Oncologist Degree Programs with Course Information

Oncologists are medical doctors involved in the study, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. An oncologist degree is not earned, but aspiring oncologists who have already graduated from medical school can complete 4-year oncology residency programs in order to satisfy training requirements for this area of specialization.

Essential Information

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.

  • Prerequisites: 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
  • Other Requirements: 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

Degree 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 2012-2022 job growth for physicians and surgeons is projected to increase by 18% , according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Specialized doctors, such as oncologists, have especially good prospects. The BLS reported the mean annual salary for non-specialized surgeons and physicians as $189,760 in 2014.

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.

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