There are about 756,800 physicians working in the United States. Only a small number specialize in endocrinology. Endocrinologists work in hospitals, managed-care offices, colleges and universities, and research laboratories. Some are self-employed in their own or group practices. Positions are also available in government agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies hire physicians to research and develop new drugs, instruments, and procedures.
There are no shortcuts to entering the medical profession. Requirements are an M.D. or D.O. degree, a licensing examination, a one- or two-year internship, and a period of residency that may extend as long as five years (and seven years if they are pursuing board certification in a specialty).
Upon completing this program, which may take up to 15 years, physicians are then ready to enter practice. They may choose to open a solo private practice, enter a partnership practice, enter a group practice, or take a salaried job with a managed-care facility or hospital. Salaried positions are also available with federal and state agencies, the military, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, and private companies. Teaching and research jobs are usually obtained after other experience is acquired.
Physicians who work in a managed-care setting or for a large group or corporation can advance by opening a private practice. The average physician in private practice does not advance in the accustomed sense of the word. Their progress consists of advancing in skill and understanding, in numbers of patients, and in income. They may be made a fellow by the American College of Endocrinology or elected to an important office in the American Medical Association, American Osteopathic Association, or an endocrinology association. Teaching and research positions may also increase a physician's status.
Some physicians may become directors of a laboratory, managed-care facility, hospital department, or medical school program. Some may move into hospital administration positions.
Physicians can achieve recognition by conducting research in new medicines, treatments, and cures, and publishing their findings in medical journals. Participation in professional organizations can also bring prestige.
A physician can advance by pursuing further education in a subspecialty or a second field such as biochemistry or microbiology.
Tips for Entry
For job listings, visit:
The Endocrine Society offers a variety of early-career resources such as an Early Career Forum, career development workshops, and promotion and tenure workshops. Visit https://www.endocrine.org/awards/early-career-forum for more information.
Conduct information interviews with endocrinologists and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists offers a database of endocrinologists at https://www.aace.com/find-an-endo.
Read Endocrine Practice (https://www.aace.com/publications/endocrine-practice-journal-clinical-endocrinologists) and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (https://www.endocrine.org/journals) to learn more about the industry.
Read EndoCareers (https://www.endocrine.org/our-community/career-and-professional-development/endocareers), a resource for students, fellows, and early career professionals.