What Is a Otolaryngologist?
Otolaryngologists are most often referred to as ENT physicians because they
treat patients with ear, nose, and throat (ENT) diseases and disorders.
Otolaryngologists treat adults and children, and are trained in both medicine
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, the oldest medical
specialty in the United States is otolaryngology. The first meeting was called
in 1896 in Kansas City, Missouri.
An otolaryngologist is trained both in medical and surgical treatment of
diseases and disorders not only related to the ear, nose and throat but also the
related structures of the neck and head.
An otolaryngologist must complete up to 15 years of college and post-graduate
training, then pass the examination of the American Board of Otolaryngology.
Some physicians may opt for more extensive training in sub-specialty fields such
as facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.
There are seven areas of expertise in otolarygology. These are laryngology, head
and neck, rhinology, facial plastic and reconstructive surgery,
otology/neurotology, allergy, and pediatric otolaryngology,
Because otolaryngologists are trained in both surgery and medicine, there is no
need to refer patients to other physicians. The otolaryngologist can treat all
diseases and disorders that concern the ear, nose, throat, head and neck.
How do I become an Otolaryngologist?
1. Obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. Despite
popular opinion, becoming a doctor does not require that you major in
pre-medicine as an undergraduate student. Instead, you can major in any subject
you wish so long as you take plenty of courses in math and science. Above all,
take courses in the biological sciences and chemistry to give you a strong
foundation for medical school. Medical school admission committees tend to make
their decisions based on several factors such as your academic performance,
preparation for medical school through the classes you choose and your scores on
the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). They may also take into account your
other activities and hobbies as possible indications of your leadership
2. Apply for medical school. Ideally you want to attend a medical school that
offers an opportunity to specialize in otolaryngology. If you are unable to get
into a school offering this specialization, you may be able to gain adequate
experience later on through a medical residency. Some schools offering
otolaryngology programs include Johns Hopkins University, Tufts University,
Washington University in St. Louis and Georgetown University.
3. Complete medical school. This usually takes about four years from the time
you start, although it can vary depending on the program and your workload.
During your first two years of medical school you will be inundated with many of
the basic aspects of medical practice and theory. During the third and fourth
years, you will still take general medical classes, but you will also start
taking courses related to your otolaryngology specialization.
4. Complete a residency program in otolaryngology. A residency provides you with
the practical training that you receive after graduating from medical school.
Residencies give you an opportunity to receive hands-on training in your field
of specialization by working alongside and under the direction of an expert ENT.
Most residencies take about three years to complete.
5. Apply for and receive your medical license. You must be licensed to practice
medicine in the state where you plan to provide care as a otolaryngologist. Most
states require you to pass a state licensing examination, a licensing fee and
complete an extensive background check.
6. Apply for board certification. Although this step is voluntary, it is usually
considered important by most physicians and their patients. Board certification
indicates that you have all of the necessary experience and knowledge to be
considered an expert in your field. Board certification in otolaryngology is
determined by the American Board of Otolaryngology. The board requires at least
one year of general surgical training and a four-year ENT residency in order to
qualify for the examinations. Both an oral and written exam are required.
What are the qualifications and salary of an
1.After successful completion of an undergraduate program and medical school,
otolaryngologists must complete five years of otolaryngology residency
accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. All
states require a license to practice as a physician and the American Board of
Otolaryngology offers a voluntary board certification program for
2.Otolaryngologists receive a yearly base salary which is distributed in
increments throughout the year. In November 2010, PayScale reported a national
average base salary ranging from $151,696 to $300,743 per year. Average salaries
are based on individuals currently working in this occupation reporting their
wages and other career information to PayScale.
3.Along with a base salary, many of these professionals reported receiving a
bonus. A bonus varies by employer, but is often based on the organization's
overall financial performance. Payscale reported average bonuses ranged from
$5,000 to $55,000 per year. Total compensation including a base salary and bonus
ranged from $174,979 to $306,449 per year for otolaryngologists.
4.An otolaryngologist's specialty area can lead to a career in a variety of
health care industries including private practices,
plastic surgery, hospitals
and medical service providers to name a few. PayScale reported the highest
salaries with physician's offices, ranging from $199,702 to $326,174 per year.
Hospitals paid otolaryngologists average salaries ranging from $191,073 to
$315,658 per year and medical service providers paid average salaries ranging
from $190,480 to $317,766 per year.
5.In many professional occupations, salaries can increase with professional
experience. Otolaryngologists' salary can base on their specialty area,
education and training, as well as professional experience. PayScale reported 32
percent of ontolaryngologists had between one and four years of experience, 18
percent had between five and nine years of experience and 46 percent had over 10
years of experience. Otolaryngologists with one to four years of experience
earned average salaries ranging from $120,346 to $207,656 per year. Those with
five to nine years of experince earned average salaries ranging from $207,500 to
$383,690 per year, and those with over 10 years of experience earned average
salaries ranging from $137,500 to $325,000 per year.
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