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It can take many years to become a urologist. People must attend college and medical school (or a combination of both in the UK), and then spend years, usually at least five, in residency and fellowship training. They will require board certification to practice this specialty too, which involves the treatments of issues concerning the urinary tract in men and women, and the reproductive system in men. It’s a field that demands a high degree of competence and sensitivity, in addition to surgical skill.
When a high school student thinks he/she might want to become a urologist, he or she should attempt to do exceptionally well in math and science studies in high school. It can also help to discuss this decision with local urologists. It may be possible to shadow a urologist for a few days in a local practice, or volunteer at a urology office. Since this field of practice does involve examination of the genitals and urinary tract system, there may be some resistance on the part of some doctors to allow shadowing of this profession by teenagers. They may be happier to take on a college student, but it’s important for anyone considering shadowing to exhibit a professional demeanor and not do anything that would embarrass the self or any patients being examined.
In the US, students will need to a get a college degree prior to getting into medical school to ultimately become a urologist. Again, focus should be on the sciences, and many students major in pre-med preparatory to attending medical school. Students will need to get good grades and high marks on the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT). These are very important in order to get into a medical school, which can be competitive.
Once in medical school, students will spend four years in combined learning and training prior to become licensed to practice medicine. In this last year of training, students can begin applying to programs that offer residencies in specialties like urology. To continue on the path to become a urologist, a student will need to be accepted into a urology residency, where he or she is likely to spend another five years. This program is usually split so that at least one year is spent studying general surgery, three are spent studying urology, and the last year may be more study in surgery or in other specialties.
Even when this training is complete, and a person can take board certification to become a urologist, they may spend one to two more years in fellowship programs further specializing. Some people choose to become pediatric urologists, for instance, and others might specialize in renal transplants or the treatment of cancers. There are several subspecialties of urology, which require extra training.
In total it will take a minimum of 13 years for most people to become a urologist. This is only the beginning. This field is constantly advancing, and doctors must continue to train on new techniques, especially minimally invasive ones like laser therapy. Medical boards will issue specific rules on how much continuing education doctors need to retain their licenses.
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