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How to Become an Endocrinologist in 2023

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by Yousmle Staff in Residency

Do you want to know how to become an endocrinologist? 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, becoming an endocrinologist may be the perfect career path for you. In this blog post, I will explain what an endocrinologist does and how to become one, even if you’re only in high school.


  • Endocrinologists diagnose and develop treatment plans for patients with endocrine conditions.
  • Endocrinology is a sub-specialty of internal medicine. Internal medicine residency training is three years, in addition to 2-3 more years in an endocrinology fellowship.
  • Going to a top medical school may help a bit. 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 have no advantage in becoming an endocrinologist.

Table of Contents

What Are Endocrinologists?

Endocrinologists diagnose and treat hormonal imbalances and metabolic disorders, which requires a thorough understanding of the body’s physiology and biochemistry.

Rather than only prescribing hormonal medications, endocrinologists diagnose and treat patients with chronic conditions such as thyroid problems, diabetes, and infertility. They work with other specialists to create individualized treatment plans for their patients. They are also involved in research in the laboratory and clinical trials.

Is an Endocrinologist a Doctor?

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

An endocrinologist is a specialized physician who has completed medical school, usually followed by a three-year residency in internal medicine and a two-three year fellowship in endocrinology. During this time, endocrinologists train to monitor, diagnose, and treat patients suffering from endocrine-related conditions. It usually takes three years to complete a research-oriented endocrinology fellowship program.

Endocrinologists vs. Nephrologists: What’s the Difference?

Endocrinologists specialize in diagnosing and treating hormonal imbalances and metabolic disorders While nephrologists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the kidneys. Rather than being two distinct specialties, both endocrinology and nephrology share a significant amount of pathophysiological overlap.

In addition to removing wastes and fluids from the body, the kidney produces and metabolizes various hormones. As a result, chronic kidney disease patients undergo various hormonal disturbances, making the collaboration between endocrinologists and nephrologists beneficial.

How Long Does It Take To Become an Endocrinologist?

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

At a minimum, it takes a minimum of 13 years after high school to become an endocrinologist. That includes four years of undergraduate education, four years of medical school, three years of internal medicine residency, and two-three years of endocrinology fellowship. 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 an endocrinologist is completing an undergraduate program. This means taking the SATs and doing well enough to join a college or university.
The undergraduate program comprises 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 standardized exam. It measures your knowledge and skills in biology, chemistry, physics, and psychology. You’ll need to score well on the MCAT for med school acceptance.

During medical school, you’ll complete four years of academic and clinical training. This includes classes in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology, and other medical topics. The clinical training is to help students gain hands-on experience.

Internal Medicine Residency (3 Years)

Endocrinology is a sub-specialty of internal medicine, so you need to do an internal medicine residency to become an endocrinologist. After you’ve completed medical school, you’ll have to match into an internal medicine residency. 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 matched into an internal medicine residency, you’ll have to complete three years of clinical training to become qualified. During this training period and before specializing in endocrinology diseases, you’ll learn how to evaluate and manage several types of general medical conditions.

Endocrinology Fellowship (2-3 Years)

After completing your internal medicine residency, you must complete an endocrinology fellowship for another two to three years. The fellowship program is usually two years. Physicians oriented toward research and academics will have an extra year of research During this time, you’ll learn to prevent, diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of endocrinology conditions. You will gain an in-depth understanding of the field of endocrinology. Upon completing your endocrinology fellowship, you’ll be eligible to take the Internal Medicine Board Exam in endocrinology to become a board-certified endocrinologist.

After Endocrinology Fellowship: Licensing + Board Certification

After completing your endocrinology fellowship, you can apply for a medical license. You need this to practice. Doing the American Board of Internal Medicine Exam makes you a board-certified endocrinologist. DOs will have to pass the American Osteopathic Board of Internal Medicine exams. While passing these exams is voluntary, many employers find it necessary.

Becoming an endocrinologist takes at least 13 years after high school. Endocrinology is an arduous process, but the rewards are worth it if you’re dedicated.

How Competitive is it to Become an Endocrinologist?

You must match into an internal medicine residency to become an endocrinologist. Thus, we will examine how competitive it is to match into an internal medicine residency.

Internal medicine is one of the less competitive specialties in matching into a residency program. Every year, medical school graduates compete for a few positions in their preferred specialty. NRMP’s match system matches applicants with training programs based on their preferences. 

But how competitive is internal medicine 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 match. 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 count. To learn more about how to maximize your chances at a dream residency through “The Match,” see this article.

In the 2022 Match, US medical school seniors attending MD schools had an unmatched rate of 2%. In the 2022 Match, graduating US medical school seniors attending MD schools had a 2% unmatched rate to internal medicine. This makes it one of the less competitive specialties, unlike specialties like plastic surgery (unmatched % 37.3%), orthopedic surgery (34.2%), or otolaryngology (sometimes called “ENT” for ear-nose-throat; 30.8%).

See this article to learn more about internal medicine’s competitiveness.

Endocrinology Annual Compensation

Although endocrinologists undergo extensive training, their salaries do not reflect this. Endocrinologists have an average annual salary of $257,000. But this will vary depending on practice setting, specialty training, and experience level.

Endocrinologist Annual Salary

Endocrinologists make $257,000 per year on average

How Much Do Endocrinologists Make per Hour?

How much do endocrinologists make per hour? What is the balance between time inside vs. outside the hospital for the specialty?

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

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 (endocrinology highlighted in red):

Endocrinologist Hourly Salary

Endocrinologists make $110 an hour on average

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

Getting AOA (Med School Honors) Helps in Becoming an Endocrinologist

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 2% greater than that of US seniors without AOA membership in internal medicine. In other words, AOA membership provided a modest advantage to matching into an internal medicine residency

AOA Membership Advantage for Internal Medicine 2022

AOA membership correlated with a 2% match rate advantage for internal medicine 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 an Endocrinologist?

When pursuing a career in endocrinology, 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 3.8 out of 5.

Moreover, graduating from a school in the top 40 for NIH funding is associated with a 1% increase in the likelihood of matching into internal medicine 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.

Top 40 med school internal medicine match 2022

Graduating from a medical school ranked in the top 40 by NIH funding correlated with a 1% match rate advantage for internal medicine in the 2022 Match

Does an MPH or MBA Help You Become an Endocrinologist?

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

The truth is that having an extra 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 internal medicine, the match rate was the same(0% advantage)  for those with degrees like an MPH or MBA. This implies that having a second degree that isn’t a Ph.D. doesn’t help your chances of matching into internal medicine.

Internal Medicine other degree MBA MPH advantage 2022

Having another degree like an MBA or MPH correlated with a 0% match rate disadvantage for internal medicine in the 2022 Match

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

Having a second degree could open up more 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 an endocrinologist is a challenging but rewarding career path. It is perfect for those who love pathophysiology and biochemistry. You will also enjoy a great work-life balance. With hard work, dedication, and a desire to help others, endocrinologists can make a real difference in healthcare.

Looking for an Internal Medicine Residency Advisor?

Are you looking for an internal medicine residency advisor? Need 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.

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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.