Urologists are medical specialists who treat patients with injuries and diseases that affect the urinary tract. They also treat conditions that involve the female pelvic floor muscles and male reproductive system disorders. Because gynecologists usually treat them, urologists do not treat disorders that involve the female reproductive system.
Urology is one specialty in which physicians can use both their surgical skills and their medical management knowledge to care for patients.
Becoming a Urologist
To become a urologist, you need to travel a long road. You will need to have a four-year college degree before you are able to apply to medical school. You will also have to go through the medical college admission tests to be able to get into medical school. Do not assume becoming a doctor is easy. There is not guarantee for anything in life, this is certainly one of them. Even with the health care system in America being flawed and made worse by the ACA, there is still competition to become a doctor.
Once you are accepted into medical school, there are 4 years of training ahead of you. During that time, you will attend classes, such as biochemistry, genetics, embryology, neuroscience, and medical ethics. During your third and fourth year of medical school, you will begin clinical rotations to apply the knowledge you acquired in the classroom to the real world.
There are mandatory clinical rotations, such as elective rotations, psychiatry, and internal medicine. Because urology is usually not included in the required rotations, you can select it as part of your elective rotations during your fourth year of med school. This will be helpful in helping you attain a better understanding of the field.
A urology residency is the next step after you graduate from medical school. You will have to spend a minimum of 5 years as a urology resident. Depending on the program, these five years may be divided by completing a 2-year general surgery residency and 3 years on urology training.
If you are interested in a urology subspecialty, such as urological oncology, pediatric urology, etc., you will need to attend a post-residency fellowship of 1 to 2 years. Once you have completed all educational and training requirements, you are eligible to take the exam to become a board-certified urologist.
Medical School and Urology Residency Program Information
As mentioned earlier, before you can pursue urology specifically, you are first required to complete a medical program. During the first two years of medical school, you will study a wide range of topics that apply to all specialties of medicine including pediatrics, obstetrics, neurology, gynecology, and urology. During the last two years, you will go through a clinical experience to apply that knowledge to practice. General topics include:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Functional systems
- Infectious disease
Information on Job Outlook and Salary
As of 2015, the middle 50% of urologists earn between $249,512 and $374,569 per year. On the other hand, the top 10% earn more than $438,806 per annum. Remember, you will have plenty of school loans to pay off.
The According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job growth prospects for surgeons and doctors is about 18% from 2012 to 2022 which is faster than average but with chaotic America health care situation, some people are not sure if they want to take the risk. If you are in a specialty practice, like urology, or if you are willing to work in areas that are less desirable than others, there could be better opportunities.
Certification, Licensing, and Continuing Education
After you complete your medical degree, you will need to enter a residency program to complete your training. If you are interested in the field of urology, you should apply for programs specifically tailored to it. Once you complete your residency, you will need to pass a state licensing exam to be able to practice. The requirements for licensing vary from state to state. You should also consider board certification from the American Board of Urology. You will need to continue your education in order to maintain licensure and certification.
If you are considering whether and how to become an urologist, you should keep in mind that the job prospects in this medical field are solid if you can get through the academics and so on, especially if you have specialty training in addition to extensive experience. There will be many job openings that will arise from the requirement to replace urologists that transfer, retire, or leave the profession for reasons of their own, perhaps because of the long wait involved in getting reimbursed by Medicaid or just normal retirement choices.
If you have a strong interest in providing care to patients who suffer from a wide range of urological conditions and problems, becoming an urologist is an excellent career choice for you. Urologists need to have a solid understanding of the male reproductive system as well as the urinary system.
It is essential to have skills like patience, determination, self-motivation, eye-hand coordination, good problem-solving skills, and critical thinking. You also need to have excellent communication skills as well as the ability to make patients feel comfortable and at ease. You will also need to have the ability to make effective decisions in emergency situations and work under stress.
If you have all these qualities and have the desire to help people with medical problems, becoming an urologist is a wonderful profession to choose. Do not forget the above average pay as well.