How to become an Allergist
Allergist Job Duties
Skills and Qualities to become an Allergist
Influential Professionals in this Field
Leading Organizations in this Field
Top Cities for Allergist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
The formal education part of becoming a doctor usually requires and undergraduate degree in some pre-med major (4 years), medical school (4 years) and internship + residency (up to 8 years). The duration of the last part is what varies for specialists, including allergists. The undergraduate course of study includes work in biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics. Many students also volunteer or do internships at hospitals or clinics to gain hands-on experience.
Although some medical schools only require 3 years of college education, most require a completed bachelors degree. Many entering students also have post-graduate degrees before entering medical school. The two degrees types awarded at medical schools are the typical M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) and the lesser known D.O (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine). It is common knowledge that entrance into medical school is competitive, and other non-academic requirements come into play in the admissions process, such as an applicant's volunteer history, personal ethics and character, management and leadership skills and other extracurricular activities. As a result, interviews are common place as a part of the admissions process. Medical school involves two main areas of study: formal in-class course work and laboratory work. In addition to studying the sciences themselves, students also learn about how to work with patients and how to apply their knowledge to make diagnoses and recommend treatments. They also spend some time, called rotations, in each of the major disciplines of medicine.
The path to doctor-hood does not end with obtaining an M.D. or D.O. degree, but it continues with the period of training called residency, which is basically paid on-the-job training. Most residencies are done at a hospital.
Although doctors - specially specialists like allergists - are reported to make a lot of money, few people also factor into this blanket statement the expenses of becoming a doctor, which are quite costly.
All physicians should be licensed and all states/territories of the US require licensing. There appear to be many reciprocity agreements between state medical licensure, but as usual with professional occupations, licensure varies from state to state. In addition to the general medical licensing, allergists must also become certified and pass an additional exam and do additional specific residency in their area to be formally called an allergist.
Continuing Medical Education (CME) is required to maintain a medical license. State medical boards as well as other non-profit and for-profit organizations provide opportunities for doctors in the fast-paced field of medicine.
Obviously, the treatments and methodologies applied to particular allergies vary widely, allergists can help patients identify what they are specifically allergic to. Some allergists focus on children's allergies while others practice with a more general age group. Typical treatments of allergies would be instruction for a patient to avoid a particularly dangerous allergen, prescription of medications that lessen the symptoms and/or immune system reactions against an allergen, and administration of what are typically called allergy shots, which are intended to help the body acclimate to an allergen in an effort to induce tolerance.
American Board of Allergy and Immunology - the allergy/immunology board a part of the ABMS (see below.
American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) - this organization represents over 20 groups related to various medical specialties, including allergy/immunology.
Association of American Medical Colleges - leading organization for US medical programs, medical schools, teaching hospitals, academic societies, and students/teachers.
American Medical Association - leading professional organization of the US medical field and practitioners.
American College of Physicians - another leading US professional organization focusing on physicians who focus on disease treatment for adults.
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