Skip to Main Content

What Is an Infectious Disease Physician and How to Become One

What Is an Infectious Disease Physician?

An infectious disease physician is a medical specialist concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and research of infectious diseases, which are typically caused by bacteria, fungi viruses, and other organisms. Common infectious diseases include TB, influenza, and sexually transmitted infections. Some infectious diseases are related to specific geographies, such as tropical diseases. Your main duties and responsibilities as an infectious disease physician depend on whether you primarily focus on research or treatment. Researchers may spend their time doing field work or testing samples in labs. On the other side, you may see patients in a hospital or practice at a private clinic and take patient referrals from primary care physicians.

How Can I Become an Infectious Disease Physician?

To become an infectious disease physician, you need to complete the same basic path as any doctor. This means you need advanced educational qualifications and skills. First, you need to get a bachelor’s degree in a field like biology, chemistry, or pre-med. You must then enroll in medical school. Following medical school, you attend a residency program. To specialize in infectious diseases, you must also complete a fellowship that includes a component of public health. Next, you need to become board certified as a physician. Once you become board-certified, you may sit for the infectious disease certification exam.