How to Become an Urologist

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Urology is a medical discipline that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of conditions related to the urinary tract of both males and females and the reproductive system of males. Urologists are medical doctors that specialize in urology that diagnose and treat patients with many different urological conditions.

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What does an urologists do?

Urologists diagnose and treat a variety of urological conditions related to the urinary tract and male reproductive system. They treat conditions related to the urinary bladder, urethra, kidney, ureters, prostate, and male reproductive organs. Conditions include kidney stones, testicular cancer, male infertility, Parkinson’s disease, and incontinence. They perform physical examinations, administer diagnostic tests, and consult with patients about the treatment options. They often use x-ray machines, fluoroscopes, and a variety of other medical equipment to assist in the diagnosis and extent of the condition. They treat patients using catheters, radium emanation tube, cystoscope, and other equipment. Some urologists perform surgical procedures.

What kind of training does an urologist need?

Urologists must complete an undergraduate degree, medical school, an internship, and residency training. Medical school provides intensive classroom and laboratory instruction and clinical rotations of all major medical disciplines. After medical school, prospective urologists must complete an internship and residency training in urology. Some urologists complete additional fellowship training to specialize in a specific area such as pediatric urology, urological oncology, and male infertility. All states require urologists to be licensed. Licensing requirements include graduation from an accredited medical school, completing graduate medical education, and passing a licensing examination. Urologists must also become board certified from the American Urology Association. They must complete continuing education regularly to maintain their licenses and certifications and keep up with the current advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as an urologist?

Employment of all physicians is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing and aging population and increased need for urology services will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be very good, especially for urologists with specialty training and extensive experience. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace urologists that retire, transfer, or leave the profession for other reasons.

How much do urologists make?

As of December 2009, the middle 50% of urologists earn annual salaries between $249,512 and $374,569. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $438,806 (2).

A career as an urologist is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care to patients with a variety of urological conditions. Urologists must have a solid understanding of the urinary system and the male reproductive system. Patience, self-motivation, determination, eye-hand coordination, critical thinking, and good problem solving skills are essential. Urologists must have excellent communication and ability to help patients feel at ease. They must be able to work under stress and make effective decisions in emergency situations.

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