What Does a Gastroenterologist Do? - Job Description & Salary

Want to find out more about what a career as a gastroenterologist entails? In this article, you can find out about the duties, salary, job outlook, education requirements, and more! Schools offering Health Science degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Occupation at a Glance

A gastroenterologist is a medical doctor that works with patients with pain or diseases in gastrointestinal tract and liver - including the stomach and intestines. They must understand the physiology, motility, digestion, removal of waste and the liver as a whole digestive organ. Check out the chart below for more information:

Degree RequiredDoctor of Medicine
Training RequiredResidency in gastroenterology
Job DutiesManage diseases; treat patients with conditions such as colitis and hepatitis; prescribe medication
Certification/LicensureState issued medical license; optional board certification
Median Salary (2019)$304,349*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% Growth (for general internists)*

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Job Duties Does a Gastroenterologist Have?

Gastroenterologists are specialty physicians who assess and treat patients with issues that impact the small intestine, pancreas, bile ducts, liver, colon and rectum, gallbladder, stomach and esophagus. They may conduct endoscopic procedures, which involves inserting a flexible lighted tube with a camera down a patient's intestinal tract, as well as endoscopic biliary examinations, which includes extraction of tumors without surgery, placements of stents and endoscopic ultrasounds.

What Degree Is Required?

First, you will need to obtain a bachelor's degree and take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), which is required to get into medical school. Once enrolled in medical school, you will spend the first 2 years taking classes and laboratories and the last 2 years working under the supervision of experienced physicians in clinics and hospitals. After completing medical school and earning your degree, you will be able to either take the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) to become licensed.

A prospective gastroenterologist must spend at least 3 years in an internal medicine residency program and then a 2-3-year fellowship training in gastroenterology. Finally, you will be able to take become board certified in gastroenterology through the American Board of Internal Medicine.

How Much can I Earn?

The median salary of a gastroenterologist is $304,349, as of March 2019, per PayScale.com. Many physicians and surgeons work long hours, irregular shifts, and overnight schedules often. They may even travel between their offices and clinics to treat patients and may have to work with these individuals over the phone or make take emergency appointments.

What Is the Job Outlook?

Employment of all internists is expected to grow by 15% between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. The growing and aging population is expected to increase the need for physician services and individuals will continue to seek higher levels of care as chronic illnesses continue to increase. Additionally, prospects for physicians that want to work in rural and low-income-areas are meant to be good as these areas don't attract medical professionals.

What Are Some Alternative Careers?

If you are interested in working in the medical field but don't want to focus on gastreonology, a few other occupations could be becoming a chiropractor, dentist or an optometrist. A chiropractor treats patient's health problems that have to do with the neuromusculoskeletal system and dentists focus on a patient's teeth and oral health. An optometrist examines and treats eye and visual problems by providing glasses, content lenses, etc.

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