How to become an Endocrinologist

Is endocrinology the right choice for you? Endocrinology is the study of hormone-producing glands and the hormones they secrete. Endocrinologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating disorders related to the endocrine system, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, and osteoporosis. If you have a passion for science and helping people manage their chronic conditions, then a career in endocrinology might be the right choice for you.


Becoming an endocrinologist requires completing a significant amount of education and training. After completing college and medical school, endocrinologists must complete a residency in internal medicine or pediatrics, followed by a fellowship in endocrinology. The process of becoming an endocrinologist can take up to 15 years.

Medical Education

The first step in becoming an endocrinologist is to complete a bachelor’s degree. While there is no specific major required, endocrinologists typically have degrees in biology or another science-related field. After completing a bachelor’s degree, endocrinologists must then complete 4 years of medical school.

Residency training

After medical school, endocrinologists must complete a 3-year residency in either internal medicine or pediatrics. During their residency, endocrinologists gain experience in managing and treating patients with various medical conditions in internal medicine or pediatrics.

Endocrinology Fellowship

Following their residency, endocrinologists must complete a 2-3 year fellowship in endocrinology, depending on whether a clinical or research track is selected.

The fellowship application process for endocrinology includes writing a personal statement, interviewing at various programs, creating a rank order list, and being matched with a fellowship program. During their fellowship, endocrinologists receive training in the diagnosis and treatment of hormone-related disorders. They also gain experience in research and teaching.

Rotations during the first and second years of the fellowship include:

-Inpatient service

-Outpatient clinics


-Nuclear medicine


-Endocrine surgery

-Research project

Additional rotations in medical genetics, reproductive endocrinology, osteoporosis, and lipidology are program-specific and may be available during the second year of fellowship training.

T32 research funding may be available for clinical and basic science research during the fellowship. However, it is only available to those who are US citizens or permanent residents.

Endocrinologists also have the option to pursue additional subspecialty training in a particular area of endocrinology, such as diabetes, reproductive endocrinology, lipidology, hypertensive heart disease, endocrine oncology, neuroendocrinology, and bone health.

Procedural competencies in Endocrinology

Endocrinologists perform thyroid ultrasonography and fine needle biopsy of the thyroid and parathyroid glands. They also are trained in the management of diabetes, including insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitoring.

Board Certification and Licensure

After completing their fellowship, endocrinologists must obtain a medical license in order to practice medicine. Also, to become board certified in endocrinology, endocrinologists must pass the American Board of Internal Medicine.

For fellows in a research track, they are expected to complete a research project during their fellowship that is publishable in a peer-reviewed journal. For fellows in the clinical track, they may elect to do a small research project or participate in quality improvement projects.

AACE and Endocrine society membership

Membership in professional organizations such as the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) and the Endocrine Society can provide educational resources, networking opportunities, and discounts on conferences and journals.

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) is the largest professional organization for endocrinologists in the United States. Members of AACE have access to educational resources, networking opportunities, and discounts on conferences and journals.

The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest, largest, and most active organization devoted to research on hormones and the clinical practice of endocrinology. Members of the Endocrine Society have access to educational resources, networking opportunities, and discounts on conferences and journals.

Salary of an endocrinologist

The median annual salary for endocrinologists in the United States is $215,000. Salaries can vary depending on experience, geographical location, and type of practice. Endocrinologists in academia typically earn less than those in private practice.

Work-life balance

Endocrinologists typically work 40-60 hours per week. They may work weekends and holidays as needed. Endocrinologists in private practice may have more flexible schedules than those in academia or research.

The pros and cons of being an endocrinologist


-The ability to help people with hormone-related conditions

-The opportunity to perform procedures (thyroid biopsy)

-A good salary and job stability (shortage of hormone specialists)

-Flexible work hours for those in private practice (No weekend or overnight calls)


-The possibility of long hours and working weekends and holidays (for those in academia)

-The need to keep up with changing technology and medical advances (especially in the field of diabetes care – insulin pump therapy and continuous glucose monitors)

-The pressure to see patients quickly and efficiently

-Tons of paperwork (documentation) for insurance purposes. Especially for diabetes patients on insulin pump therapies or using continuous glucose monitors.

Your journey to becoming an endocrinologist starts here

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About the Author MyEndoConsult

The MyEndoconsult Team. A group of physicians dedicated to endocrinology and internal medicine education.

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