Becoming a Gastroenterologist – Everything You Need to Know

Gastroenterology is described as the study of the gastrointestinal tract and the liver. Physicians who specialize in this field are called Gastroenterologist. They are required to undergo rigorous training and learning before they can handle this complex system of the human body.

Exactly what does it entail to become a Gastroenterologist? Here is a brief crash course.


Gastroenterologists, like any other physician, start their path to their careers in medical school where they learn the basics of the practice. They are then required to complete an internal medicine residency after finishing medical school; internal medicine residency lasts about three years.

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Only after a medicine student has completed internal medicine residency can he/she qualify to learn Gastroenterology. Training in this field is described as fellowship. It is an intense program that involves lessons by actual Gastroenterologists renowned for their skills. This fellowship lasts about 2 to 3 years too. As such, Gastroenterologists have to put in about 5 to 6 years of training after finishing medicine school.

What Do Gastroenterologists Learn?

Gastroenterologists are required to learn everything to do with the gastrointestinal tract. Basic training involves understanding how this tract functions in a healthy person. By basic, this means understanding how foods and drinks move through the tract, how the nutrients are absorbed, and how the waste product is ejected from the body. From there, the student gets to learn about specific illnesses affecting individual organs such as the small intestines, stomach, colon, esophagus, rectum, liver, bile duct, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Advanced Training

Gastroenterologists seeking to derive the best from their specialty can also opt for advanced training and certification. Endoscopy is considered advanced, but it is standard for every Gastroenterologist. It is described as the practice of using narrow and flexible tubes which are lighted and fitted with a small camera to observe the intestinal tract.

Basic lessons in endoscopy involve learning how to remove colon polyps, stretching narrow sections of the intestines, and stopping internal bleeding through injection or cautery. Endoscopy becomes advanced with advanced training such as endoscopic biliary examination, removal of tumors without surgical operations, and endoscopic ultrasounds. These advanced training lessons are optional, and they are the reason behind the varying period different Gastroenterologists take to finish school.

Designation and Certification.

Gastroenterologists, like other specialists, have the option of joining national societies that regulate their profession. These societies include the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) and the American College of Physicians (ACP).

These societies have strict regulations for their members, and it is impossible to ignore their existence as they are necessary for trust. Consequently, they recognize members who have proven themselves through designations such as FACG and FACP. These recognitions and certifications help in gaining clients’ trust and confidence and, consequently, succeeding in the field.


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