Infectious Diseases

A physician who specializes in infectious diseases has advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of communicable and contagious diseases.

These doctors have expertise in infections of the:

  • sinuses
  • heart
  • brain
  • lungs
  • urinary tract
  • bowel
  • bones
  • pelvic organs

which may be caused by a number of things such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses. These doctors must know a lot about internal medicine and how each organ system will be affected by a particular infection.

Quick Facts

Competitiveness: Moderate

Length of training: 5 years

Number of fellowship programs: 138

Number of fellows in training: 600

Number in U.S. currently Board Certified in specialty: 4,872

Median compensation for specialty: $166,156

Mean number of hours per week in patient care activities: 51.6

Residency Information

You will complete a 3 year residency in internal medicine followed by a 2 year fellowship in infectious diseases.

Why Choose

Many physicians were attracted by the broad base of internal medicine knowledge, along with a strong influence by mentors. Additionally, doctors in this medical specialty have trouble coping with terminally ill patients or specialties which themselves to a single organ system.

Typical Infectious Diseases Schedule

There is an erratic "on-call" schedule for this specialty. This is due to acute problems developing unexpectedly and requiring the doctor's immediate attention.

In this specialty a lot of the work is conducted at the hospital with most days beginning around 7:30 AM. In the afternoon you will spend your time seeing new patients, making follow-up rounds on old consults and hospitalized patients.

You will find your day consists of working with surgery patients, looking at x-rays, checking on culture and lab results.

If You're Interested

You should be aware that long hours are apart of the specialty, but you shouldn't be discouraged because the field is rewarding, stimulating and growing a lot. This is not a specialty for private practice and many believe it is appropriately practiced in an academic setting.