Nephrologists are medical doctors who specialise in treating kidney diseases. These professionals may also help to treat diseases that affect the urologic system. Many of the patients that a nephrologist treats are in end stage renal failure or are on dialysis. Most nephrologists earn high six-figure salaries for their work.
Aspiring nephrologists must obtain an undergraduate degree and take the Medical College Admissions Test before applying to medical school, which usually takes four years. Individuals interested in becoming a nephrologist should consider taking clinical electives in nephrology during their time in medical school. The next step required for becoming a nephrologist is to complete an internal medicine residency program. Internal medicine residency programs pay their residents approximately £32,500 each year with small salary increases each year. Most residency programs provide residents with the opportunity to moonlight to increase their income. Moonlighting involves taking extra shifts at a hospital or clinic. Most internal medicine residency programs last three years.
After completing an internal medicine residency program, the next requirement is to complete a nephrology fellowship program. Nephrology fellowship programs usually last two to three years in length. Nephrology fellows usually start looking for employment as attending nephrologists during their last year as nephrology fellows.
The average salary for nephrologists in the United States is £174,850, according to the Allied Physicians Survey. The highest salary reported by a nephrologist was £290,550; the lowest salary reported was £124,150. The salary of an attending nephrologist depends on a variety of factors, such as whether or not a nephrologist works in a rural or metropolitan area. Nephrologists who work in metropolitan areas may see more patients and as a result have higher salaries.
Nephrologists who choose to run their own private practice have more overhead expenses than nephrologists who work for a hospital. Some of these expenses include the cost of office space, paying nurses, purchasing medical equipment and paying malpractice insurance. These expenses can cut into the total annual salary of a nephrologist. Nephrologists who work for a hospital don't have these expenses and may not have to pay malpractice insurance, because many hospitals cover the malpractice insurance of their doctors.
Approximately 1 out of 9 people in the United States will get kidney disease at some point in their life. By the year 2020, over 750,000 people in America will need a kidney transplant or be on dialysis, according to the American Society of Nephrology. Fewer medical students are choosing to become nephrologists than in the past, which may lead to a shortage of nephrologists.
Over 76 per cent of nephrologists in Canada reported being very or somewhat satisfied with their professional careers, according to the Canadian Medical Association.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Internal Medicine Residency
- ACGME: Nephrology Fellowship Programs Frequently Asked Questions
- Student Doctor Network: Nephrology Salary Information
- American Society of Nephrology: US Medical Students Are Rejecting Kidney Careers
- Canadian Medical Association: Specialty Profile - Nephrology