How Do You Become an Internist?

An internist, like other doctors, must complete a bachelor’s degree and then attend an additional four years of an accredited medical school to receive a medical degree, states Internists must also complete a yearlong internship and three years of residency to be able to work in the hospital environment.

In addition to school and training, internists must also pass the three-part United States Medical Licensing Examination and state licensing exams. Most internists must also pass oral and written board certification exams to become board certified in internal medicine, notes

To subspecialize, internists must complete additional medical training in a fellowship program. There are many options for subspecializing, such as cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and sports medicine. Other choices may include endocrinology, genetics, infectious diseases and geriatrics, notes UNC School of Medicine. Subspecializing requires the internist to complete at least one to four years in a fellowship after finishing residency. The years spent training in a fellowship program depends on the complexity of the subspecialty and whether or not the internist is considering an academic or clinical career.

Internists planning to become proceduralists must complete longer fellowships. Proceduralists perform complex medical procedures such as placing stents and removing gallstones, explains UNC School of Medicine.