An endocrinologist is a physician who deals with diseases related to the body’s glands and hormones. These seemingly insignificant items are actually the vital functions of how you grow, how you feel, your metabolism, and tissue function. Think diabetes, menopause, and thyroid problems and that will scratch the surface of what endocrinologists are specialists of.
This field is primarily office-based but you may be called into the hospital once in awhile for an endocrinology emergency like thyroid storm. Endocrinologists who also have pediatric training might be called in to the hospital more often for children presenting with life-threatening diabetic ketoacidosis.
Right now, there are 25.8 million patients with diabetes. So the demand for an endocrinology physician is there and increasing.
Surprisingly, the median salary for this specialist position is $187,695. That’s only $15,068 more than the average salary for family medicine doctors.
The salary range for endocrinologists is $158,805 to $235,781. But there is a potential to earn more. Approximately 20% of endocrinologists make between $200,000 and $300,000. Some endocrinologists make over $500,000!
With diabetes very prevalent in society, there are many clinical research trials available to endocrinology physicians only. With clinical research, you act as a principle investigator, recruit patients into a study, examine and treat them according to strict protocols, and report back to the sponsor of the trial. For every patient that you recruit, you are given a set amount of money. Physicians doing this kind of research can earn a few hundred per patient to even thousands per patient. It is a great way to supplement your income.
In order to become an endocrinologist, you must first complete an internal medicine residency program (3 years). Then, you do an endocrinology fellowship that is typically 2 years long. In total, it takes 5 years of training beyond medical school to become a specialist in this field.
Currently, there are 129 fellowship programs in endocrinology offering a little over 200 spots. 37% of applicants did not match. So competition may be tough.
Also, the fellowship programs divide their spots between clinical and research, more so on the clinical side. This can impact the competitiveness if you are interested in a clinical spot only or vice versa. Be sure to read about the program and apply accordingly.
Endocrinologists are specialists of the body’s glands, hormones, and metabolic functions. They usually practice in an office but can be seen in the hospital on occasion for a few endocrine emergencies. The average salary for endocrinologists is only a little above a primary care physician. However, the potential for an endocrinologist salary is much higher.
If you enjoy metabolic pathways, research, and an office-based lifestyle with minimal procedural skills, consider this field to see if it suits you.
Medscape Compensation Survey
Salary.com, Physician – Endocrinology Salary
Allied Physicians – Physician Salary Survey
NMRP – Fellowship Match Statistics