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Nephrology is a branch of internal medicine and pediatrics that deals with the analysis and treatment of diseases and disorders of the kidneys. A nephrologist is a doctor who has been educated and trained in kidney diseases, high blood pressure, fluid retention, and electrolyte imbalance. Nephrology is categorized as an internal medicine subspecialty. Knowledge of internal medicine is obligatory to obtain certification.

How to become a nephrologist

To become a nephrologist (also known as a kidney doctor or kidney specialist), it requires at least two degrees, general training, and passing numerous exams. It frequently takes 13-14 years from the initiation of college to the end of clinical training to become a nephrologist.

Some courses that you will study in Nephrology:
  • Fluid, acid-base, and electrolyte physiology
  • Medical management of acute and chronic renal failure
  • Glomerular/vascular disorders
  • Tubular/interstitial disorders
  • Mineral metabolism
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Hypertension
  • Epidemiology, ethics, and nutrition
  • Renal transplantation
  • Dialysis
  • Interpretation of x-rays, sonograms, photomicrographs, and radionuclide studies.
Steps to become a nephrologist:
  • Conclude at least the third year clinical rotations before choosing on a specialty.
  • Receive a clinical rotation in nephrology or an externship with a private nephrologist.
  • Define your general medical base by concentrating on clinical electives in areas other than nephrology. Your nephrology fellowship will give abundant training in that specialty.
  • You need to complete an Internal Medicine residency before beginning a nephrology fellowship. Contribute in the residency matching program for Internal Medicine.
  • Conclude your 3-year residency in Internal Medicine. Investigate fellowships in nephrology.
  • Complete your fellowship in an ACGME-accredited program in nephrology.

Nature of the work

Kidney doctors treat patients with kidney disorders; they also deal with transplant protocols in hospitals and for transplant networks. They supervise dialysis centers and programs. As other doctors, these doctors provide an additional residency in their field, beyond the standard training for a general practitioner. Because kidney disease concerns the entire body, a nephrologist must also possess a good grasp on other aspects of internal medicine, and how renal failure can produce other body systems to fail.


The annual salary for a nephrologist goes from $188,500 to $204,400.