How to Become a Urologist
Urologist Job Duties
Skills and Qualities of a Urologist
Urologist Salary
Influential Professional Urologists
Leading Urologist Organizations
Top Cities for Urologist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Urologist

A urologist is a physician who specializes in treating people who have problems with their urinary tract and/or reproduction organs. Urologists may also study clinical issues regarding internal medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, etc. Urology is a surgical subspecialty.

To become a urologist you must have a medical degree and complete a residency program accredited by ACGME. They usually have at least one of the following degrees: MD, MBBS, MBChB, or DO. The residency program has to be at least 5 years long: a year in general study; 3 years in clinical urology; either 6 months in general surgery, urology, or a clinical discipline relevant to urology; and a year of training as a senior/chief resident. The final year of residency is usually spent training as a senior/chief resident under supervision.

There is an application process and examination procedures to overcome before receiving a certification. To receive certification, surgeons must apply for it through the American Board of Urology (ABU). After the application is approved they must pass an examination, which is divided into two parts. The first part is a Qualification Examination and the second part is a Certifying Examination.

Physicians licensed in one state usually can get a license to practice in another without further examination, although some states limit reciprocity. Foreign medical student graduates may qualify for licensing after passing an examination and completing a U.S. residency.

What does a Urologist do?

Urologists are trained to diagnose, treat, and manage patients with urological disorders. Urological disorders could include problems with either the urinary tract or reproduction organs. Urologists may perform both surgical and non-surgical procedures.

Some choose to be general urologists but many choose informal specialization such as neurourology, pediatric urology, or urologic oncology. Neurourologists are concerned with nervous system control of the genitourinary system, and conditions that cause abnormal urination, such as overactive bladder. Pediatric urologists are concerned with urologic disorders in children, such as hypospadias. Urologic oncologists are concerned with malignant genitourinary diseases such as prostate cancer. These informal specializations are just examples of the many subfields of urology that a surgeon could choose to become. The American Urological Association has identified eight subspecialty areas: pediatric urology, urologic oncology, renal transportation, male infertility, urinary tract stones, female urology, neurourology, and erectile dysfunction.

A urologist's schedule tends to be a bit more flexible than other surgical specialties, because the surgeries are generally scheduled in advance, and not likely to be an emergency surgery. The majority of urologists practice in an office setting.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Urologist?

In general urologists, like other physicians, should have a desire to serve patients, be self-motivated, and be able to survive the pressures and long hours of medical education and practice. Physicians should also have good bedside manners, emotional stability, and the ability to make decisions in emergency situations. They should also be prepared to study throughout their career to keep up with current advances in medicine.

Urologists should provide a high standard of practice and care, be able to maintain relationships with patients, maintain good medical practice (staying up to date), make assessments and provide references, work in teams and within organizations, and protect patients and the profession (Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB), 2005).

Most residency programs are looking for applicants who have a broad range of medical knowledge, superior technical skill, attention to detail, compassion, and excellent communication skills.

How much does a Urologist make?

Urology is a surgical subspecialty and surgical sub-specialists in general tend to do very well monetarily. There are a limited amount of urologists trained each year, which puts them in demand in regards to job opportunities.

The typical annual salary for urologists in the United States is $142,973 - $264, 711. The average annual salary for a urologist is $180,000, which varies depending on the company, location, industry, experience and benefits.

Employment of physicians and surgeons is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations, with a projected growth of 14% from 2006 - 2016.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Dr. Mitchell H. Sokoloff, MD is the Chief of Urology at the University of Arizona Department of Surgery. He was instrumental in developing nerve-sparing and robotic operations for men with prostate cancer. He uses both innovative drug therapies with conventional surgery. He has received over $1 million in grant support from the U.S. Department of Defense for his research effort. Dr. Sokoloff was formerly the Chief of Urology and Director of the OHSU Robotic Surgery Program at Oregon Health and Sciences University ( He received his medical degree from Albany Medical College, completed his residency at University of California, Davis, and completed a fellowship at University of Michigan.

John Gearhart, MD., Professor of Pediatrics and Director of Pediatric Urology at Johns Hopkins Children's Center was awarded honorary membership in the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS). He is known internationally for treating children worldwide with major birth defects of the reproductive organs and urinary systems. He received his medical degree from University of Louisville School of Medicine, completed his residencies at the Medical College of Georgia, and completed a fellowship at Alder Hey Children's Hospital at the Liverpool School of Medicine.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Johns Hopkins Department of Urology has been ranked the No. 1 American hospital for 18 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report.

The International Volunteers in Urology (IVU), a nonprofit organization dedicated entirely to providing medical education and treatment in developing countries, was awarded the American Medical Association (AMA) "Dr. Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine". The organization was honored for outstanding international service in the areas of medical practice, medical education or medical research. In the year 2000, IVU was selected as the only surgical organization to partner with the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, Gates Foundation and numerous others in the Global Aliance to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis. Dr. Catherine deVries, MD is the founder of the Salt Lake City, Utah organization.

What are the top cities for Urologist jobs?

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), New England and the Middle Atlantic States have the highest ratio of physicians to population; the South Central and Mountain States have the lowest. Physicians with D.O. degrees are more likely than physicians with M.D. degrees to practice in small cities and towns and in rural areas. M.D. physicians are more likely to locate in the urban areas, close to hospitals and education centers.

According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), most physicians earn more money in communities which are well under one million in population. For many specialties, the highest earners are found in towns of 50,000 to 250,000 in size, Santiago, 2008). According to, cities in Texas, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Kansas are the best places to be doctors. The Midwestern states are better because of lower costs of living, higher reimbursement, lower physician densities per capita, and more agreeable malpractice climates (Keaveney, 2008).

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