Opportunities Open to Internal Medicine Doctors

doctorAre you considering a career as a doctor?

Working as a doctor provides job security in most specialties, and there are several from which to choose, including internal medicine.

Here are some of the available positions you may want to consider in this specialty.

What is Internal Medicine?

Doctors who work in internal, or general, medicine help to prevent, diagnose, and treat adult diseases. There are several subspecialties in internal medicine that residents can pursue, including:

  •         Cardiology
  •         Endocrinology
  •         Pulmonology
  •         Infectious Disease
  •         Geriatrics

These subspecialties require additional education and training to earn a license to practice in these fields.

Internal Medicine Jobs

Anyone who works as an internist has had at least three years of residency after completing medical school. Once they complete their residency, they can take an examination to get their board certification in Internal Medicine.

Primary Care Physicians

About half of the internal medicine residents decide to practice General Internal Medicine. Many of them enter private practice and become primary care physicians, providing ongoing care to their patients.


Some residents choose to work as doctors, or internists, in a hospital. About 90% of the hospitalists in the country are internal medicine specialists.

Internal Medicine Subspecialties

If a resident decides to pursue one of the 11 internal medicine subspecialties, they can combine their training with their chosen specialty to earn certification in both fields.

This training helps to shorten the time it would take for them to complete their education and residency in both fields.

After residency, some doctors decide to pursue a fellowship in a specialty like cardiology or surgery. Most fellowships last two years or more depending on the specialty. During that time, a fellow can act as an attending or consulting physician.

Types of Subspecialties

If they decide to pursue a subspecialty, internist jobs exist in these 11 subspecialties:

  1.       Allergy & Immunology – An allergist or immunologist studies the immune system to help treat allergies and other conditions involving the immune system.
  2.       Cardiology – A cardiologist studies and treats conditions involving the heart and vascular systems.
  3.       Endocrinology – An endocrinologist treats conditions involving glands and hormones.
  4.       Gastroenterology – A Gastroenterologist studies and treats conditions involving the digestive system, liver, and metabolism or nutrition.
  5.       Geriatrics – Doctors in this subspecialty study and treat diseases involving elderly patients, some of whom may be over 80 years old.
  6.       Hematology – Hematologists study about and treat blood disorders, bone marrow, and the lymphatic system.
  7.       Oncology – An oncologist studies and treats benign and malignant cancers. They may specialize in treating specific types of cancers, such as lung or colon cancers.
  8.       Infectious Diseases – This subspecialty involves studying infectious diseases, what causes them, and how to treat them.
  9.       Nephrology – A nephrologist studies diseases involving the kidneys to help treat them.
  10.   Rheumatology – A rheumatologist studies systematic and metabolic disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
  11.   Pulmonology and Critical Care – A pulmonologist studies the respiratory system to learn how to diagnose and treat breathing disorders and other diseases.

Pay Expectations

Along with job security, internists can make a good living. A first-year internal medicine doctor can expect to make an average of over $167,600 per year, depending on where they live.

Experienced internists and specialists, like cardiologists or oncologists, usually make well into the six figures. Although it takes several years to become a doctor, being an internist allows you to help others and make a good living while doing so.