Becoming a Gastroenterologist
As remunerative as the salary is becoming, being a gastroenterologist is no easy task, and often takes one of the highest number of years to complete in terms of education. To become a gastroenterologist, you first need to complete a graduation in a related field of science or medicine. This is followed by a 4-year dedicated course in medicine from a reputed medical school. Towards the later years, you have to pick gastroenterology as your subject of specialization. This is followed by a 3-year course in internal medicine, after which you are expected to complete a 2- or 3-year fellowship program involving training in how to cure digestive problems. And then there is the exam conducted by the American Board for Internal Medicine, which you have to pass in order to finally become a certified gastroenterologist. This means there is a long 13-year education program that one has to undergo.
As tough as this long and difficult path to becoming a gastroenterologist is, the job itself is equally demanding. It involves treating severe digestive conditions such as colon polyps, colon cancer, colonitis, hepatitis, gallbladder disease, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, peptic ulcer disease, etc. A gastroenterologist uses various techniques to cure these diseases, the most prominent of which is endoscopy. This involves entering a small camera with a light through a long thin tube, which helps to examine the problem so that a diagnosis can be done.
The job of a gastroenterologist is definitely one of the highest paying jobs around. The starting salary in the US is above $150,000, while the median annual salary is as high as $265,000. Those with a greater experience of course will be able to charge higher for their services. A gastroenterologist with 3 or more years of experience can make up to $350,000, and one with even more experience can make up to a heart-stopping $500,000.
Of course, since most earn based on what they charge to individual patients, rather than a fixed salary, these numbers could widely differ based on location, experience, and specific cases. Obviously, a gastroenterologist with a lot more patients will make more. This is where experience counts for a lot, since gastroenterology is a pretty difficult science, and people do not mind paying good money to go to a more experienced doctor.