The medical specialty of rheumatology focuses on diagnosing and treating rheumatic diseases. These diseases affect an individual’s joints, connective tissue, and musculoskeletal system. In many cases, these diseases and disorders cause loss of motion and decrease an individual’s quality of life. Nearly 200 diseases and disorders are treated by rheumatologists. Common causes include arthritis. osteoporosis, tendentious, and lupus. Rheumatologists use a combination of medication and corrective surgery to improve their patient’s quality of life.


Medical graduates who pursue this specialty must complete a three-year residency in internal medicine after which they will need to participate in a fellowship in rheumatology. According to data from the 2019 Main Residency Match, there were a record-breaking 8,116 internal medicine residency spots available in 2019. Of these 8,116 spots, 3,203 spots, or roughly 39.5%, were filled by IMGs.

For more information on data from the 2019 NRMP, click here.

Practicing as a Physician

Currently, there are about 5,500 practicing rheumatologists in the U.S. This is another specialty that has a physician population that will be affected by the oncoming U.S. physician shortage.

The average salary for a rheumatologist is $224,000 and in the medical community, this population is reported to be the happiest with their job.

To check out AMO’s rheumatology clinical experiences click here.

Not interested in rheumatology, that’s okay! AMO offers over 40 medical specialties and subspecialties! To view these options, create an online AMO account today!