Did you know there are over 100 forms of arthritis? Rheumatologists do. They are the specialists of non-surgical joint disease, soft tissue disorders, vasculitis’, and autoimmune diseases.
Their practice is mainly office based and there is few, if any, call responsibilities. The only on-call rheumatologists I knew of were in academic hospitals for pediatrics.
Just how much do rheumatologists make?
Not as much as other specialists but more than primary care physicians. The median salary for rheumatologists is $185,209.
Allied physicians reports that with a few years of experience, you can make $229,000 dollars per year. Medscape says about 6% of rheumatologists are making over $500,000! The majority of these physicians make $150,000 to $300,000.
To become a rheumatologist, you need to do a residency in either internal medicine or pediatrics. Afterwards, you need to do a fellowship in rheumatology. This usually lasts 2 years extra, but Mayo requires a 3 year program. That means, in total, you will need to do 5 to 6 years of on-the-job training.
Currently, there are 112 programs offering less than 200 spots. Half were US graduates, and half were foreign graduates. During last year’s match, only 83% of programs filled, so this may not be a very competitive field. That’s something to think about (in both good and bad ways)
Rheumatologists deal with interesting disorders of the body and help a ton of people deal with their disfiguring, debilitating pain. Their lifestyle is pretty good with little to no call, a good salary, and shift-work. If you like learning about these kinds of disorders, look into this field to see if it suits you.