How to Get Pulmonologist Jobs

With medicine becoming ever more specialized, the demand for pulmonologist jobs is expected to be high. This article will briefly examine the education and training necessary to become a pulmonologist and also offer some tips on where to find these jobs.

Job Description and Divisions

A pulmonologist is a physician specializing in problems of the respiratory system and diaphragm. He diagnoses and treats the many kinds of illnesses affecting breathing, including lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, COPD and many more. The field of pulmonology has become so large that there are now several specializations within it, such as pediatric pulmonology, interventional pulmonology and vascular pulmonology. You may find one of these specialties appealing to you as you study pulmonology as a whole.

Education and Training

The educational and training requirements to become a fully fledged pulmonologist are rigorous and lengthy. This is not a job choice for somebody who expects to breeze through training and become a pulmonologist in a year or less. High school is not too early to start preparing yourself by taking classes in biology, chemistry and anatomy.

General higher education requirements for a pulmonologist would include:

  • Bachelor's degree in medicine from an accredited institution
  • Three years of residency studies in internal medicine, preferably in a program certified by the American Council of Graduate Medical Education
  • Two more years of general patient medical care, resulting in certification

Then there are specific requirements for the study of pulmonology itself. These are:

  • Two more years of fellowship training to become a certified pulmonologist. The first year would be intensive study of the pulmonary system, types of pulmonary disease, immunology and molecular biology
  • The second year would be actual diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary patients in a clinical setting

You can see that the education necessary for a pulmonologist is time-consuming and expensive. But the financial rewards are also great and the satisfaction of helping patients is immeasurable.

Certification and Licensing

All practicing pulmonologists must be certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Those working in pediatric pulmonology must have additional certification from the American Board of Pediatrics. These boards offer examinations upon the completion of the pulmonologist-in-training's residency. Examinations are then given at periodic intervals to make sure the practitioner's knowledge is up to date.

Each state will require a practicing physician to be licensed by that state. Requirements vary by state, but if all the educational and certification prerequisites above are met, licensing is not difficult.

Pulmonology Job Outlook and Information

Pulmonology is still a very specialized, though growing, field. With more patients living longer due to mechanical ventilation equipment and improved treatments, the demand for pulmonologists is on the rise. The compensation and benefits for even first year pulmonologists is outstanding and those just starting can easily expect to make more than $200,000 a year. Experienced pulmonologists can expect at least twice that. Those specializing in pediatric pulmonology can also figure on earning more than the industry average.

By the time a pulmonologist has completed his certification and requirements, he has often established enough connections to easily find possible employers. Your educational institution can also usually help find pulmonology jobs.