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Gastroenterology vs. Diabetes & Endocrinology: Which Specialty is Right for You?

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by Yousmle Staff in Career

Gastroenterology vs. diabetes and endocrinology is one of the debates among medical students interested in physiology. Both specialties allow you to explore the complex workings of the human body and use your skills to improve patient outcomes. However, they also have significant differences, such as the scope of practice, the work environment, and the training requirements.

How do you decide which one is right for you? In this article, we will provide helpful information and tips to help you make an intelligent decision on gastroenterology vs. diabetes and endocrinology and find a fulfilling career that matches your interests and abilities. We will also help you evaluate practical factors such as job availability, salary, and training duration.

Gastroenterology vs. Diabetes and Endocrinology: Salary and Job Security

Gastroenterology might be your specialty if you want to earn a lot of money and have a steady demand for your services. But be prepared for a competitive job market after fellowship, even if you graduate from a prestigious program.

Diabetes and endocrinology, meanwhile, offers more job openings. You can easily find a hospital that needs endocrinologists, and the career outlook is positive, even if the salary is not as high as gastroenterology. That being said, according to recent data, gastroenterologists earn an average annual salary of $501,000, while endocrinologists have a lower average salary of $267,000.

Estimated Physician Average Yearly Salary by Medical Specialty in the US

Gastroenterologists earn $501,000 per year on average, while endocrinologists earn less with $267,000 annually

Gastroenterology vs. Diabetes and Endocrinology: Competitiveness

Here we can assess the competitiveness of a specialty by looking at the unmatched rate – the % of people who apply and do not match into their preferred specialty.

To pursue a career in gastroenterology or diabetes and endocrinology, you must first match into an internal medicine residency. Among US Seniors, the unmatched percentage for internal medicine residency was only 2%, making it less competitive than other residencies. However, this does not mean that gastroenterology or diabetes and endocrinology is less competitive. After completing your internal medicine residency, you will still need to match into a fellowship, which is generally more competitive than matching into a residency. 

Cardiology vs. Gastroenterology

Below is the unmatched percentage among non-pediatric fellowships with >100 applicants. The gastroenterology fellowship had an unmatched percentage of 20.6% for US seniors, making it highly competitive compared to most fellowships with more than 100 applicants. In contrast, the unmatched percentage of US seniors applying to diabetes and endocrinology was 4.6, making it less competitive than gastroenterology.

Training Path: Fellowship vs Residency

To become a gastroenterologist, you must complete a three-year fellowship in gastroenterology after completing a three-year internal medicine residency. Diabetes and endocrinology also involves a three-year internal medicine residency followed by a three-year diabetes and endocrinology fellowship.

A gastroenterology fellowship is typically more competitive than a diabetes & endocrinology fellowship. Your USMLE scores, med school, and research are the main things for residency applications. Research is also a big thing for fellowship applications, and your residency program counts more, but your USMLE scores matter much less.

Gastroenterology vs. Diabetes and Endocrinology: Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a crucial factor for many medical professionals. Endocrinologists and diabetologists often enjoy a better work-life balance due to the nature of their work. They usually have predetermined working hours, leading to more predictable schedules.

Gastroenterologists work an average of 52.3 hours, ranking near the middle of all medical specialties. In comparison, endocrinologists work fewer hours with 48.9 hours, ranking below the middle of all medical specialties.

Estimated Physician Weekly Working Hours by Medical Specialty in the US

Gastroenterologists work an average of 52.3 hours per week, while endocrinologists work fewer hours, at 48.9 per week.

Endocrinologists spend an average of 16 hours per week due to increased referrals and notes, which places them near the upper end of all medical specialties. In comparison, gastroenterologists spend fewer hours, with 13 hours per week, ranking near the lower end of all medical specialties.

Estimated Physician Admin/Paperwork Hours by Medical Specialty in the US

Gastroenterologists work on admin/paperwork an average of 13 hours per week, while endocrinologists work more hours, at 16 per week.

Training Duration and Subspecialties

The training duration is a key aspect to consider when choosing between gastroenterology vs. diabetes and endocrinology.  Diabetes and endocrinology has a five-year training period, with three years of internal medicine residency followed by a two-year diabetes and endocrinology residency, while gastroenterology has a six-year training period with three years of internal medicine residency followed by a three-year gastroenterology fellowship

Additionally, gastroenterologists often pursue more subspecialty training in fields like advanced endoscopy or hepatology because of the scarce job opportunities. This can increase the length of your gastroenterology training.

Gastroenterology vs. Diabetes and Endocrinology: Job Satisfaction and Burnout Rates

Job satisfaction plays a significant role in career fulfillment. According to various studies, gastroenterology tends to have higher job satisfaction rates than diabetes and endocrinology. Many gastroenterologists express contentment with their career choice and would choose it again if given the chance.

According to recent data, gastroenterology ranked near the upper end of all medical specialties with 92% of gastroenterologists stating that they would choose the same specialty again, while diabetes and endocrinology ranked slightly lower with 85% of endocrinologists feeling the same way.

Job Satisfaction Rate By Medical Specialty in the US

Gastroenterologists reported a 92% job satisfaction rate, while endocrinologists reported lower satisfaction with 85%

The burnout rates for gastroenterology and diabetes & endocrinology were both above the middle of all medical specialties, with gastroenterology at 52% and diabetes & endocrinology at 51%.

Burnout Rate By Medical Specialty in the US

Gastroenterologists have a burnout rate of 52%, while endocrinologists have an almost similar burnout rate of 51%.

Gastroenterology vs. Diabetes and Endocrinology: Comparison

To provide a visual overview, here’s a table comparing gastroenterology and diabetes & endocrinology :

AspectGastroenterologyDiabetes and Endocrinology
Average SalaryGenerally high salary as demand grows for procedures like colonoscopies.Lower than gastroenterology
Job SecurityHigh demand due to the prevalence of gastrointestinal disorders
High demand due to increasing rates of diabetes, hormone-related disorders, and other endocrine conditions
Training PathTypically involves 3 years of internal medicine residency followed by a 3-year gastroenterology fellowship


Typically involves 3 years of internal medicine residency, and 2-3 years of endocrinology fellowship
LifestyleTypically regular working hours, but may also have on-call duties
More regular working hours, but may also involve on-call duties and emergency consultations
Administrative PaperworkModerate documentation requirements for patient records and surgical plans Moderate to High administrative requirements
Job SatisfactionHighLower
Burnout RatesModerateModerate
PersonalityStrong communication skills for patient education
Strong problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and ability to manage complex and chronic conditions related to hormones and metabolism

Please note that this table serves as a general comparison. To determine the most suitable career for you, consider your personal and career priorities and goals.

Concluding Thoughts

Choosing the right specialty between gastroenterology vs. diabetes & endocrinology depends heavily on your priorities. To determine this, try reverse engineering your ideal life and identify your top priority. A helpful exercise is to write down the top five things you want to achieve in your career and personal life. Knowing these priorities will make finding a career that aligns with them easier. Often, the biggest obstacle is not a lack of knowledge about different fields but a lack of self-awareness about our own preferences.

Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.

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