Nephrologists are professionals who focus on kidney diseases and treatment of the kidney. They work with patients who have either lost their kidney or are facing serious renal issues. Some patients are referred to a nephrologist by a general physician, while others may visit directly.

Should I Become a Nephrologist?

Education Required

Medical Degree

Major Requirement






Key Skills

Problem Solving Skills, Communication Skills, Patience, Organization Skills, Leadership Skills and Dexterity.

Annual Mean Salary – US (2020)

$218,850 (Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric)

Job Outlook (2020-2030)

3% (Physicians and Surgeons)

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Nephrologists help patients retain the quality of their life and feel healthy, even with underlying kidney issues. These professionals play an important part in the lives of people who have had kidney loss or serious kidney or renal diseases. Physicians in this specialty educate their patients about maintaining healthy kidneys through daily routine habits.

Career Outlook

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Physicians and Surgeons are expected to experience job increase of 3% from 2020-2030. In the coming years, chronic illnesses will rise along with an ageing population. The use of technology in the field of medicine will help physicians treat more patients at a time. Remote monitoring and improved information technology will be playing an important role in this regard.

Steps to Become a Nephrologist in the US

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. A Bachelor’s degree is required by all medical schools at the time of admissions. Even though any specific major is not required, students are recommended to choose a discipline related to biological sciences so they can complete all pre-requisite courses like chemistry, biology, etc.

  1. Give the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT)
  2. Getting an admission in a medical school requires students to take the MCAT. It evaluates students’ knowledge of the sciences, math and verbal reasoning. MCAT scores, letter of recommendation and various other factors play an important role during the admission process.

  1. Get a Medical Degree
  2. >
    Medical school is a 4-year program which is a combination of classroom learning and practical experience. During the second year of this program, students study philosophy which is considered an important subject for nephrologists. While they are in medical school, they get multiple opportunities to learn from experienced professionals. This process allows students to understand the importance of Nephrology in multiple settings and choose their career path.

  1. Complete a Residency Program
  2. Aspiring nephrologists have to complete a residency program where they learn how to treat patients, diagnose illnesses and work with other team members. Students who are pursuing their career in Nephrology opt for internal medicine and are required to take the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) certification exam.

  1. Complete a Nephrology Fellowship
  2. Once students are done with their residency program, they have to serve a fellowship in Nephrology. Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the program lasts for 2-3 years where students learn about kidney related disorders.

  1. Obtain Licensure
  2. Professionals are required to obtain licensure in the state where they wish to practice. However, general requirements include clearing a two-part exam.

  1. Get Certified
  2. Although it is not mandatory, some professionals choose to get certified.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Nephrologist?

Prospective nephrologists have to complete 8 years of education which includes 4 years of undergraduate and 4 years of graduate program. They are also required to complete their medical residency and a fellowship program.

What Are the Requirements for Becoming a Nephrologist

Following are the requirements to become a Nephrologist:

  • Obtain an undergraduate degree
  • Give the MCAT and obtain a medical degree
  • Finish the medical residency and fellowship program
  • Obtain licensure


How Much Can I Make After Becoming a Nephrologist?

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual mean salary of the occupational category of Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists, Except Pediatric was $218,850 in 2020.