How To Get a Fellowship in Internal Medicine (Plus FAQs)

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To Fellowship or Not to Fellowship | Internal Medicine Career Paths

How to get a fellowship as an internist

Heres a step-by-step guide to follow when pursuing a fellowship as an internist:

1. Complete basic educational prerequisites

First, to be eligible to pursue an internal medicine fellowship, you typically need to complete various educational and training programs as a prerequisite. You generally must have a medical degree and complete a residency program. In addition, you may need to hold an active certification in internal medicine.

2. Consider your research and professional interests

When pursuing a fellowship, its important that you consider your research interests and professional goals. This insight can help you decide what type of fellowship for which you want to apply. Think about the subspecialties that are most compelling to you and narrow down your choices to one or two areas of focus.

3. Find fellowship programs that fit your needs

Once you determine your research interests and professional goals, you can start looking for fellowship programs that fit your needs. Create a list of programs through which you can get training in the subspecialty that interests you most. It may also be helpful to consider factors like the length and location of each fellowship program to determine whether they might be feasible in terms of your personal situation.

4. Ensure you meet the eligibility requirements for admissions

After you determine your options for a fellowship program, you can start reviewing the eligibility requirements for each respective one. Some programs may have different standards for admission, so make sure to review them carefully. For instance, some programs may require you to be a member of a particular professional association, have demonstrated professional activity in the field of internal medicine, experience in an academic position, an active medical license, teaching experience or evidence of professional accomplishment.

5. Apply for fellowships

Once you evaluate your eligibility for admission to each program that interests you, you can begin applying for fellowships. There may be different processes for various programs, so be diligent in navigating them to ensure you submit all the documents necessary for your application to be complete. From here, programs may evaluate your applications and make a decision regarding your candidacy.

Why pursue an internal medicine fellowship path?

Candidates commonly pursue fellowships in internal medicine so they can focus their work on a particular subspecialty and expand their career options. While some physicians in this field choose to work as general internists who manage a broad array of illnesses that may impact adults, those who are interested in centering their care in a certain patient demographic or area of medicine may choose from various subspecialties. Here are some of the subspecialties available to professionals in this field, including:

By completing a one to three-year fellowship in a particular subspecialty, through which they can act as an attending or consulting physician, candidates are typically eligible to practice medicine in their relevant subspecialty without direct supervision by other physicians.

Frequently asked questions about internal medicine physicians

Here are a few answers to frequently asked questions about this career path:

How long does it take to become an internal medicine physician?

Typically, to become an internal medicine physician, candidates must first complete a four-year bachelors degree program. From there, they may pursue a four-year medical degree, followed by a three-year residency program. Internists who choose to focus their work in a subspecialty may then need to complete a fellowship program, which often ranges from one to three years in duration. Therefore, it may take candidates between 12 and 15 years to start their careers as practicing internal medicine physicians, depending on whether they choose to pursue a subspecialty fellowship and how long that program lasts.

What is the salary of an internal medicine physician?

What is the job outlook of an internal medicine physician?

Further, the BLS states that internists who work in family medicine and other subspecialties may experience higher rates of growth than others in this field, projecting a 5% increase in this subspecialty. This expansion in employment to the increasing demand for physician services has come as a result of the nations growing aging population. As these patients age, overall rates of chronic illness may increase, creating a need for physicians who can provide diagnosis, treatment and therapeutic care.


Which internal medicine fellowship is the most competitive?

In order, the five most competitive fellowships were Gastroenterology (GI), Rheumatology (RHEUM), Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD), Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine (PCCM), and Hematology and Oncology (HEME).

How long are internal med fellowships?

The training an internist receives to subspecialize in a particular medical area is both broad and deep. Subspecialty training (often called a “fellowship”) usually requires an additional one to three years beyond the standard three year general internal medicine residency.

Are internal medicine fellowships competitive?

Overall Competitiveness of Internal Medicine Residency and Chances of Matching. The overall competitiveness level of internal medicine is Low for a U.S. senior. With a Step 1 score of 200, the probability of matching is 89%. With a Step 1 score of >240, the probability is 99%.

Is internal medicine a fellowship?

To become a board-certified subspecialist, you must complete the appropriate internal medicine fellowship following residency and pass the corresponding American Board of Internal Medicine(ABIM) certification assessment .

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