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From Oregon, USA:

What is the road to becoming an endocrinologist like? I just want to gain some insight into the profession.


First, you need an undergraduate college degree, about four years, usually, pre-medical with lots of science courses but in many places you can take some science courses and still major in any other subject. (I was a psychology major, for instance).

Next, you go through four years of medical school ending with a medical doctor degree.

Then, usually three years of postgraduate training. This could be in internal medicine or pediatrics.

Then, another two to three years of fellowship training in endocrinology, studying diabetes, thyroid, pituitary, parathyroid, adrenal, gonadal and lipid disorders and their associated complications, psychological ramifications, treatments etc. In some facilities, this is heavily clinical with minimal research training; others are more research oriented. Some people do further postgraduate research with senior mentors, researchers and/or clinicians; some then go into private practice; some become teachers either full-time or part-time.

Along the way, there are lots of certifying examinations and what is called board certification. This could be in general pediatrics and then pediatric endocrinology for pediatric based endocrinologist or could be in general internal medicine and then general endocrinology for those dealing with adults.

In Europe and other parts of the world, undergraduate and medical school training are often combined into a single six year program with post-graduate training slightly longer. By the time of endocrine specialty fellowships, the years of training are then somewhat more similar.


Original posting 13 Feb 2006
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