What is an urologist?
This is a medical professional who focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases in the urogenital system in men and urinary tract in women. This includes the kidneys, ureters, urethras, adrenal glands, bladders, and the male reproductive organs but not the female reproductive organs, which are treated by gynecologists. The word urology comes from Greek words that mean “the study of urine” and is the name of a surgical subspecialty.
Job description of an urologist
Becoming an urologist you will be dealing with a variety of conditions with some of them pertaining to just adult patients and some pertaining just to children although there are some that can affect both children and adults. The American Urological Association (AUA) lists 8 subspecialties that you can specialize when becoming a licensed urologist. These include:
- Female urology
- Male infertility
- Urinary tract stones
- Pediatric urology
- Erectile dysfunction also known as impotence
- Renal transplantation
- Urologic oncology which refers to tumors.
Being an urologist you will perform a variety of procedures such as:
- High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU)
- Laser techniques
You will also use a variety of equipment when practicing as an urologist that can include:
- Radiograph machines
- Radium emanation tube
An urologist is also a surgeon that performs various treatments including operations by using different medical equipment like those listed above along with X-rays. They should also know how to use all of the necessary medical equipment that they will use in their jobs and the techniques that are used to sterilize and sanitize the equipment. You must also have excellent eye-hand coordination and the ability to pay attention to detail. As many of the operations that the urologist does they need to have the stamina to endure lengthy surgeries. You should also have good bedside manners.
Some of the other things that are in the job description of an urologist can include:
- When discussing with the patient about the treatment plan that is going to be used that the patients knows the potential risks and benefits of the treatment.
- Consulting with patients who are having surgery done the things that they must do and cannot do both pre-operative and post-operative.
- Making sure that you are engaging in continuing education in the field of urology in order to keep your license current and up-to-date.
How to become an urologist?
If this is your career choice to become an urologist and you know this when you are in high school you should make sure that you are taking science and math classes along with some business classes if you are going to open your own practice. One thing that you need to know is that this medical field will demand a high degree of sensitivity and competence along with surgical skills and steady hands. Once you have graduated from high school you need to go to college to get your bachelor’s degree which can be under whichever major you choose but it is advisable that you choose a major in the science field or pre-med to help ensure that you will be ready for medical school.
After completing 4 years to get your bachelor’s degree it will be time for medical school. It is a very competitive market to get into medical school as some only takes a few new students each year. You need to make sure that you have a high GPA and pass the Medical College Admission Test with a high grade. Both of these are important and needed to get into medical school. Medical school is 4 years of which the first 2 years will consist of classroom and laboratory work and in the last 2 years you will be doing clinical rotations along with some classroom work. During your last year of medical school you need to star applying for a residency program that you must complete before you become a licensed urologist.
To graduate from medical school and earn the degree Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree you will have to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination. When you are choosing your residency and where it is being done make sure that the residency has been accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Educational. When doing your residency you will spend 12 months doing general surgery. Another 36 months you will be in clinical urology, and the last 12 months you will do classroom study and surgery in a field that is relevant to becoming an urologist. In the last year of residency you also must serve, under the appropriate supervision, as the chief or senior resident. If you decide that you want to sub-specialize it could take another 1 – 3 years to complete that fellowship.
In order to become a practicing urologist you will need to be certified by the American Board of Urology. To become certified you have to have completed 16 months of clinical practice and pass an oral exam.
Work environment and schedule
Most urologists after graduating and getting their license will accept employment in a private clinic or hospital setting but if they choose they can join a group practice or open their own private practice. If they have their own practice or work in a group practice most of their patients would be referrals from a primary care physician. They may also have some that call their office for an appointment without being referred. Many times the environment they work in can be stressful or difficult because the patients they see could be in discomfort and severe pain. In addition the surgical environment can be filled with unpleasant smells and sights. Although the urologist may have to deal with discomforting or unpleasant diseases and illnesses their work environment will be well-lit and clean. When performing an operation an urologist will have a team of surgical nurses and other medical personnel. Some of the surgeries can be quite long so an urologist may spend several hours bent over an operating table.
Urologists will usually have to work longer hours than many other medical professions. Working in an office or clinic seeing patients, diagnosing their problems, and treating them can be straight forward and help them to stay close to regular business hours. There is also a possibility that treating some patients may take longer than their allotted appointment so this can throw their schedule off. When doing surgeries each one is given a certain amount of time but if problems arise such as the surgery involves more than what was originally planned, having an emergency surgery, and a variety of other problems it can make for a long day. You may also have to be on-call for any emergency surgeries that would come into the emergency room.
When you see a new patient you will ask them what their symptoms are, how bad the symptoms are, their pain scale, and then do an examine. The urologist may order blood tests and/or diagnostic tests to confirm a diagnosis and to rule out any other medical problems that could have the same symptoms as the actual medical condition they have been diagnosed with. The urologist will have them set up another appointment to go over the test results and treatment plan. The urologist will have to mark in the patient’s chart what their problem is, the diagnosis, tests and diagnostic images that were done, and the treatment plan. A copy of the report will be sent to the patient’s primary care physician. If they have a patient in the hospital the urologist will usually see them before they start seeing patients in their office. If the urologist has their own private practice or group practice they may spend 2 – 3 days in the office and the other days doing scheduled surgeries.
Pros and cons of being a Urologist
The job that urologist performs assumes a lot of training and educational requirements. You’ll be spending a lot of time in school and for that you’ll really have to be certain that a career in urology is really what you want to follow.
As a urologist, the main pros that can be found in this job start with the rewarding of improving your patient’s lives and helping those who are in pain. The good news is that there is no place for getting bored. You’ll be visited by plenty of patients each with various diseases or illnesses to treat, so there will be a variety of procedures for you.
Gaining more and more complex experience in this field is a huge bonus that can increase a lot your chances not only of being an awesome urologist, but you’ll get career opportunities for advancement as well.
You’ll get to perform as well many surgeries, and you’ll be spending many hours in the operating room. You’ll also be using a lot your hands so you’ll really need to be good with your hands. This can be considered as a pro and as a con at the same time. If the pure idea of having to spend a lot of time (depending on your cases) on your feet in the operating room, you should think twice. If this will give you an exhausting and uncomfortable opinion, you might reconsider choosing another career. Also, if the need to use your hands will make your hands sweaty, then this field might not be for you.
Working as a urologist will bring you a huge pro when it comes to your payment. Your salary in this field will be estimated to range between $250,010 per year and could go up to $400,010 per year. At the same time, you’ll be using the advanced technology such as advanced robotics and many others.
A major con in this field will be the training that is very long not to mention is hard. Those who are enrolled in a residency will complete 5 to 6 years with two years in general surgery where they learn how to treat many kinds of conditions that are not many times linked with the urinary conditions. When you are a urology resident you won’t have a lot of sleep, your work will be very complex, and the hours are usually long.
This area of medicine is mainly filled with men, and the number of women working as urologists is not that high. You’ll surely have to work your way up if you are a woman.
Urologist job growth
The employment expected job opportunities for urologists are comprised between 16% and 18%, a percentage that is greater than the mean for other jobs. Due to the nature of this job and the vital role that urology plays in the medical field, the number of demanding is constantly growing.
An overview of the job indicates a clean start and great job stability for those who consider becoming urologists. The income in the urology field is still very attractive, and the needs of patients are continuously growing, this providing a great job employment future perspective.
Because an urologist also does surgery the average yearly urologist salary can be very lucrative. In fact, being an urologist is one of the highest salaries in the medical field. It has been noted that in the medical field of urology many of the physicians there are older and some are even close to the retirement age so their salaries can be pretty high. In the coming years as a new urologist the average yearly salary will be lower but as they get more experience the wages will start to increase. On average the yearly urologist salary for those just graduating can be over $200,000, so $72 per hour. Since most urologists have basically the same education unless they spent 2 years in a fellowship to become a specialist education is not a major factor in what an urologist salary would be. What is considered is the employer and the number of years of experience they have.
A busy urologist who has a lot of surgical patients could feasibly see an average yearly salary over $400,000 and could progress gradually to $750,000 just by practicing good business in a hospital industry. For an urologist who has years of experience, advanced expertise, and specialized skills can make over $1 M per year. Again in this profession men and women are not paid equally even with the same years of experience and specialized skills. It is shown that men earn approximately 14% more than women with average yearly urologist salary for men being $344,000 and women being $303,000.
The average yearly urologist salary according to the region of the United States where they are working is:
- $433,000 in the Great Lakes region
- $388,000 in the North Central region
- $350,000 in the West region
- $343,000 in the South Central region
- $340,000 in the Southwest region
- $332,000 in the Northeast region
- $323,000 in the Southeast region
- $322,000 in the Northwest region
- $309,000 in the Mid-Atlantic region
The average yearly salary for an urologist in these working environments is:
- $412,000 working multispecialty group practices
- $377,000 working in single-specialty practices
- $362,000 working in healthcare organizations
- $328,000 working in a hospital
- $275,000 working in a solo practice
- $252,000 working in an academic setting
- $266,000 working in other settings
Average yearly urologist salary based on number of years of work experience is:
- $60,000 – $356,000 for 1 – 4 years
- $112,751 – $204,470 for 5 – 9 years
- $96,846 – $453,018 for 10 -19 years
- $100,101 – $499, 666 for 20 or more years
What their actual average salary would be you would also figure in the geographical location and the employer they are working for.
In addition to these salaries you also need to figure in the benefit packages which usually include paid vacation, sick, and personal days, life and health insurance just for the employee or for the family, 401K, social security, pension, vision and dental care, malpractice insurance, and possibly profit sharing.
Salary of an Urologist in 2015
The US average estimation of a salary in the field of urology is mentioned to be at $250,010 per year. This number is still improving due to a diversity of factors such as the geographical location, the specialty area in which you are activating and the environment, in which you work.
For the year 2015, the number of demands for these kinds of specialists is still growing, and the job overview offers a clean start and lot of stability for those who want to work as urologists.
Urologist Salary in 2016
The income of a urologist for the year 2016, in the US, is very lucrative, based on the nature of this job, since these professionals also perform surgery. The salary of a urologist is seen as one of the highest salaries in the medical system.
The starting salary for a new urologist in the years that come tends to have a lower point but as these specialists are starting to gain more experience their earnings gradually increase. Those who just graduate can expect to take home an estimated average of around $200,010 per year.
Considered to be as main factors that impact the salaries of urologists are the years of experience, the location in which one has found work, employer and the number of cases that one has. For instance, a urologist with lots of surgical patients can reach at an average yearly income estimated to be over $400,100 per year and it could increase in time at $750,030 per year. Presuming the fact that he can practice a good business within the medical environment of a medical industry such as the hospital industry.
On the other hand, urologists that already have years of work experience, a specialized set of skills and advanced expertise can make even more than the figures revealed earlier. In the suburban areas of the US, a urologist is making an estimated average of around $500,030 per year or even a lot more according to each urologist and the number of hours that he or she is working.
Another factor that affects these earnings is the gender. In this field the income of a male is not the same as the income of a female, this including the same years of experience and specialized set of skills. This will lead to the fact that the average yearly income of a urologist man is around $345,010 per year while that of a urologist woman gets around $303,230 per year.
A difference of income can be also spotted according to the demographic factor that includes various earnings according to each state or city, and also according to the metropolitan or non-metropolitan areas. The difference is also established for those who professionals that are working in the private or the public system.
According to the practice setting, you will discover that there are various earnings in the compensation. For instance those who work for healthcare organizations can expect an average yearly income that reaches around $402,300 per year, this being considered the highest percentage. The lowest point is reached by urologist, who work for office based solo practice where the earnings that are usually gained reach at around $269,010 per year.
Urologist salary in Canada, Australia and UK
In different parts of the world the standards that a person must have to become a practicing urologist are set by the relevant governing body.
- Canada—in Canada this governing body would be the British Association of Urological Surgeons. The average yearly salary would be CAD$279,000.
- Australia—in Australia this governing body would be the Urological Society of Australasia. The average yearly urologist salary would be AUD$75K to $90K for junior urologists, AUD$ 80K to $110K for a middle grade urologist, AUD$100K to $150K for staff urologist, AUD$150K to $350K for a specialist, AUD$100K to $250K for general practitioner, and AUD$200K to $500K or more for a private practitioner.
- UK—in the UK this governing body would be the Urological Society of India. The average yearly salary is based on tenure and age with being in your 20’s it would 75,000, in your 39’s it would be 98,000, and in your 40’s and 50’s it would be 116,000
Conclusion on urologist salary
Although an urologist can spend at least 13 years in college, medical school, and residency along with 1 – 3 more years if they are doing a specialized fellowship the average yearly urologist salary is usually over $200,000 plus most will have an awesome benefit package. As you gain more experience you can see a big increase in your salary. You also need to make sure that you are choosing a region of the United States where the salary is high along with the right working environment.
- First Published Date: 16 June, 2014
- Last Updated Date: 20 June, 2016