How To Become An Infectious Disease Specialist
There’s a big spotlight on infectious diseases in this day and age as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on. If nothing else, this global public healthcare crisis has woken us all up to just how dangerous infectious or communicable diseases can be. According to the Infectious Disease Society of America, they are a top-five leading cause of death in the US.
To fight against infectious diseases, we need infectious disease physicians. Also known as an infectious disease specialist, a doctor of infectious diseases, and an ID specialist or ID doctors, they help to research and contain life-threatening illnesses.
If you want to become an infectious disease specialist, be prepared to put the work in. It is not an easy career path and will require dedication from the word go. Here’s all the career information you’ll need if you’re considering becoming an infectious disease specialist. It covers everything including what is an infectious disease and how to build your knowledge.
What is an infectious disease?
An infectious disease is an illness that is passed to a person either from another person, an animal, food, or something similar. The common cold is an example of an infectious disease, as is the coronavirus disease. Others you may have heard of include scarlet fever and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
However, an infectious disease specialist will generally only deal with rare or severe forms of infectious disease. It is their responsibility to prevent the worst of them from getting out of hand.
What causes infectious disease?
Disorders that are brought on by harmful organisms, including bacteria viruses, and parasites, cause disease. While, generally speaking, the organisms that live on and inside our bodies are completely harmless, they can become harmful and turn into pathogenic microorganisms. When that happens, the infection caused as a result can lead to problematic symptoms.
Once these symptoms and causes are spread widely enough, they have the potential to bring about an epidemic. The epidemic can worsen without effective infection control and become a pandemic that affects large swathes of a national or international population. And that’s exactly what happened with the coronavirus outbreak.
It is the job of an infectious disease specialist to stop a viral infection from running rampant through a population. Left to spread undeterred for too long, they have the power to cause huge loss and devastation before they’re finally contained.
How are infectious diseases spread?
As mentioned above, they are spread most commonly through person-to-person contact. This tends to happen when a person comes into direct contact with someone else’s bodily fluids, for example during sexual activity or when two people share needles. Contaminated food, insect bites, and contact with infected animals can also cause diseases to spread.
If you’re interested in becoming one of the world’s much-needed infectious disease specialists, you can expect to carry out cutting-edge research on all types of infectious diseases. It will be up to you to halt the spread of rising infectious agents.
What are non-infectious diseases?
As a specialist in infectious diseases, you will only deal with illnesses caused by the spread of harmful organisms. Other, non-infectious diseases such as respiratory syndrome, cancer, and malnutrition will be handled by specialists in other fields.
What does an infectious disease doctor do?
Now that you understand what infectious diseases are, it’s time to think about what the specialists in the field do to manage disease outbreaks. For starters, clinical research into things like emerging infections, new symptoms, and antibiotic resistance is a big part of the job.
This research will be channeled into preventative measures and treatment, including medications and better diagnosis and tests. It is this sort of thorough research, carried out diligently by trained experts, that led to the COVID-19 vaccination breakthrough.
Is becoming an infectious disease doctor right for you?
Being an infectious disease physician can be intense, unpredictable, and exciting. If you think the role might be right for you, ask yourself whether you have the critical thinking skills necessary to conceptualize treatments for brand new illnesses. You may also need to work one-on-one with patients in critical care, so it’s important to have a good bedside manner.
Once you’ve made up your mind, you can begin planning your next steps. You see, not just anyone can become an infectious disease specialist. Remember that they are medical professionals, so there will be a lot of studying and a license required.
How to become an infectious disease specialist?
You will need to undergo rigorous education and training if you want to be an infectious disease specialist. In other words, it isn’t for the fainthearted. All the doctors in this field start as medical students and will go on to specialize later on. From there, though, they have a bright future ahead.
The minimum educational requirement for a life as an infectious disease specialist is a two-to-three-year infectious disease fellowship, which can only be completed following a three-year internal medicine residency. A fellowship is the first time in a doctor’s career that they can focus exclusively on the internal medicine subspecialties of choice.
Crucially, though, you won’t be able to do a fellowship or even a residency if you don’t first get your graduate certificate from your bachelor’s degree. This will take you four years. Then you can go on to do your medical degree, which is another four years, residency in internal medicine, and fellowship. You may also choose to do a doctorate degree.
Before throwing yourself deep into the all-consuming health care system, take the time to figure out whether a career as an infectious disease specialist will work for you. Do so by taking an online short course, such as the Courses for Success Infectious Diseases and Infection Control Online Certificate Course. This will provide you with a strong knowledge base and help you determine how interested you are in the topic.
After completing your residency, becoming a doctor of internal medicine, and finishing your fellowship, you will be ready to embark on your chosen career path in earnest. You may choose to become an infectious disease specialist in family practice or private practice. This is sure to be less intense than if, say, you worked your way into prestigious medical associations.
Medical associations are the organizations that are called to action during national healthcare crises. To play a role in helping the people of your country overcome an epidemic or pandemic with minimal loss of life, consider joining one of the following:
How much does an infectious disease specialist earn?
There’s a lot of money in infectious disease medicine. It is, after all, a life-saving specialty that becomes all the more vital during a crisis. On average in the US, an infectious disease specialist earns $228,701. The lowest one might expect to earn is around $170,000 while the highest is just over $299,000.
Education, years of experience, and areas of specialty will affect earnings overall. Regardless, infectious disease specialists invariably earn a very attractive salary.
How to get started as an infectious disease specialist?
To take your first step towards becoming an infectious disease doctor, sign up for our comprehensive online training program. In the first module, you’ll learn essential basic skills including washing your hands and treating patients. From there, you will spend the remaining 24 hours of study learning about some of the world’s most prevalent infectious diseases.
Starting with influenza, you will go on to learn about pneumonia, the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the human papillomavirus (HPV), and more. The final module will then cover global infectious diseases that are just emerging. This will give you an invaluable insight into what you might end up working on in the future.
If you want to play a part in helping to prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks, then you need to know how to become an infectious disease specialist. An online short course will give you all of the insights you need. Then, once you have a solid understanding of what the topic is and what areas it covers, you can make an informed decision on whether the role is right for you.
Why Courses for Success?
Courses for Success offers over 10,000 online courses, all of which aim to help you in your personal development and career progression. Not only that, but you can also study them anywhere and at any time, and take them at your own pace, too.
You don’t need career diplomas or specific experience to get started. With every course we offer created to be as accessible as possible, you can be sure that all of them, from our coding courses and trading courses to design courses and developer courses, will help to boost your prospects, no matter who you are.
Beyond just the education itself, students will be issued with a certificate online after successful completion of each of the learning courses they do. Our infectious disease courses are no exception. Our online infectious disease certificates are recognized by industry leaders. You could really make a name for yourself as an infectious disease specialist by signing up for a Courses for Success short course.