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Diabetologist: Job Description, Salary and Career Outlook

Diabetologists require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job description, employment, and salary statistics as well as licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Diabetologists are licensed doctors who specialize in the field of diabetes; they usually have a background in endocrinology. They may see, diagnose or treat patients with diabetes or at risk for developing diabetes, or conduct research.

Essential Information

Diabetologists are physicians who diagnose and treat patients with diabetes. This disease afflicts a growing number of people in the United States. For this reason opportunities to practice in this field are expected to increase. Aspiring diabetologists should first earn an undergraduate degree followed by a medical school degree. After this, they must complete a residency in internal medicine and choose an endocrinology sub-specialty.

Required Education A science-focused bachelor's degree and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree*
Other Required Education Completion of a residency in internal medicine with a sub-specialty in endocrinology*
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 14% for all physicians and surgeons*
Mean Annual Salary (2015) $197,700 for all physicians and surgeons*

Source: *United States Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Diabetologist Job Description

A diabetologist is often a board certified endocrinologist who has specialized training in metabolic disorders. These physicians work with patients to bring high blood sugar under control through diet, exercise, and medications. This protects patients from problems caused by high blood sugar, such as diabetic retinopathy, kidney damage, and diabetic neuropathy.

New Patient Evaluation

During the first appointment with a new patient, the diabetologist gathers a detailed patient history, conducts a physical exam, studies lab x-rays, and orders additional tests. Once all the tests results are available, the physician completes a diagnosis and selects a course of treatment. The physician then discusses the diagnosis and treatment with the patient and answers questions.

Subsequent Patient Care

Diabetologists typically schedule follow-up appointments with patients to assess the effectiveness of treatment and make the appropriate changes. Doctors may ask patients to regularly check their blood sugar using a glucometer. They may also send patients to a dietitian to develop a specialized diet.

Work Environment of Diabetologists

Diabetologists see patients in offices and healthcare facilities. They may work in individual practices or with groups of other physicians. Some work in laboratories, performing clinical research studies for pharmaceutical firms.

Diabetologist Salary

In 2016, Payscale.com reported that most endocrinologists, including metabolic endocrinologists, earned from $123,753-$244,579 annually.

Career Outlook for Diabetologists

Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for physicians and surgeons, which includes diabetologists, was expected to increase by 14% from 2014 to 2024. This rate is faster than the average job growth predicted for all career fields.

Factors Limiting Growth

Improving technology may enable physicians to see more patients in less time, somewhat reducing the need for these professionals. Additionally, increasing healthcare costs may cause people to reduce their visits to physicians. Reductions in reimbursement for healthcare by insurance companies may also shift some work to less costly physician's assistants and nurses.

Diabetologists must complete medical school and become licensed physicians to practice medicine. They would pursue specialized education in endocrinology and diabetology in order to study, diagnose or treat diabetes patients. They may work in labs, doctor's offices, or hospitals. Although there are some factors that could play a limiting role in job opportunities for physicians overall, there is an increasing need for diabetologists as more and more people are diagnosed with the disease.

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