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How do I Become an Endocrinologist?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2016
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Someone who wants to become an endocrinologist will need to complete training as a medical doctor and then pursue additional certification in the field of endocrinology. This is a long process, which takes over 10 years. After certification, an endocrinologist treats people with disorders related to the endocrine system, including hormone imbalances, endocrine cancers, and diabetes. Endocrinologists also provide hormone therapy for people, such as women in menopause and transgendered men and women who are taking hormones as part of the transition process.

The first step for someone who intends to become an endocrinologist is laying the groundwork in high school. Having a good grounding in math and science will provide a student with more options when applying to undergraduate institutions, and will also make it easier for the student to succeed in the plan to become an endocrinologist. Students should apply to colleges and universities which offer premedicine programs or that are known for being strong in the sciences, and if possible, they should also pursue internship opportunities in labs and medical offices while they are undergraduates.

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With an undergraduate degree, it is possible to apply to medical school, the next step along the way to becoming an endocrinologist. Medical school applications usually require passing an entrance exam in addition to submitting application materials and undergoing an interview. After completing medical school, a doctor who wants to become an endocrinologist will need to apply into internal medicine residencies, as endocrinology is a subspecialty of internal medicine.

Becoming an internist takes three years of training, at which point the budding endocrinologist can apply for board certification and apply into an endocrinology fellowship. During the fellowship, the doctor will receive specific education in endocrinology and learn skills which will be valuable in patient care. It is also possible to pursue a career as a pediatric endocrinologist, treating disorders of the endocrine system in children.

Once someone has become an endocrinologist, it is common to apply to join professional organizations. Membership in such organizations provides doctors with opportunities to network, access to trade journals, and invitations to conferences which can be used to keep up with the latest research in the field. Being a member of such an organization is also helpful when it comes to applying for jobs, as people with professional credentials are more likely to be hired and will receive higher compensation than people who don't have them.

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