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Career Definition of an Allergist
Allergists, who may also be known as allergist-immunologists, are medical doctors who specialize in providing direct or indirect care for patients who are afflicted by medical conditions such as allergies. Those who work with patients directly will assess them, perform tests to identify the medical conditions and then determine the most effective treatment methods. Those who work with patients indirectly opt to concentrate on research.
The work that research allergists do can contribute to developing more effective ways to treat allergies and other related conditions, such as asthma. They may also help create better medical tests that can be used to diagnose patients.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree, medical degree, medical license, residency, fellowship, certification|
|Job Skills||Good problem-solving and communication skills, attention to detail, physical fitness and leadership skills|
|Median Salary (2016)*||$206,920 (for allergists and immunologists)|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)*||14%+ (for allergists and immunologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Allergists have extensive educational requirements and must spend several years in college before specializing in their field. The typical path for those preparing for a career as an allergist involves earning a bachelor's degree and medical degree, which normally takes eight years of postsecondary study. After earning a medical degree those who are interested in this subspecialty must complete a residency in an area such as internal medicine and earn a medical license. They are also required to complete a fellowship and earn certification in a specialty, such as internal medicine, before completing another fellowship and certification in allergy-immunology.
It's important that allergists can communicate effectively, since they will be able to get more relevant information from patients that they're treating and effectively explain their conditions and treatment options once they've identified a diagnosis. Those who work in research also need good communication and leadership skills because they will work with other medical professionals and may need to provide direction on research projects. Whether they're diagnosing patients or working on a treatment for a specific allergy, allergists need to be able to solve problems, since they may need to rule out several possibilities before they are able to identify the correct diagnosis or treatment. Since it may take months or years for them to make a breakthrough in their research, or they may need to interact with challenging individuals, they also need to be patient.
Career and Salary Outlook
As of 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that allergists and immunologists earned a median annual salary of $206,920. The BLS indicates that these physicians would see a job growth rate of 14% or higher from 2014 to 2024. This rate is much faster than the national average for all occupations. Allergists who have good people skills and demonstrate they are organized and thorough in their work will likely appeal to potential employers.
Aspiring allergists may also want to consider other career options that involve performing similar duties. This list covers medical careers that focus on treating patients, conducting medical research and developing new medications.