How to Become a Hepatologist

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Hepatology is a medical discipline that focuses on the study of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, and biliary tree and the related conditions. Hepatologits are medical doctors that specialize in treating patients with a variety of conditions and diseases related to the liver and related organs.


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What does a hepatologist do?

Hepatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect the liver and related areas. They treat patients with a variety of conditions such as liver disease, hepatitis, pancreatitis, liver cancer, jaundice, enzyme deficiencies, cirrhosis of the liver, and biliary atresia. They examine patients and perform many different medical diagnostic tests such as biopsies, ultrasounds, and endoscopies. They consult with the patient and provide treatment options that will best treat the condition. Some hepatologists focus on research and conduct studies to gain a better understanding of organs and help develop new treatment options.

What kind of training does a hepatologist need?

Hepatologists must complete 4 years of undergraduate education, 4 years of medical school, and 3 to 8 years of internship and residency training. Medical school provides students with intensive classroom and laboratory instruction. Students also complete clinical rotations in major medical disciplines. After medical school hepatologists complete residency training in internal medicine. Most hepatologists then complete a fellowship in hepatology where they learn about a variety of conditions and treatments. All states require hepatologists to be licensed and requirements include graduating from an accredited medical school, completing graduate medical education, and passing a licensing examination. Many hepatologists also become board certified from the American Board of Internal Medicine. They must complete continuing education on a regular basis to maintain their license and certification and stay up to date on advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a hepatologist?

Employment of all physicians is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increase of conditions of the liver and related organs related will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for hepatologists with extensive experience and advanced training. Numerous job openings will arise from the need to replace hepatologists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.?

How much do hepatologists make?

As of November 2009, the average annual salary for hepatologists is $235,000; average annual hepatologist salaries vary greatly on location, industry, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a hepatologist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in hepatology and providing care to patients. Hepatologists must be self-motivated, committed, and have excellent problem solving skills. They must be able to handle the stress and pressure of the medical field and have great bedside manner and ability to put patients at ease. They must also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to work effectively as part of a team. Hepatologists must be able to make fast and effective decisions in emergency situations.

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