A Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), which is earned after four years of medical school, is required for admittance into residency programs. Medical school applicants need an undergraduate degree in a science-related subject and acceptable MCAT scores. In addition to having an M.D., doctors must successfully complete an initial post-graduate year (PGY-1). During this year, they receive clinical training in an area such as internal medicine or surgery.
Residents will complete clinical rotations in the first half of their oncology residency programs. During the second half, focus is aligned on research and exploring sub-specialties in oncology. Residents will also study carcinogens and malignancy in cells, blood, tissues and organs. They'll examine the anatomy and physiology of cancer cells as well as the genetics of cancer. The successful completion of an oncology residency program qualifies medical doctors to become board-certified oncologists.
Residency Programs in Oncology
Residents will work closely with patients and conduct research to improve their clinical and research skills. Academic and clinical conferences occur regularly and are led by class faculty and residents. The rotation curriculum varies according to sub-specialty and may include:
- Gynecological oncology: Residents study the treatment of cancer in women
- Medical oncology: Methods for ordering scans and diagnosing patients are covered
- Pediatric oncology: The focus is on treating children with cancer
- Radiology: Doctors learn how to use radiation treatment
- Surgical pathology: Surgical means of removing cancerous tissues and tumors are learned
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The 2014-2024 job growth for physicians and surgeons is projected to increase by 14%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Specialized doctors, such as oncologists, have especially good prospects. The BLS reported that the mean annual salary for non-specialized surgeons and physicians was $197,700 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Oncologists become board certified by medical specialty boards, such as the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Certification involves passing written and oral exams. Due to ever-changing technology, re-certification is mandatory; the requirements vary by specialty.
Oncology residency programs incorporate clinical rotations, research, and academic conferences designed for medical doctors who want to specialize in the study and treatment of cancer. Upon completion of the courses and clinical training, graduates can apply for board certification from the ABPS or ABIM.