Allergist/Immunologist Job Description, Career as an Allergist/Immunologist, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Education and Training: Advanced degree and specialized training
Salary: Median— $228,622 annually
Employment Outlook: Very Good
An allergist/immunologist is a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic and immunologic ailments. Such diseases can range from food allergy, medication allergy, chronic cold, bronchitis, or sinus infections, to asthma, allergic eye diseases, atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis. Allergists and immunologists are trained to not only diagnose and treat, but also manage and prevent immune system disorders such as autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiency diseases.
The work profile of allergists and immunologists involves the use of medical equipment and instruments, examination of patients, and conducting blood tests and patch tests. They need to study the medical history of their patients, analyze the test results, and accordingly prescribe treatment and medication. Often, allergists and immunologists are required to monitor the conditions of patients and re-evaluate treatment procedures when necessary.
Education and Training Requirements
Allergists and immunologists are required to complete at least 13 years of medical training before taking up the profession. This includes 4 years of premedical college or university education, 4 years of medical school, 3 years of residency training, and a further 2 years of fellowship program.
Students completing 4 years of medical school are awarded the Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Osteopathy degree. After this, one must pursue 3 years of residency training in pediatrics or internal medicine. Following completion of training, pediatricians need to pass the American Board of Pediatrics examination, while internists must pass the American Board of Internal Medicine examination. Pediatricians and internists wishing to specialize in immunology or allergy then need to complete another 2 years of study. This is called the fellowship training program in allergy or immunology. Allergists and immunologists must then pass the certifying examination of American Board of Allergy and Immunology in order to become certified.
Getting the Job
In the current job market, most allergists and immunologists opt for salaried jobs in health networks, group medical practices, and clinics. These organizations may recruit newly trained doctors from educational institutions, or advertise openings through job portals on the Internet. According to recent research reports, fresh graduates rarely face any difficulty in finding full-time positions. Some experts state that the number of allergist/immunologist job opportunities exceeds the number of formally trained allergists and immunologists in the United States.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
The majority of allergists and immunologists move into private practice over the years. Those involved in clinics, hospitals, and other similar settings, may advance to managerial and supervisory roles. However, some doctors who choose to remain in the academic field may either gain expertise in further specialties and subspecialties, or teach new residents and doctors.
Job opportunities for allergists and immunologists are expected to increase at a steady rate over the next few years. This is because in the current scenario, there are fewer qualified allergists and immunologists in comparison to the demand for such people. Also, it takes a relatively long period of time for a person to acquire specialization in the field. Employment outlook is particularly favorable for those willing to work in remote areas.
Allergists and immunologists who have just joined the profession may find the work hours overwhelming. This is especially true in the case of physicians who are fresh graduates from medical school. This is because in those initial years, the physician is still undergoing specialized training in the fields of allergy and immunology. Gradually, the allergist/ immunologist may enjoy a more flexible work schedule. Those in salaried jobs generally work full-time on weekdays. However, allergists and immunologists in their own practice can set their work schedule according to their own preferences.
Where to Go for More Information
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
555 East Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
9650 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland 20814
American Board of Allergy and Immunology
111 S. Independence Mall East, Suite 701
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Association of American Medical Colleges
Section for Student Services
2450 N St. NW., Washington, DC 20037
Salary, Earnings and Benefits
According to the salary survey data of 2009, the mean annual earnings of allergists and immunologists are $228,622. To some extent, the earnings vary from one state to the other. For instance, while allergists and immunologists earn about $214,265 in Orlando, Florida, the wages of those employed in the New York-Manhattan area are about $255,755 in a year.
However, the starting salaries of allergists and immunologists may range from $100,000 to $150,000. On the other hand, those employed as full-time medical school faculties generally earn between $105,000 and $247,000 per year.
Allergists and immunologists enjoy a host of benefits like paid sick leaves, paid vacation or holidays, and life insurance coverage. In addition, they are often reimbursed for their educational expenses. Malpractice/ liability insurance, and disability insurance are also provided by certain employers.
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