Baby boomers are defined as those born during the post World War II baby boom between 1946 and 1964. 2011 minus 1946 equals 65 years old. We are at that time period where the baby boomers are retiring, when their bodies are needing medical care akin to their age level.
Geriatricians are specialists in diseases of the elderly. 76 million baby boomers are retiring within the next 18 years. There is definitely a demand for these physicians.
Because geriatrics is essentially a focused part of primary care, the salary is similar to other primary care physicians. The median expected salary is $171,323 with the majority making between $158,222 and $193,847.
There’s a concern that the salary may be less given that medicare’s reimbursement rate is so low. It’s possible. Though, there are some physicians who charge a retainer fee like the Concierge Medicine model. This would give you a higher income.
In order to become a geriatrician, you can do a fellowship after a family medicine residency or an internal medicine residency. This will make you eligible to sit for the geriatrics board exam. If you pass, you’ll receive a Certificate of Added Qualification in Geriatrics.
Currently there are 105 geriatrics fellowships by way of internal medicine and 44 fellowships by way of family medicine.
With 76 million baby boomers retiring in the next 18 years, geriatricians will be in hot demand. You don’t necessarily need to have the added fellowship to practice medicine for the elderly, but it does make you more knowledgeable and more credible. If you’re interested in the diseases of the elderly, you should consider this position to see if it suits you.