An endocrinologist focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for triggering the effects of hormones, as well as the roles hormones play. A growing branch, read through this article to understand if this is the job for you, and what is the expected average salary.
An endocrine system is a complex group of glands that secrete hormones. The hormones in our body control different functions―reproduction, metabolism, growth, and development. The endocrine system is made up of a number of glands―pancreas, thyroid, ovaries, testes, adrenal, pituitary gland, etc. Endocrinology is a branch of medicine that deals with disorders of the endocrine system, its causes and effects on the integration of overall development. Physicians who study this branch are known as endocrinologists, and specialize in the function of the endocrine glands and the hormones secreted by them.
An endocrinologist studies hormones and its effects on the human body. According to the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinology, endocrinologists diagnose and recommend treatment of endocrine disease based on laboratory tests and medical history of an individual. They will counsel patients suffering from any endocrine gland disorder such as problems of the pancreas, cholesterol disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, adrenal problems, and cancers of the endocrine glands. They also prescribe diet and basic care to their patients, depending upon which gland has caused the disorder. Some endocrinologists are more involved with research than actual treatment of patients, while others prefer to teach in colleges and medical institutions that provide education and career counseling to aspiring endocrinologists.
To get into this profession, good high school grades, especially in science and related subjects are essential. A bachelor’s degree is the first step towards medical school. After successful completion of the 4-year medical school program, an individual can specialize in endocrinology, with a 3- to 4-year residency in specializations of internal medicine, pediatrics, and gynecology. Then again, a formal training and internship in different branches of endocrinology, like in adult, pediatric, or reproductive endocrinology will stand him in good stead. This roughly comes up to ten years of formal education. An endocrinologist can only practice independently or unsupervised once he/she has obtained a certificate from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism.
Like most medical jobs, an endocrinologist’s job also pays quite well. The salary ranges anywhere between $100,000 to $200,000 per year. Now that is a big range, but a lot depends upon qualifications, experience, location, and employer. The average mean salary for those working in clinics or hospitals is around 1,45,000 to 1,65,000. For those professionals who are self-employed, the average is around 1,30,000 to 1,90,000. With a continued expansion in the health care industry, and also the rising incidence of diabetes and other hormone-related conditions, the demand for certified endocrinologists is on the rise.
Working long hours under pressure and still maintaining the dignity and responsibility for another’s life are all part of an endocrinologist’s job.