What is an endocrinologist?

An endocrinologist specialises in the study of hormones or hormone-related conditions.

Endocrinologists are found in a variety of professions but they are all professionals who specialise in studying hormones or hormone-related conditions.

Endocrinologists in medicine

In medicine when a doctor specialises in diagnosing and treating conditions that are caused by, or that affect your hormones, they are called an endocrinologist.   Most endocrinologists work in endocrinology and/or diabetes departments in general hospitals, rather than in a GP’s surgery. If your GP wants to refer you to see an endocrinologist, it will be a doctor who works in a hospital and specialises in treating hormone conditions.

To become a consultant endocrinologist, a doctor needs to study for a minimum of nine years after they have finished medical school and pass assessments in the subject.  In the UK, all endocrinologists with a medical degree will be registered with the General Medical Council. They will have titles such as MRCP, MBBS, MD or MB.

Some medical doctors who specialise in endocrinology also carry out research to try to find new treatments for hormone-related conditions. 

Endocrinologists in science

There are also some endocrinologists who have become specialists in hormones through working in science and studying the scientific aspects of how hormones work.  These endocrinologists do not treat patients.  Instead their job is to carry out research to try to understand how hormones in the body work with a view to developing new treatments.  They often work in universities or in commercial companies such as drug companies or work with medical endocrinologists to develop new or better therapies to treat patients. 

Endocrinologists in nursing

Some nurses also specialise in only treating patients with hormone-related conditions.  The job of these specialist endocrine nurses is to assist with the care of patients with long-term endocrine conditions and to provide advice to patients on how to best manage their condition.  Specialist endocrine nurses usually work in endocrinology and/or diabetes departments in general hospitals.

Last reviewed: May 2022