A gastroenterologist (also known as a GI) is a medical professional that specializes in all aspects of the digestive tract including the stomach, intestines, throat, and colon. GIs use various types of diagnostic equipment such as, scopes, cameras, and chemicals to identify and treat different types of diseases. He or she prescribes drug based and therapy based treatments programs.
Gastroenterologists have a vast knowledge of the upper and lower digestive tract; experience using upper and lower endoscopy equipment, PEGs, and dilation equipment; surgical experience; stent insertion experience; and knowledge of specific gastroentestional diseases and conditions. Other common responsibilities include: overseeing staff, consulting with patients and other physicians, designing treatment courses, administrative duties, conducting research, training or teaching lower ranking physicians, keeping accurate patient records, and filing appropriate medical reports.
Gastroenterologists are required to hold a Bachelor’s degree in a science field, have completed four years of medical school, hold a medical degree as an internal medicine specialist, completed three years of residency, and must be board certified. A two-year fellowship in gastroenterology is also required.
Other necessary skills include: excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills, computer skills, research skills, teaching skills, the ability to multi-task, and the ability to work long hours.
The typical average salary of an experienced gastroenterologist with a few years experience is around $300,000 per year. Salary ranges vary a great deal depending on level of experience, number of patients, insurance payouts, malpractice claims, and location. Salaries of professionals in private practice can be significantly higher.