FREE Consult: Master More - Faster - for Impressive Boards ScoresSCHEDULE CALL
FREE Consult: Master More - Faster - for Impressive Boards Scores


How to Become a Urologist in 2023

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.

by Yousmle Staff in Residency

Do you want to know how to become a urologist? Are you interested in a medical career that provides not only patient care but also offers unique opportunities for medical research and a chance to be on the cutting edge of modern medicine?

If so, a urology career may be the perfect choice for you. In this blog post, I will explain what a urologist does and how to become one, even if you’re only in high school.


  • Urologists specialize in diagnosing, treating, and managing conditions related to the urinary tract and male reproductive system
  • A urologist must match into a surgery-preliminary residency approved by ACGME or RCPS(C), followed by a four-year urology program.
  • Going to a top medical school may help a bit. However, how you do on your USMLEs (Board) scores and in your med school class ranking will matter more
  • Non-PhD degrees like MBAs and MPHs appear to have no advantage to becoming a urologist (and maybe a slight disadvantage)

Table of Contents

What Are Urologists?

Urologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of conditions related to the urinary tract and male reproductive system. They are trained to treat conditions affecting the kidneys, bladder, ureters, urethra, and male reproductive organs.

Urologists are skilled in performing surgical procedures such as kidney stone removal, prostate surgery, and bladder surgery. They also train to provide non-surgical treatments, such as medications and lifestyle modifications. They work closely with other medical professionals, such as oncologists, to provide comprehensive care for patients with urological cancer.

Is a Urologist a Doctor?

Are urologists doctors? The answer to this question is yes; urologists are doctors.

A urologist is a specialized physician who has completed medical school, usually followed by a five-year residency in urology. During this time, the urologist trains to care for and manage patients with different conditions involving the urinary tract.

Urologists Vs Nephrologists: What’s the Difference?

Urologists and nephrologists are both medical specialties that deal with different aspects of the urinary tract and related conditions. But they have some vital differences.

Urologists focus on surgical and medical conditions related to the male and female urinary tract and male reproductive system. They treat a wide range of conditions including kidney stones, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and prostate cancer. They perform surgical procedures to manage these conditions.

Nephrologists are specialized physicians who focus on diagnosing and treating medical conditions related to the kidneys and their functions. Nephrologists primarily treat kidney-related conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, and kidney failure, and they manage medical treatments such as dialysis, typically without surgical interventions.

In summary, while both urologists and nephrologists deal with the urinary system, they have different areas of focus, training, and practice.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Urologist?

Becoming a urologist is no easy feat and requires considerable time and energy. But if you’re up to the challenge, the results can be gratifying.

It takes a minimum of 13 years after high school to become a urologist. That includes four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school, and five years of urology residency. Along the way, you’ll have to take various standardized exams, including the SAT, the MCAT, and the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK.

Undergraduate (4 Years)

The first step to becoming a urologist is entering and completing an undergraduate program. This means taking the SATs and doing well enough to be accepted into a college or university. Once accepted into an undergraduate program, you’ll have to complete a minimum of four years of academic coursework. This includes classes in biology, chemistry, physics, English, and other general education courses.

Medical School (4 Years)

The next step is to take the MCAT, a standardized exam that measures your knowledge and skills in biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. You’ll need to score well on the MCAT for med school acceptance.

You’ll have to complete four years of academic and clinical training during medical school. This includes classes in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and other medical topics. You’ll also have to complete clinical rotations at hospitals and other healthcare facilities to gain hands-on experience.

Urology Residency (5 Years)

After you’ve completed medical school, you’ll have to match into a surgery-preliminary residency approved by ACGME or RCPS(C), followed by a four-year urology program. To do this, you’ll have to take the USMLE Step 1 and Step 2 CK exams. These exams measure your knowledge and skills in the areas of clinical medicine. Once you’ve passed these exams, you’ll be eligible to apply for residency.

Once you’ve been matched into a urology program, you’ll have to complete four years of clinical training to become a urologist. During this training period, you’ll learn how to manage patients with different urinary tract conditions, both surgically and non-surgically.

Fellowship (Optional; Usually 1-3 Years)

After completing your urology residency, you may pursue further training in a specialized area of urology. Urology fellowships allow physicians to gain subspecialty expertise. Fellowship choices include pediatric urology, female urology, or urologic oncology. Most urology fellowships are one to three years in length, allowing physicians to gain additional experience and hone their skills in a specific area of urology.

After Urology Residency: Licensing + Board Certification

Upon completing your residency, you’ll be eligible to apply for a medical license, a requirement for practice. You’ll also be able to take the Urology Board Exam to become a board-certified urologist. While passing the urology boards is voluntary, many employers will see this as important – or even necessary – for you to be employed as a urologist.

Becoming a urologist takes a minimum of 13 years after high school. It’s a long and arduous process, but if you’re dedicated and passionate about becoming a urologist, the rewards are worth it.

How Competitive is it to Become a Urologist?

General surgery is one of the more competitive specialties in matching into a residency program. Each year, thousands of hopeful medical school graduates apply for a limited number of positions in their preferred specialty. The Match system, run by the National Resident Match Program (NRMP), pairs applicants with training programs based on their preferences.

But how competitive is general surgery in the US? To answer this question, it is important to look at the unmatched rates of US seniors by specialty. The unmatched rate refers to the percentage of US seniors who applied for a residency program in that specialty but did not get matched. It considers each applicant’s first-choice specialty. So, if you applied to a different specialty as a “backup” but didn’t match because you matched in your first choice, this wouldn’t be included. To learn more about how to maximize your chances at a dream residency through “The Match,” see this article.

In the 2022 Match, graduating US medical school seniors attending MD schools had an 18.4% unmatched rate to general surgery. This makes it one of the more competitive specialties, although not of the same competitiveness as specialties like plastic surgery (unmatched % 37.3%), orthopedic surgery (34.2%), or otolaryngology (sometimes called “ENT” for ear-nose-throat; 30.8%).

For more on the competitiveness of general surgery relative to other medical specialties, see this article.

Urologists Annual Compensation

Urologists have an average annual salary of $461,000. However, this can vary dramatically based on practice setting, specialty training, and experience level.

Urologist Annual Salary

Urologists make $461,000 per year on average

How Much Do Urologists Make an Hour?

You may also be wondering, how much do urologists make per hour? And how is the balance between time inside vs. outside the hospital for the specialty?

While there isn’t perfect data, we’ve compiled data regarding hours/weeks worked and annual salary for various specialties, including urology.

Here are the data:

Average Annual SalaryAverage Hourly SalaryOn-Call ScheduleHours/WeekAvg Weeks Worked/Year
Critical Care$369,000.00$114.9166.9
Diagnostic Radiology$437,000.00$170.46Low5844.2
Emergency Medicine$373,000.00$169.59Medium46.447.4
Family Medicine$255,000.00$101.85Medium52.647.6
General Surgery$402,000.00$141.88High59.447.7
Infectious Diseases$260,000.00$101.44High53.4
Internal Medicine$264,000.00$100.81Medium54.947.7
Interventional Radiology$437,000.00
Neurological Surgery (Assistant Prof. Median)$600,500.00$214.96Medium58.2
Obstetrics and Gynecology$336,000.00$123.26Medium5847
Orthopaedic Surgery$557,000.00$207.91Medium5747
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation$322,000.00$147.7645.4
Plastic Surgery$576,000.00$230.77Medium52
Pulmonary Med$353,000.00$119.77Medium61.4
Radiation Oncology (Assistant Prof. Median)$393,734.00$158.36Low51.8
Total Average$381,233.35$147.4453.9

And the estimated physician salary per hour by specialty (urology highlighted in red):

Urologist Hourly Salary

Urologists make $172 an hour on average

Note: when data were unavailable for weeks worked per year, 48 weeks was used as an estimate to calculate the estimated hourly salary.

Getting AOA (Med School Honors) Helps in Becoming a Urologist

Medical school is one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a doctor. Many medical schools have established Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) branches to recognize top students’ hard work and dedication.

Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) is the medical school honors society for students who excel in their studies and demonstrate an exemplary commitment to professionalism and leadership. Each medical school may elect up to 20% of their graduating class to be inducted into AOA.

Induction into AOA is a prestigious honor that carries with it a variety of benefits. AOA members may be eligible for special scholarships and fellowships and can often receive priority consideration for residency positions.

The AOA advantage is particularly notable for the most competitive fields and/or residency programs. The 2022 Match data showed that the match rate for US medical school seniors with AOA membership was 18% greater than that of US seniors without AOA membership in general surgery. In other words, AOA membership provided a moderate advantage to matching into a general surgery residency.

AOA membership correlated with an 18% match rate advantage for General Surgery in the 2022 Match

See this article for more on AOA medical schools and the importance of class rank for matching.

Do You Need to Attend a Top School to Become a Urologist?

When pursuing a career in urology, attending a top medical school can make a difference in matching into your desired specialty. According to a survey of program directors, over half of those surveyed reported considering applicants’ med school reputation when considering whom to interview, giving it an importance score of 3.6 out of 5.

Moreover, graduating from a school in the top 40 for NIH funding is associated with an 11% increase in the likelihood of matching into general surgery as a field. This is potentially because top medical schools have more resources and access to clinical experience, which can help prepare students for the rigors of the specialty.

That said, it is important to remember that the name of the school alone does not guarantee success in any field. While attending a top medical school may have advantages, it is ultimately up to the individual to make the most of the opportunities presented. And while there is an advantage to being from a more prestigious institution, one’s record at the school will matter much more, including things like USMLE scores, class rank, and letters of recommendation.

Graduating from a medical school ranked in the top 40 by NIH funding correlated with an 11% match rate advantage for General Surgery in the 2022 Match

Does an MPH or MBA Help You Become a Urologist?

Medical training is long and arduous. Remarkably, many students consider completing other degrees before, after, or even while pursuing their medical studies. Degrees such as Master of Public Health (MPH) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) may seem attractive to potential general surgery residents due to their additional qualifications. But do these other degrees give applicants an edge in the residency application process?

The truth is that having an additional degree may not matter as much as one thinks. We crunched the numbers on the match rate for graduating students from MD schools for those with non-PhD other degrees vs. those that did not have a second degree. In general surgery, the match rate was 12% lower for those with degrees like an MPH or MBA. This implies that having a second degree that isn’t a Ph.D. doesn’t appear to help your chances of matching into general surgery and may even hurt them.

Having another degree like an MBA or MPH correlated with a -12% match rate disadvantage for General Surgery in the 2022 Match

It’s important to note that this study only looked at the overall match rates of medical students with another degree. The data doesn’t look at the type of degree, the school it was obtained from, and the quality of the applicant’s experience and credentials.

Having a second degree could open up some additional career opportunities. For instance, having an MPH or MBA may prove beneficial for those looking to go into healthcare administration or research.

Concluding Thoughts

Becoming a urologist is a challenging but rewarding career path. It is perfect for those who love physiology, problem-solving, and working as part of a team in intense situations. With hard work, dedication, and a desire to help others, urologists can make a real difference in the world of healthcare.

Looking for aUrologist Residency Advisor?

Looking for a urology residency advisor? Want help writing your personal statement? Need effective strategies for interviewing? Do you have things on your application – e.g., low USMLE scores, failed USMLEs, no research, IMG status, or others – you need help overcoming?

Be sure to check out our Residency Advisor service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.