How to Become an Allergist

May 10, 2016

To become a Board Certified Allergist/Immunologist you must first finish four years of medical school after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree. Then comes three or more years ofspecialtytraining (Residency) in either Internal Medicine or Pediatrics, becoming either an Internist (Internal Medicine specialist) or Pediatrician. Then one takes the two day specialty exams given by the American Board of Internal Medicine (for Internists) or the American Board of Pediatrics (for Pediatricians). If passed, this will give “Board Certification” in one of these medical specialties (also called a “Diplomate”). Two or more years ofsubspecialty  training (also called Fellowship) in Allergy and Immunology follows this.

Only an Internal Medicine specialist or Pediatrician can train in Allergy and Immunology. During this training, 50% of the time is spent in pediatric allergy, and the other 50% is spent in adult allergy, thus training all Allergists to care for both children and adults. One also does research and teaches in the medical school. When Allergy and Immunology training is satisfactorily completed and Pediatric or Internal Medicine Boards have been passed, then the American Board of Allergy and Immunology exam must be passed to give board certification. There is a one out of five failure rate on these board exams, assuring that those who pass all these hurdles are trained and knowledgeable in Allergy and Immunology to the highest possible level. Once in practice, the Allergy and Immunology board exam for recertification must be taken and passed every 10 years and Continuing Medical Education must be completed every year for the rest of their career.

Rachel Schubert