patients for disorders in the glandular system. They usually go through the referring physician’s notes as well as test results for clues and patterns. They may then order for additional tests with the aim of demystifying a patient’s condition or illness. In their examination, they look for signs and symptoms which may give away the illness.
One of the key things an endocrinologist does is determining whether a patient’s hormone levels are normal. After diagnosis, the endocrinologist develops a treatment course for the patient and monitors the patient regularly or as required, to determine whether there is improvement after the chosen treatment option or not.
Endocrinologists provide patients with information on diet, hygiene, exercise and educate them on necessary lifestyle changes they may need to make, to positively influence their health conditions. They overall educate and advice the patient on how to manage their condition.
Endocrinologists continually conduct research, even while treating patients, in the hopes of coming up with new treatment methods.
Endocrinologist Training and Education Requirements
Endocrinology is a specialty within the wider medicine field. Endocrinologists are therefore required to complete medical school, and follow through with an advanced degree specializing in endocrinology. Before one can practice in any state, they must obtain a license for that particular state.
Endocrinology as a science is a field that is rapidly growing. With so many new diseases of the endocrine system coming up in the modern day world, endocrinologists must stay up to date with developments and advances in the industry. This requires them to study continually, even while practicing.
Continual training and education is also a requirement that endocrinologists must meet in order to have their licenses renewed. They will be required to provide proof of training during license renewal.
The most important requirement when starting out in the job market is the necessary educational background. Unless you are interning during training, employers will expect you to have your license. Many endocrinologists start as interns before moving on to residency, just like in medicine.
Career advancement is fostered when one builds up on experience. The more experience an endocrinologist has in the field, the better their chances at employment. Endocrinologists can work in a healthcare facility or set up their own practice. The requirements for both types of practice are the same.
Endocrinologist Salary and Wages
The prospects for endocrinologists are very good. They are some of the most sought after specialist doctors and the rewards are attractive. On average, an endocrinologist earns close to $185,000 a year. The lowest paid endocrinologist, usually one who is just starting on their career, earns $163,968 while more experienced endocrinologists earn as high as $211,416 annually.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Other than experience, factors such as location of practice and individual skills and abilities also determine the average salary for the practicing endocrinologist. Endocrinologists who work in urban areas earn more than those who practice in rural settings. The same applies to those with practices in high end streets.
Endocrinologists working in hospitals and clinics receive very attractive perks in addition to their salary. These include but are not limited to high quality medical cover, paid sick days and paid vacations.
To get certified, endocrinologists must apply for Certification in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. One must have been previously certified in internal medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). This usually happens after one completes their degree in medicine. When they complete their advanced studies in endocrinology, they then apply for the endocrinology certification from the ABIM.
The requirements for certification are: completion of graduate medical fellowship training, passing the ABIM endocrinology exam, holder of a valid license, demonstration of clinical competence, skill and moral and ethical behavior.
Endocrinologist Professional Associations
There are a number of professional associations for endocrinologists. They include The Society of Endocrinology, started in 1946. It has over 2,000 members.
The Endocrine Society, which was started in 1917 as the Association for the Study of Internal Secretions is another professional association for endocrinologists. It later changed its name to the current Endocrine Society in January 1952.
There is also the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), which was founded in 1991 and currently has over 6,000 members.