Allergy and immunology is the medical specialty concerned with diagnosing and managing disorders affecting a patient’s immune system. Common cases that fall within the specialty of allergy and immunology include asthma, sinusitis, pneumonitis, lung disease, dermatitis, certain deficiencies, and allergic reactions caused by food, drugs, or any other number of items.
Because allergies are, in many cases, an immune system disorder, individuals entering this area of medicine should have a strong interest in the immune system and how it functions. Healthcare professionals who specialize in this area are referred to as allergists or immunologists. For information on the process of becoming a healthcare professional in this medical specialty, continue reading below!
Once an individual completes their medical education, they will need to complete a medical residency. Individuals looking to specialize in allergy and immunology will need to complete a residency, either internal medicine or pediatrics. Residency programs in these specialties are three years in length and generally have a favorable percentage of IMG participants. During the 2018-2018 residential year, 38.9% of internal medicine residents identified as IMGS. In the same year, 19.7% of pediatric residents identified as IMGS.
After completing residency, the next step is to participate in an allergy and immunology fellowship. In the past, allergy and immunology fellowships have been two years long. Now, due to recently added curriculum, many programs are shifting, requiring three years of fellowship training. Upon completion of this fellowship, an individual is considered a certified allergist/immunologist with the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.
Practicing as a Physician
Currently, there are just under 4,500 allergist/immunologists practicing within the U.S. An increase in asthma and food-related allergies signifies a future demand for healthcare professionals within this specialty. The average annual income for allergists and immunologists is $275,000. This income falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum for healthcare professionals.
While this medical specialty does not get paid as much as others, the compensation is fair, considering that many allergists and immunologists are able to have a great work-life balance. Most of these healthcare professionals work during the weekdays with very little reason to be on call.
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