How do I Become a Proctologist?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 20 October 2019
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There are four steps required to become a proctologist: become a medical doctor, gain acceptance to a proctologist training program, complete the course requirements and pass the medical license examination. All four items are required to become a proctologist. All proctologist are surgeons, and they can be certified by either the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Proctology.

A proctologist is a specialist focused on the diagnoses and treatment of the rectum or anus. These doctors are often called colorectal surgeons. In practice, they often work closely with urologists. The rectum or anus is part of the digestive system and is the last six to eight inches (15.2 cm to 20.3 cm)of the colon.

The first requirement to become a proctologist is to complete medical school. All proctologists must be fully certified surgeons. This is required because most diseases of the rectum require surgery to correct. Medical school is typically complete after graduation from a bachelor degree program and is usually four to six years in length.

Proctology or colorectal specialty programs are available at a wide range of medical schools. In order to obtain admittance, you will need high marks in medical school, aptitude and references. This specialty is often organized within internal medicine programs.


The typical program for a proctologist is five years in length. It combines surgery and diagnostic courses, along with the residence requirements. The typical rotation during this program includes work in the oncology department. Although anal cancer is rare, colon cancer is not, and it is important for proctologists to be skilled in the detection and treatment of this condition.

Each state has specific requirements and doctors are required to write the medical license exam for each state they plan to work in. The certification and licensing examinations are typically quite long, as they cover a large amount of material. The questions can be both broad and quite specific. Studying for this examination requires time, effort and focus.

Upon successful completion, the proctologist can now begin to work. Most proctologists find their first position in a hospital. As surgeons, all proctologists are required to become affiliated with a least one major hospital in order to meet their patients' needs. They often develop their own private practice, where they can meet with patients, perform examinations and prepare for surgery. Increasingly, these doctors find positions in product development and research teams, due to their expertise in both surgery and the colon.


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Post 3

I am glad there is a specialty to treat colon problems and that these proctologists are so highly trained.

Unfortunately, colon cancer is becoming more and more common in the aging group and also young people in their 40s and 50s.

I'm afraid the need for proctologists will be high in the years to come. It's good to know that some of them are going into the field of research. We need to find out what is causing this illness.

Post 2

To become a proctologist, it sounds like it takes about 10 years of school and interning and finally passing the medical license exam.

I don't understand why each state has their own specific exam. I would think that a universal test makes more sense. They should all be prepared to know about and preform all the same procedures. Anyone have a different opinion?

Post 1

This job seems kind of gross, but the demand for proctologists is only going to increase as our population continues to age.

Most people elect to get colon cancer screening as they age into the late 50's and early 60's. So much of our population is made up of aging baby boomers right now! And someone is going to need to perform these tests on them. So if you're going to be a doctor, and decide to specialize in proctology, you'll probably always have work!

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