What is a Hematologist
Hematology, alternatively spelled haematology or hæmatology, is the study of blood and its diseases, including the blood-forming organs. Hematologists, then, are physicians who specialize in problems related to the blood, or who engage in laboratory work with a similar purpose. Their work encapsulates blood banks and transfusions, treating blood or bleeding disorders (such as lymphoma and leukemia in the former and hemophilia in the latter) as well as bone marrow and stem cell transplants.
The work environment for hematologists is similar to that of other physicians, often working in an exam room for the consultation and diagnosis of patients. They also work in a lab for the analysis of samples, and in operating rooms for surgeries and other procedures. Many hematologists travel between these environments for treatment of patients, so their environment is often changing.
The work schedule for a hematologist is similar to other physicians; often they work 50 to 60 hours per week, though occasionally more, especially in emergency situations. Their work schedule tends to be very flexible; work with blood banks, for example, may require odd hours during blood drives, and administering transfusions can occur at any time during the day or night, depending on the surgery schedule.
Hematologist Job Outlook and Prospects
The job outlook for hematologists is quite promising. Though the Bureau of Labor and Statistics only lists the outlook for physicians generally, it offers some clues about hematology. For physicians overall, there is an expected job growth of 18 percent in the coming ten years. Hematology, being a specialization, will likely have higher growth. As well, there is a continually increasing demand for hematologists; more research in to blood and its diseases, the effect that genetics play more generally on health care, and the increasing knowledge about and work on curing cancers, means hematologists will continue to be in need, and the field should see at least a 22 percent growth by 2022.
Hematologist Salary: Factors and Influences
The salary of a hematologist is greatly affected by many factors, from experience and education to geographic location and the industry in which they work. Specialization is a very important factor in hematologist salary as well, though it is highly intertwined with education and industry.
The average salary for a hematologist is approximately $240,000 per year, with a range spanning from around $91,000 to more than $350,000.
Education and Specialization
Hematologists, like all physicians, must first complete a bachelor’s degree, followed by a medical degree. Following these eight years of university education, they engage in a residency in internal medicine and oncology typically lasting three to four years. This is further followed by a fellowship in hematology and oncology, which generally lasts two to four years, meaning the road is between thirteen and sixteen years before certification.
The intensity of training required means hematologists are on the higher end of medical salaries; further increases can be seen with more prestigious residency programs, at more well-known hospitals.
Specialization is a primary factor of salary improvements for a hematologist, something to be pursued through their fellowship training. Pursuing a specialty in hemoglobinopathies (genetic defects in the globin proteins), hemophilia, or stem cell transplantation, for example, will all bring higher salaries.
Experience and Position
Experience is another dominant factor for a hematologist’s salary, with new hematologists at the lower end of the scale (ie around $90,000-$125,000), while those with fifteen to twenty years’ experience earn upwards of $350,000 or more (some reaching as high as the $600,000 range).
Position is highly dependent on the industry worked; those in a larger organization can see positional movement and subsequent wage differences, while those self-employed in a private practice will have no such potentials (though, as a general rule, do tend to earn more).
Industry is a significant factor for consideration in a hematologist’s salary, with those self-employed earning around $270,000, while those in a general medical hospital will earn closer to $180,000, on average. Working in a medical diagnostic laboratory will see wages of around $230,000, very close to the average for hematologists generally.
The geographic location will make a significant difference in hematologist salaries as well, with a range of $125,000 to $250,000. Puerto Rico has the lowest wages, while Mississippi has the highest at $240,500; South Dakota and Montana follow, at around $233,000 and $231,900, respectively. On the metropolitan level, though, Rochestor-Dover, NH-ME has the highest average at $251,000, followed by Wichita Falls, TX, at $249,000.