How to become a Geriatrician

If you’ve ever considered a rewarding career in healthcare, becoming a geriatrician could be a great fit. A geriatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of older adults. As the baby boomer generation ages, the demand for geriatricians continues to grow, making it a promising career choice. However, the path to becoming a geriatrician can be complex. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you understand the process, answering all your potential doubts and questions.

how to become a geriatrician

Understanding the Role of a Geriatrician

Geriatricians are specialized physicians who focus on healthcare for older adults. They address the unique needs of older patients, manage multiple disease symptoms, deal with multiple medication use, and work with a broader network of healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care. Geriatricians play a crucial role in managing the often complex health issues of an aging population.

Why Become a Geriatrician?

There are many reasons to pursue a career as a geriatrician. It’s a fulfilling profession that allows you to make a significant impact on patients’ lives. Geriatricians play an essential role in helping older adults maintain their independence and quality of life. Additionally, with the increase in the aging population, there’s a growing demand for geriatricians, ensuring a promising career outlook.

The Educational Path to Becoming a Geriatrician

Becoming a geriatrician involves several stages of education and training. It’s a rigorous path but one that leads to a rewarding profession. Here’s a breakdown of the educational journey:

Bachelor’s Degree

The first step towards becoming a geriatrician is obtaining a bachelor’s degree. While there’s no specific required major, most future geriatricians choose a field of study in science, such as biology or chemistry, to fulfill pre-med course requirements for medical school.

Medical School

After completing a bachelor’s degree, the next step is to attend medical school, which typically takes four years. Medical school provides an in-depth understanding of the human body, diseases, and medical ethics. It’s divided into two parts: the first two years focus on classroom and laboratory instruction, while the last two years involve hands-on clinical rotations in different medical specialties.


After graduating from medical school, you’ll enter a residency program, which is essentially on-the-job training. As a future geriatrician, you’d typically complete a three-year residency in internal medicine or family medicine.

Fellowship in Geriatrics

Following the residency, you’ll need to complete a fellowship program in geriatrics. This is where you’ll gain specialized knowledge and experience in treating older adults. A geriatric fellowship typically takes one to two years.

Board Certification

After successfully completing your fellowship, you’ll be eligible to become board certified in geriatrics. This involves passing an examination administered by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) or the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), depending on your residency track. Board certification demonstrates your competence and dedication in the field of geriatrics.

Essential Skills for a Geriatrician

Being a geriatrician is not just about medical knowledge and technical skills. It also involves various soft skills. You’ll need excellent communication skills to interact effectively with patients and their families. Empathy and patience are crucial when dealing with older adults, who may have complex health issues or difficulties with communication or comprehension. Problem-solving skills are also essential due to the multifaceted health problems often presented in older adults.

The Job Outlook for Geriatricians

With the rising age of the U.S. population, the need for geriatricians is growing. Despite this, there’s a current shortage of geriatricians in the U.S., making it a high-demand field. This ensures not only a strong job outlook but also the potential for competitive salaries.

Becoming a geriatrician is a commitment to a lengthy educational and training process. However, the ability to improve the quality of life for older adults and provide them with comprehensive care is highly rewarding. As a geriatrician, you’ll be on the front lines of addressing the unique challenges presented by an aging population. If you’re ready to embark on this path, you now have the roadmap to guide you. Embrace the journey, and look forward to the meaningful difference you’ll make as a geriatrician.

Leave a Comment