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How do I Become a GI Specialist?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 18 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A gastrointestinal (GI) specialist is a doctor who is trained to diagnose and treat conditions that involve the digestive system. A person in this field may see patients with conditions and disorders that affect the stomach and intestines as well as the esophagus, colon, and liver. A person who wants to become a GI specialist usually has to spend at least 13 years on his education and training after high school. He usually spends four years in college, another four years in medical school, and several years on residency training and fellowships. Additionally, a person who wants to become a GI specialist usually has to pass a licensing exam in order practice medicine.

A GI specialist typically sees patients in his office and performs examinations in order to diagnose conditions that affect the digestive system. Often, this type of doctor also performs, orders, and analyzes tests for the purpose of diagnosing and treating his patients. For example, a person with this title may perform endoscopic procedures, which involve using a scope to identify problems within a person's digestive tract and sometimes even remove polyps or other types of tissue. He may also perform tissue biopsies for the purpose of detecting cancer. Additionally, this type of doctor may work with a team of medical professionals with the goal of ensuring that a patient gets effective overall care.

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An individual who wants to become a GI specialist usually has to complete high school or secure a high school diploma equivalent in order to pursue this career. After high school, a person interested in this career typically enrolls in college and completes a four-year degree. An aspiring GI specialist may pursue just about any major in preparation for this career, though many aspiring doctors choose science or pre-medicine majors. Such majors can provide a good foundation for doing well in medical school.

After graduating from college, a person who wants to become a GI specialist typically goes on to enroll in medical school, which usually lasts for four years. To gain admission, a person may have to submit official college transcripts, take entrance or assessment exams, provide letters of recommendation, and have admissions interviews. An individual who wants to become a GI specialist also has to pass a licensing exam in order to legally practice medicine in his jurisdiction.

After medical school, a person who wants to become a GI specialist still has training to complete. Usually, a person in this field also completes a residency that lasts for about three years and a fellowship that lasts for about two. In some cases, however, residency training and fellowships can last even longer.

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