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What Is a Rheumatologist and How to Become One


What Does a Rheumatologist Do?

As a rheumatologist, your responsibilities focus on the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases that affect the bones, joints, and surrounding muscles. As part of your duties, you may listen to patients describe symptoms, order tests to check for rheumatic disease, like rheumatoid arthritis or gout, evaluate test results, diagnose rheumatic diseases, and create a treatment plan for each patient. Rheumatologists also coordinate testing and treatments with primary care providers and other specialists. Some rheumatologists participate in clinical trials and research to continue learning about the cause and treatment of these diseases.

How to Become a Rheumatologist

To become a rheumatologist, you need medical doctor (MD) qualifications, beginning with a bachelor’s degree in biology, pre-medicine, or a related field, through to completion of a medical school program with a focus on rheumatology. You must then complete a residency program through a hospital or medical facility to gain hands-on training and develop your skills. You need a license to practice medicine in your state, which typically entails passing an exam, applying for the license, submitting required information, and verifying your educational credentials. You can find out more about applying for a rheumatology license in your state by contacting the American Medical Association (AMA). You can find jobs for rheumatologists in hospitals and outpatient facilities.

Rheumatologist Job Description Sample

With this Rheumatologist job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Rheumatologist role.

Job Summary

We are seeking an experienced, hardworking rheumatologist to join our team. In this position, you will play a key role in diagnosing and treating arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles, and bones. You will conduct research to determine the cause and find better treatments for helping your patients fight and overcome these disabling and often fatal diseases.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Creates treatment modalities based on scientific research
  • Treats arthritis, autoimmune diseases, pain disorders affecting joints, and osteoporosis
  • Treats over 200 other types of diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, lupus, gout, back pain, tendinitis, and osteoporosis
  • Treats soft tissue problems related to musculoskeletal systems and sports related soft tissue disorders
  • Diagnosing diseases of the joints
  • Studies signs and symptoms of rheumatic disease and evaluates it effect on their system
  • Designs customized and individualized treatments, depending on a patient's disease
  • Studies and gauges the results of a patient's lab tests
  • Uses technologies and tools like radiographs, MRIs, and ultrasound

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Holds board certification after specialized training
  • Obtained an M.D. or D.O. through fellowship programs or specialist registrar positions or DM in India or equivalent programs throughout the world
  • Four years of undergraduate school, four years of medical school, and three years of residency, followed by three years of residency, and three years of Fellowship training