Endocrinology is a subspecialty of internal medicine, a specialty of emergency medicine, family medicine, and preventative medicine. Endocrinology is concerned with diagnosing and treating disorders that affect the endocrine or glandular system. This includes the pituitary gland, the thyroid, and the adrenal glands, and diseases such as diabetes (types 1 and 2), gonadal disease, and hypothalamic disorders.
Although this is a very specialized area of medicine, many job opportunities are available for endocrinologists. Here are three types of medical settings that employ endocrinologists.
Clinics are smaller outpatient centers than hospitals, but they also offer a wider range or specialty service, unlike the typical physician’s office. Endocrinologists can work in an endocrinology clinic, but because this field of medicine affects and is connected to many other organs in the body, endocrinologists can also find work in multidisciplinary clinics that also specialize in other areas of medicine.
Oncology is the subspecialty of internal medicine that focuses on diagnosing and treating benign and malignant tumors in the body or cancer. Cancer can affect the glandular system, and endocrinologists would be great consultants in oncology clinics. Oncologists also work alongside hematologists (blood specialists), so endocrinologists in this environment will also work alongside and consult with hematologists.
Neurology is the specialty of medicine that focuses on the central, periphery, and autonomic nervous systems, as well as the musculoskeletal system. Combined with endocrinology (called neuroendocrinology), the focus shifts to how the brain regulates hormonal activity in the body. Endocrinologists specializing in neuroendocrinology can find work in neurology clinics or specialty neuroendocrinology clinics.
Nephrology is a subspecialty in internal medicine that focuses on kidney health. Chronic kidney disease is common in people with diabetes— which is a focus of endocrinology. Because some clinics combine nephrology and endocrinology, this is an example of a multidisciplinary clinic that would hire endocrinologists.
Like chronic kidney disease, heart disease is also common in people with diabetes. Cardiology focuses on the heart and the entire cardiovascular system, which also affects the endocrine system and vice versa. It’s possible for endocrinologists to find positions in cardiology clinics, but they’re more likely to find work in multidisciplinary clinics that combine cardiology and endocrinology.
Endocrinologists can also be employed in hospitals and other similar in-patient settings. In these types of settings, endocrinologists are more focused on treating the conditions that affect the endocrine system, such as:
- Thyroid disease
- Metabolic disorders
- Diabetes (Type 2)
- Calcium disorders
- Adrenal disorders
They may also treat diseases that are indirectly related to the endocrine system, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure (hypertension), and obesity.
#3: Private and Group Practices
Private and group practices are physician offices that provide general healthcare to their patients and are usually their primary care providers. Even though physician practices usually provide general care, endocrinologists can open a practice alone or with other physicians (other endocrinologists, cardiologists, nephrologists, etc.). They may also be able to find positions in other practices that may focus on a specific group of people.
Pediatric medicine is a specialty of medicine that focuses on health care for children, or more specifically, from infancy through adolescence. Some adolescents stop seeing a pediatrician once they reach their teen years while others continue seeing a pediatrician until adulthood. Children, however, benefit the most from seeing a pediatrician because diseases and illnesses may appear and act differently in children, so it’s important for them to see a physician that specializes with this age group.
Endocrinologists can specialize in pediatric medicine, as endocrine disorders can also affect children. Examples include type 1 (and type 2) diabetes, growth problems, and early or delayed puberty. Multidisciplinary pediatric practices may hire endocrinologists, but they can also find work in pediatric hospitals.
Obstetrics/Gynecology (OB/GYN) and Urology
OB/GYN practices focus on the female reproductive system, while urology practices focus on the male reproductive system and the urinary tract. Because the endocrine system includes reproductive hormones, endocrinologists may be able to find work in these types of practices, especially if they’re multidisciplinary.
There are many employment options available to endocrinologists because it’s a field that is closely tied to other areas of medicine. In general, physicians of all specialties and all healthcare workers have a high chance of finding employment because medicine is something that everyone needs. The job outlook for physicians is projected to grow over the next decade.