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Rheumatology is the field of medicine that deals with diagnosis and treatment of illnesses and disorders of the joints, muscles, bones and tendons like arthritis and degenerative joint illness.

A rheumatologist is an internist or pediatrician who is qualified by supplementary training and experience in the analysis and treatment of arthritis and other illnesses of the joints, muscles and bones. Many rheumatologists perform investigation to determine the cause and better treatments for these disabling and occasionally fatal illnesses.

How to become a rheumatologist

The unique prerequisite for acceptance into medical school is 3 years of education at a college or university, but most medical students possess an undergraduate (e.g., Bachelor of Science) or advanced degree. Premedical undergraduate study consists of biology, English, the humanities, mathematics, physics, social sciences, and inorganic and organic chemistry.

The student must then conclude 4 years of medical school and achieve either a doctor of medicine (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) degree. During the first 2 years of medical school, students receive courses in anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology, psychology, microbiology, pathology, medical ethics, and classes in laws governing medicine. They also learn how to make a medical history, examine patients, and diagnose diseases.

In the course of the final 2 years of medical school, students care for patients in hospitals and clinics, under the control of experienced doctors, in which medical students learn obstetrics and gynaecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery.

Nature of the work

The role of the rheumatologist is to work as a consultant to give advice another doctor about a specific diagnosis and treatment plan. In other situations, the rheumatologist works as a manager, relying upon the aid of many skilled professionals as well as nurses, physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and social workers. Team work is vital, since musculoskeletal diseases are chronic. Health care professionals can aid people with musculoskeletal diseases and their families cope with the changes the diseases cause in their lives.


The annual salary for a rheumatologist goes from $171,000 to $200,000.