Proctology is a branch of medicine that focuses on diseases of the anus, colon and rectum. Proctologists diagnose and treat disorders and diseases such as hemorrhoids, fissures and anal cancer. If you are passionate about helping patients achieve normal health, and ready to spend at least 10 years in college before breaking into the job market, here is all you need to know about becoming a proctologist.
What do proctologists do?
- Perform tests on patients to detect diseases
- Administer appropriate treatment plans, such as performing surgical procedures
- Advise patients on managing their conditions
- Collaborate with other healthcare practitioners, such as urinologist and nurses
- Conduct research on proctology topics.
Like most physicians, proctologists often have long and irregular working hours. If on call, a proctologist must be available to attend to a patient at any time of day or night.
While at work, proctologists work in well-lit and sterile environments. They also wear specific uniforms. The job involves standing for long periods of time, especially when performing surgical operations.
Proctology is a very rewarding profession. If you gain all the required qualifications, you can expect to earn:
$226,000 - $291,000
$291,000 - $520,000
Source: Healthcare Training Center
Education and training
The road to becoming a proctologist is long and often tiring. Without sheer determination, it can be difficult to successfully complete training. So, as an aspiring proctologist, you must complete the following steps:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree – Although no specific degree is required to enter medical school, it is desirable to pursue a degree with courses in biology, physics or biology
- Pass the Medical College Admission Test and obtain a letter of recommendation from you undergraduate college
- Join medical school and earn a medical degree – Being accepted into medical school isn’t an easy task. Competition for places is fierce. Top scoring students are often given consideration.
- Complete a 2 to 4-year residency program in general medicine
- Complete further training in proctology – This usually involves working under an experienced and licensed proctologist.
After navigating through the education and training requirements, you must obtain a medical license to work as a proctologist in your state. Although licensing requirements vary by state, prospective licensees must hold accredited medical degrees and pass a licensing exam.
To succeed as a proctologist you must have:
- Strong analytical skills
- Good observation and attention to detail skills
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Empathy and compassion
- Good problem-solving and decision making skills
- A good level of physical fitness
- A genuine interest in science and healthcare.
With a license or permit, you are ready to find employment and practice as proctologist. To improve your chances securing a job, you can obtain certification from a specialty board, such as the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Proctology.
Although many proctologists spend their entire professional lives working in healthcare settings, you can pursue a PhD in proctology to move into research and academia.
The employers of proctologists include:
- General medical and surgical hospitals
- Offices of Physicians
- Professional organizations
- Colleges and universities.
After gaining vast work experience, you can move into practice by establishing your own proctology clinic. With a PhD, you can become a lecturer in a medical school and teach the next generation of proctologists.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of health diagnosing practitioners such as proctologists will grow by 20 percent between 2012 and 2022 -- 9 percent faster than the average for all jobs. This means proctology is a field with many job opportunities. Did I mention the six-figure annual salary? Well, that is what you reap after spending several years hitting the books!