Sep 19, 2017

How to Become a Rheumatologist


Rheumatology is a sub-specialty of the internal medicine and pediatrics medical fields that deals with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions. Rheumatologists are specially trained medical doctors that deal with a variety of issues that involve joints, soft tissues, and connective tissues.


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For anyone considering whether and how to become a rheumatologist, this is potentially an excellent career choice for individuals with a strong interest in health and medicine related careers. Patience, self-motivation, eye-hand coordination, and manual dexterity are essential characteristics. Rheumatologists must have excellent bedside manner and the ability to help patients feel at ease. They must have good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work with a variety of patients and other professionals. They must be able to work in stressful situations and make effective decisions in emergency situations. 

What does a rheumatologist do?

Rheumatologists examine, diagnose, and treat patients with many different rheumatic conditions, injuries, and diseases. They review patient medical histories, perform diagnostic tests, and discuss treatment options with patients. They use many different tests such as chemical pathology and x-rays. Rheumatologists treat patients with conditions such as arthritis, sports injuries, fibromyalgia, joint disorders, osteoporosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. They provide a variety of treatment options such as medications and occupational and physical therapy. Many rheumatologists conduct research to gain a better understanding of the causes of conditions and to develop improved treatments.

What kind of training does a rheumatologist need?

Rheumatologists must complete an undergraduate degree, medical school, internship, residency training, and fellowship training. Medical school provides intensive instruction and clinical rotations of all major medical disciplines. After medical school prospective rheumatologists complete an internship and residency training internal medicine in pediatrics. They then complete fellowship training in rheumatology. Some rheumatologists choose to complete additional training to further specialize in a specific type of rheumatology such as pediatric rheumatology. All states require rheumatologists to be licensed in the state in which they intend to practice. Most rheumatologists also become board certified from the American Board of Internal Medicine. Certification requirements include minimum education and experience and passing a rigorous examination. Rheumatologists must keep their skills current and stay up to date on advancements in the field. They often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a rheumatologist?

Employment of all doctors is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% through 2016 (1). The growing and aging population and increased prevalence of rheumatic disorders will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for rheumatologists with extensive experience. Some job openings will arise from the need to replace rheumatologists that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do rheumatologists make?

As of 2015, the middle 50% of rheumatologists earn annual salaries between $165,768 and $214,075. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $239,852 (2).

Becoming a Rheumatologist Requires Training, Start Today 

Are you serious about becoming a Rheumatologist? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!


  1. Hello
    I need help, please.
    I want to become rheumatologist. I want to study rheumatology in UK in a school of rheumatology. I heard that it will take only three years.
    I don’t know how to begin and what are the steps. Any information?
    Waiting for replay
    Kind regards

  2. How many years should I study to become Rheumatologist what If I Entered medical school by 18 when will I finish to become an official rheumatologist
    And one more thing is the job opportunity easy

    • Hi Ahmed,

      Thanks for visiting The vast majority of rheumatology courses tend to be available only at Master’s degree level. In order to apply for a Rheumatology Master’s degree, most colleges will required that you have a medical qualification, usually a relevant undergraduate degree in medicine, plus 2-3 years of general internal medical experience. So you are looking at between 6 and 8 years from when you first enter medical school. As the article above indicates, the job prospects and potential salary for rheumatlogists are excellent.

      To find the right colleges and medical degrees, please use our College Mouse Degree Search tool –

      Best Wishes,

      College Mouse Team

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