An endocrinologist, in general, deals with hormonal imbalances, while the duties of a reproductive endocrinologist involve dealing with the same, solely in females, as reproductive endocrinology is a specialization of gynecology and obstetrics.
Our body comprises various systems - the respiratory system, nervous system, digestive system, etc., to name a few. The smooth functioning of all these organs and systems is brought about by mediators known as hormones. Hormones are secreted by endocrine glands, which constitute the endocrine system. Whenever there is any kind of disruption in the functioning of these glands, it can lead to a lot of fatal problems. This is where the endocrinologist comes into the picture. One of the most sought-after medical jobs, an endocrinologist is a specialized physician who deals with the problems that are related to the changes in the endocrine glands and the levels of hormones. The paragraphs below encompass the job duties, education requirements, and salary details of an endocrinologist.
- As mentioned in the introduction, an endocrinologist looks into the disorders of the endocrine glands.
- To begin with, one of his important duties is to hone his communication skills; he will be conversing with patients suffering from hormonal problems, many of them who may be uncomfortable to talk about the same.
- He will need to make his patients comfortable and converse with them in a professional, yet reassuring manner, in order that they explain their signs and symptoms correctly.
- He will need to diagnose the patient's condition based on his previous medical history, symptoms, and current behavior.
- He needs to ask the patient to run certain tests, based on which he can assess which gland has been affected - the thyroid, pituitary, adrenal, ovary glands.
- After assessing the seriousness of the disorder, he will prescribe the most suitable medication. If the disorder cannot be treated with medicines, he will recommend surgery.
- He may also need to advise the patient regarding changes in diet and exercise.
- He coordinates with the physicians who have been treating the patient earlier, in order to discuss their medical problems at length or may be figure out a solution for the current disorder.
- For diabetics, he will prescribe medication to monitor and bring down the blood sugar levels.
- He helps treat thyroid problems, like hypothyroidism.
- A reproductive endocrinologist's job would entail dealing with the disorders of the reproductive system that are brought on by hormonal imbalance.
- He monitors the problems caused by menopause, some of the significant ones including mood swings, depression, brittle bones, heart diseases, etc.
- He aids pregnant women and new mothers with their hormonal disorders.
- A pediatric endocrinologist's duties on the other hand, consist of dealing with hormonal imbalances that are seen in children, most of which tend to alter the normal growth pattern in a child.
- Other common conditions that pediatric endocrinologists treat include children suffering from type one diabetes, growth disorders, inter-sex disorders, hypoglycemia, and other disorders relating to the adrenal, thyroid, and the pituitary gland.
- Endocrinologists also work with oncologists, and help detect cancerous tumors, mainly in the pituitary gland. They prescribe the correct surgery and monitor the patient post surgery as well.
- A highly experienced endocrinologist may work in the field of research, inventing newer drugs and treatment methods.
- The ones working in teaching aim at imparting the knowledge of endocrinology, while those in the field of consultancy work closely with other eminent doctors, as advisors or administrators.
- Embarking on the path of medicine is no mean feat, whatever the specialization. Becoming an endocrinologist is not easy either.
- Step one, you need to pass high school with good grades in science.
- Next, obtain a bachelor's degree with a specialization in biology or chemistry.
- Step three, you need to secure admission in a reputed medical school. You will spend four years, learning all that is essential to become a qualified medical practitioner.
- Post graduation, you will need to undergo a stringent residency program in either pediatrics, gynecology, or internal medicine, again for four years (or more).
- Step five, you may also undergo a fellowship in endocrinology, as per your specialization, viz., pediatric endocrinology, reproductive endocrinology, etc.
- Remember that you will need to be licensed by the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) as well as the American Board of Internal Medicine (optional).
Salary and Job Outlook
- Endocrinologists are very well-paid professionals. Of course, like every other field, the pay depends on the specialization, employer, location, and experience.
- The median pay is approximately USD 200,000.
- State, like Connecticut, New Jersey, California, New York, etc., pay between USD 220,000 to USD 280,000.
- States, like Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Florida pay between USD 130,000 to USD 190,000.
- Those who are in the residency period earn around USD 120,000, while the ones who complete their fellowship and are legally certified earn around USD 160,000.
- With experience, the salary increases to USD 200,000 to as high as USD 290,000.
- Reproductive endocrinologists earn between USD 250,000 to USD 350,000, pediatric endocrinologists earn between USD 190,000 to USD 290,000, while consultant endocrinologists earn between USD 150,000 to USD 250,000.
- The career prospects for this field are excellent, since incidence of obesity and diabetes are on an ever-increasing trend. Consequently, more and more specialists will be needed to manage and treat these cases.
- The BLS reports an 18% job growth in this field for the next decade.
The field of endocrinology is rather fascinating. To be able to study the causes of hormonal disorders and its subsequent results and treatment methods - nothing short of a new challenge with every case. However, you need to be highly dedicated and determined and hardworking. If you feel you possess these traits, and if you are willing to help your fellow human beings, gear up and start preparing to enter medical school. All the best!!