Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism

The Discipline

Endocrinology is the subspecialty of internal medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and care of disorders of the endocrine (glandular) system and the associated metabolic dysfunction. Endocrinologists are frequently involved with the diagnosis and management of

  • Hypothalamic disorders (abnormal sodium and water balance)
  • Pituitary diseases (tumors, over- or under-production of pituitary hormones)
  • Parathyroid abnormalities (hypercalcemia, hypocalcemia)
  • Thyroid diseases (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, goiter, nodules)
  • Adrenal cortex dysfunction (mineralcorticoid, glucocorticoid, sex hormone abnormalities)
  • Gonadal disease (hypogonadism and reproductive disorders)
  • Pancreatic endocrine disease (diabetes mellitus)
  • Bone metabolism (osteoporosis)
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Iatrogenic effect of glucocorticoids

Endocrinologists may practice in a dedicated endocrine practice, as part of a multi-specialty group, or may maintain a split practice seeing both endocrinology and general internal medicine patients. They may also provide consultation for other physicians or hospitals. Academic endocrinologists often participate in basic science or clinical research and teach medical students and resident trainees.


Training in endocrinology includes two years of additional training following successful completion of a basic internal medicine residency training program. Following completion, Endocrine, Diabetes, and Metabolism fellows are eligible for board certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine.

Training Positions

In the 2020-2021 academic year, there are 152 Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited training programs in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism with 696 trainees. There are also 72 ACGME-accredited training programs in pediatric endocrinology with 236 trainees. Finally, there are 49 ACGME-accredited training programs in reproductive endocrinology and infertility with 165 trainees.

Major Professional Society

  • American College of Endocrinology
  • The Endocrine Society
  • American Diabetes Association

See all the career pathways open to internal medicine doctors.

Back to the January 2021 issue of ACP IMpact