The medical specialty of infectious disease is the subspecialty of internal medicine that focuses on diagnosing and treating infections. This subspecialty also studies how to control and contain the infection. Those who choose to further specialize in this area of medicine should be interested in researching and studying bacteria, viruses, fungi, and the vaccines and immunizations that can fight them.



To work in this subspecialty, a medical graduate must complete an internal medicine residency that lasts three years. Upon program completion,  subsequent infectious disease fellowship. This fellowship may last two to three years. Between 2018 and 2019, 719 medical graduates were accepted into an infectious disease residency program. Of these 719 individuals, 312 were international medical graduates.

Practicing as a Professional

In 2018, the average salary for subspecialists in this area was $231,000. Over the last few years, the average salary has changed much. One thing for international medical students to note is that, on average, foreign-trained infectious disease physicians made roughly $40k more than their U.S.-trained counterparts. At present, there are approximately 8,500 infectious disease specialists in the U.S. Some specialists serve as consultants; others have an internal medicine practice. A large portion of these healthcare providers work closely with disease control teams.


Infectious Disease Today

The rapid onset and spread of COVID-19 is generating a demand for medical specialists in this area. Many are predicting that this pandemic is the first of many that will spread between animals and humans. In the event that prediction becomes a reality, infectious disease will be a growing and important area of medicine.

In the past, specialists have saved the lives of countless individuals who were affected directly and indirectly by diseases, including ebola, zika, measles, and influenza. If you want to make your mark in medicine by working to fight current and future pandemics, this internal medicine subspecialty could be a great option.


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