Difference Between Rheumatologist & Endocrinologist

Rheumatologists and endocrinologists are physicians that have specialized in different systems within the human body. We'll explore the differences and similarities between these two fields.

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Comparing Rheumatologists to Endocrinologists

Rheumatologists and endocrinologists are both specialties in the medical field. Rheumatology concerns bones and the tissues that connects bones. Whereas, the endocrine system primarily deals with hormone production. Find out more about their education, salary and job outlook below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2014-2024)**
Rheumatologist Doctorate $206,983 15% (for physicians and surgeons, all other)
Endocrinologist Doctorate $188,609 15% (for physicians and surgeons, all other)

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Rheumatologists vs. Endocrinologists

Rheumatologists specialize in diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Endocrinolgoists specialize in the endocrine system, which controls hormones in the body. Patients are often referred to rheumatologists and endocrinologists by general medicine physicians.

Rheumatologist

Rheumatologists are physicians that deal with diseases affecting the joints, muscles, and bones. Some symptoms that are treated by rheumatologists include stiffness and swelling, often associated with conditions such as gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. General physicians will often refer patients to a rheumatologist to treat other chronic issues like firbromyalgia and lupus. At times they take on the role of managing a team of healthcare professionals to treat a patient.

Job responsibilities of a rheumatologist include:

  • Diagnosing and treating rheumatic conditions like vasculitis and tendinitis
  • Providing rehabilitation and body maintenance plans for patients
  • Reviewing information from referring physician
  • Maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient files

Endocrinologist

Endocrinologists address issues affecting the endocrine system, which includes glands such as the pineal, pituitary, and adrenal glands, as well as reproductive organs like the ovaries and testes. This system involves human reproduction, growth, development, and metabolism. Patients seeking the help of an endocrinologist often suffer from conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and/or hypertension. Endocrinologists will also treat patients with thyroid and cholesterol disorders, as well as infertility and hormone deficiencies.

Job responsibilities of an endocrinologist include:

  • Diagnosing relevant conditions and developing treatment plans
  • Coordinating with other physicians involved in a patient's care
  • Prescribing medication to treat symptoms
  • Answering questions that patients have about their health

Related Careers

If you are interested in the job of a rheumatologist, you might want to find out about becoming a neurologist. Neurological disorders often have similar symptoms to rheumatological disorders. Those who are interested in becoming an endocrinologist could also be interested in becoming a gastroenterologist, who treats issues of the digestive system including its related glands.

Become a Neurologist: Step-by-Step Career Guide

How to Become a Gastroenterologist: Education and Career Roadmap

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