Gastroenterologist Career Information

Gastroenterologists specialize in the treatment of chronic and acute conditions that are related to the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, intestines and the colon. Also, most Gastroenterologists practice some hepatology, which is the treatment of liver disease and also maladies. They use a variety of diagnostic equipment such as scopes, cameras and some chemicals in order to identify and also treat different types of diseases. They prescribe drug-based therapeutic treatments in order to combat the illness. Gastroenterologists have broad knowledge of the upper and lower digestive track and also have experience using upper and lower endoscopy and also knowledge of specific gastrointestinal diseases and other conditions.

Training and education

Gastroenterologists is a specialty of internal medicine. A gastroenterologist has completed all of the same training as an internist which usually includes four years of undergraduate, four years of medical school, three years of residency and also two years of fellowship in Gastroenterologists.

The most important part of training for a Gastroenterologists is the attention to detail and incorporation of their knowledge in order to obtain an understanding of the entire gastrointestinal tract. This allows people in this field to provide the highest quality of endoscopy and consultative services for their patients. The final product is a trained specialist with a broad scientific background on things such as experience, general Internal Medicine training and great endoscopic skills. These abilities allow patients to receive the best optimal health-care.

They are usually required to hold a bachelors degree in a science field. Most gastroenterologists are usually board-certified by the American Board of internal medicine and the American College of Gastroenterologists and all though board certification is not required to practice, it is better to have as they can be to better paying job opportunities. As all physicians must do, Gastroenterologists must hold an active state's medical license in the state where they practice, and must also pass the USMLE in order to practice legally on patients and with medicine.


Most Gastroenterologists are owners, or have partners, in their own practices. As with most physicians, the higher volume of patient visit procedures translate into their higher earnings. According to the medical group management Association (MGMA), the average salary is $400,000 annually, based on 2007 data for the year of recent figures in earnings. 


Gastroenterologists perform a variety of tasks that involve scopes, endoscopes, upper and lower digestive tract. The scopes help identify and diagnose problems while other scopes are used to remove portions of a digestive tract that may be needed to be repaired. This process involves inserting a long, flexible tube into the digestive tract with a tiny camera tip. The camera allows the physician to see the insides of these inside a patient's body.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Physicians who are torn between medical and surgical specialties often settle for Gastroenterology. This job can get tiresome, because you are under a lot of stress when dealing with a lot of patients. They often deal with things such as declining reimbursements, improper managed-care and the very long hours which can make your personal life difficult.