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Overview and Key Facts

Woman touching glands
Doctoral or professional degree
Median Pay
Median Pay
Job Growth
Job Growth
(Below US Average)
Jobs in 2031
Jobs in 2031

What Do They Do?

An endocrinologist could...

Overview Listen to this section

Hormones may be small, but they affect our bodies in huge ways. (For example, growth hormone can affect how tall someone grows, and how strong their bones are.) Endocrinologists know this well. Endocrinologists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the endocrine system, which secretes small chemicals called hormones. Endocrinologists also investigate ways to improve diagnoses of and treatments for these conditions.

Watch this video to see how Dr. David Carnovale, a reproductive endocrinologist and fertility specialist, became trained in his field and now diagnoses and treats women who want to have children but have encountered difficulties either in conceiving or during pregnancy.

Do You Have the Skills and Characteristics of an Endocrinologist?

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Core Tasks

Think about if you'd like the typical tasks an Endocrinologist might do:
  • Examine patients to obtain information about symptoms that can be correlated to a specific endocrine gland condition (in order to make a proper diagnosis).
  • Understand and perform a variety of general laboratory techniques on blood samples and other fluid samples from a patient to make a diagnosis.
  • Diagnose a patient with a thyroid condition, which may include performing specialized endocrinology clinical laboratory techniques such as a TSH, T4, and/or T3 test to check hormone levels, or scan the thyroid to look at its function by using a radioactive iodine uptake test.
  • Diagnose a patient with diabetes, which may include performing relevant clinical laboratory techniques such as using different tests to check blood glucose levels (like plasma tests, fasting tests, or oral tests) and looking for other symptoms.
  • Diagnose a patient with a growth-hormone-related condition, which may include performing several different types of tests, such as ones that look at the levels of various hormones (which are involved in height, headaches, blood pressure, cholesterol, insomnia, prediabetes, increased head size, cardiac dysfunction, and/or other functions), using an insulin-intolerance test, or working with another specialist to have magnetic-resonance imaging of certain glands (specifically the pituitary and hypothalamus glands) be done.
  • Diagnose a patient who is having reproductive difficulties, which may involve performing specialized clinical laboratory techniques to check the hormone levels of the reproductive organs, such as a serum progesterone test, a follicle-stimulating hormone blood test, a clomiphene citrate challenge test, and/or a progestin challenge test.
  • Work closely with a surgeon to develop a surgery plan for a patient.
  • Apply knowledge of how age affects normal hormone production and related processes.
  • Use an understanding of the biochemistry of how different hormones work in the body and how they can be affected by other hormones and medical drugs.
  • After diagnosing a patient, develop a suitable treatment plan for their specific condition, taking all factors into consideration.
  • Discuss a patient's diagnosis and treatment plan with them.
  • Plan and supervise the work of the endocrinology staff, residents, and/or visiting endocrinologists.
  • Train and direct staff and medical students in the proper methods needed to acquire and handle samples from patients.
  • Conduct research and present scientific findings.
  • Develop or adopt new tests or instruments to improve diagnoses of endocrine-related conditions.
  • Educate physicians, students, and personnel in other medical laboratory professions, such as medical technology, surgery, and hematology.
  • Counsel patients or others on the background of endocrine-related conditions, including risk factors and/or genetic or environmental concerns.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, and/or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in endocrinology.
  • Review cases by analyzing laboratory findings or case investigation reports.

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