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 have an interest in researching and studying bacteria, viruses, fungi, and the vaccines and immunizations that can fight them.
Infectious Disease Residency
In order to work in the subspecialty of infectious disease, a medical graduate must complete an internal medicine residency and a subsequent fellowship in infectious disease. 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
During 2018, the average salary for a professional in this subspecialty was $231,000. Over the last few years, the average salary has remained relatively stable. 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 infectious disease 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
With global concerns concentrated on COVID-19 and the rapid spread of this pandemic, demand for infectious disease specialists may grow, making it a relevant specialty to pursue now and in the years that follow. At present, infectious disease specialists are the professionals we are turning to for answers on how to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
In the past, infectious disease specialists have saved the lives of countless individuals who were affected directly and indirectly by diseases including ebola, zika, the measles, and influenza. Although, at present, there is no treatment for COVID-19, many are hoping that with time and hard work from infectious disease specialists, this will change.
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