Concerned with the human glandular system which is involved with everything from reproduction to digestion, Endocrinology aims to study the glands and hormonal secretions in our body. As the impact of excess or under-production of hormones in the human body can be quite an arduous task to diagnose, the training of an Endocrinologist is quite a long journey. If you are planning to explore this specialisation of medicine and surgery, here is a detailed blog exploring the essential features of Endocrinology and how you can pursue it as a medical practitioner.
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Amongst the emerging branches of biology, Endocrinology is referred to as the study of the endocrine system of the human body which comprises glands, their hormonal secretions and diseases. In simple terms, the endocrine system is an organ system, dealing with the glands, the regulation of metabolism, growth and development, respiration, digestion, excretion, the tissue function, reproduction, moods and sensory perceptions, sexual functions, among other functions caused by hormones. To follow the path of an Endocrinologist, there are two specialisations namely, Comparative Endocrinology and Behavioural Endocrinology concerned with different aspects of this science.
What does an Endocrinologist do?
The Endocrinologist specializes in pituitary disorders such as adrenal disorders, disorders in the endocrine system such as Andropause, PMS, Diabetes, Hypo and Hyperthyroidism. Endocrinologists diagnose and treat the imbalances caused by malfunctioning of the endocrine system. After getting this specialisation, you can either work as a doctor and treat patients with related disorders or you can explore the arena of research as well.
Graduates can go into two different specialities in endocrinology:
Research Endocrinology: You will get to work in a laboratory to study and investigate the glands of a human body. It is a research-based specialization, where endocrinologists work for the drug discovery and even get to publish their work in this field. Research endocrinologists mostly work for pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions and other research-based organisations.
Clinical Endocrinology: Concerned with the treatment of patients with hormonal imbalances and deficiencies, with a variety of methods and techniques. Expertise of subspeciality like reproductive endocrinology or pediatric endocrinology is required by the professionals. Clinical Endocrinologists are experts on growth and metabolism, fertility and development among many other areas.
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For any particular field of career, one must possess a certain set of skills to become a qualified individual for the role. For a medical specialisation like Endocrinology, there is a wide range of skills and abilities that you will be expected to have. Here is a list of major skills that you must have if you are planning to pursue the role of an Endocrinologist.
- Observation Skills
- Diagnosis Skills
- Knowledge of Interpreting or understanding pathological tests
- Modern Treatment Techniques
- Clinical Skills
- Patience and compassion
- Communication Skills
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Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming an Endocrinologist
There are certain academic qualifications and medical training you need to attain to become an Endocrinology. Here is a step-by-step guide of essentials you must ensure to follow for this career path.
Get a Bachelor’s Degree
Since there is not a necessarily specified field for bachelor’s for those wanting to become an endocrinologist, you can simply pursue an MBBS degree and their prepare yourself for the concerned medical entrance exams such as MCAT (not required in India) to opt for a Doctor of Medicine program.
Gain the qualification of an MD
The next step is to complete the Doctor of Medicine program in Endocrinology which usually spans across 3-4 years. During this degree program, the first two years focus on theoretical study while the rest with a year or two of internship from a registered medical school. If you are planning to become an Endocrinologist in India, you will be qualified to work in hospitals or open your own practice on the completion of your MD. You can also go for a three-year training program in endocrinology i.e. Diplomate of the National Board in Endocrinology program which will impart you with the necessary certification as a specialist in Endocrinology provided by the Medical Council of India for those wanting to work as an Endocrinologists.
Complete a Residency Program
For those wanting to practice endocrinology abroad, the aspirants need to apply for an endocrinology residency program. This program helps residents to specialise in endocrinology by working with patients already suffering from diseases in their endocrine system like hypogonadism, rotations etc. This program generally lasts for three years with duties which may include performing consultations and discussing medical exam results as a practising endocrinologists.
Pursue a Fellowship
The fellowship program exposes the aspirants to clinical and in-patient training, research opportunities and clinics on diabetes and metabolism. The program may also focus on Lipid disorders, Hypothalamic and Thyroid- nuclear and other health problems related to the endocrine system. It lasts for two years at the end of which the student is prepared to get the board certification.
Pass Board Certification
After the fellowship program, the student should pass the concerned examination for the Medical certification board in their country, for instance, the Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Certification Examination in the US after which you can become a certified endocrinologist.
Top Medical Colleges for Endocrinology
There are numerous medical colleges across the globe that offer MD as well as fellowship programs for those aspiring to become an Endocrinologist. Below we have listed some of the prominent medical universities you must consider to pursue your fellowship or MD in Endocrinology:
- Wayne State University
- Karolinska Institute
- University of Maryland
- University of Massachusetts
- The University of Sydney
- Rutgers University
- University of Oklahoma
- The University of Manchester
- University of Vermont
- Johns Hopkins University
- Stanford University
- University of Liverpool
Becoming an Endocrinologist, you can explore opportunities in both the public and private sector. Further, you can also set up your own clinic to begin your practice or associate yourself with health centres and NGOs. If you are aiming to discover the research domain, you can work at research centres and institutions and delve deeper into exploring this medical field in depth and contribute towards bringing better diagnosis methods, treatments and cures for diseases.
Thus, we hope that this blog has helped you understand the journey towards becoming an endocrinologist. If you are planning to study Endocrinology but don’t know which university to opt for, take the help of Leverage Edu’s AI-based tool that brings you suitable course and university combinations thus guiding you to take an informed step towards your dream career.