How To Become a Urologist

October 12, 2023


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 10/11/23

Are you thinking about becoming a urologist? This guide will cover how to become a urologist, how long it takes, and how much you can make. 

If you're considering becoming a doctor, urology is an excellent field. Not only are urologists trained for surgery, but many run their own private practices or work in hospitals.

Jeffrey R. Thrill, a urologist practicing in Orlando, Florida, said: "a urology career is a good balance of surgery, office work and ever-changing technology." 

Becoming a urologist can be an excellent opportunity if you value spending time in both the medical office and surgery. In this guide, we'll be covering how to become a urologist. It can be an excellent opportunity for people interested in studying this field of medicine.

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What Does a Urologist Do?

A urologist is a medical doctor who identifies and treats conditions affecting the urinary system. A urologist treats diseases like cancer, infections, enlarged prostates, and overactive bladders. The urinary system helps clean the body of toxins by filtering and flushing them out. The urinary tract includes:

  • Kidneys
  • Bladder
  • Ureters
  • Urethra

Besides the urinary system, urologists also treat conditions involving the reproductive organs and the adrenal glands because those organs are closely linked to the urinary system. 

What Is Urology?

Urology is a field of medicine focusing on diseases affecting the urinary tract and male and female reproductive systems. Some urologists treat general illnesses of the urinary tract, while others specialize in a specific type of urology, such as: 

  • Female urology focuses on issues with a woman's urinary and reproductive systems. 
  • Male infertility concentrates on issues preventing a man from conceiving.
  • Neuro-urology focuses on urinary issues brought on by the nervous system.
  • Pediatric urology focuses on children's urinary issues. 
  • Urologic oncology specializes in cancers of the urinary system, such as those of the bladder, kidneys, prostate, and testicles.

The field of urology treats many different systems in the body. Urologists can specialize in a specific field within urology.

What Procedures Do Urologists Perform?

To diagnose a person with a specific condition, urologists will start by doing one or more of these tests to find out the patient's condition: 

  • Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, MRI, or C.T. scan. These tests help with seeing the urinary tract.
  • They can request a cystogram, which captures X-ray pictures of your bladder.
  • Order a urine sample to check for bacteria that may cause infections. 

Additionally, urologists are also trained to perform various surgeries. These surgeries include:

  • Kidney transplant.
  • Cystectomy, which involves removing the bladder.
  • A procedure to open a blockage.
  • Repair of damage due to injury.
  • Repairing of urinary organs.
  • Biopsies of the bladder, kidneys, or prostate. 
  • A ureteroscopy involves using a scope to remove stones in the kidneys.
  • A vasectomy to prevent pregnancy.

Moreover, urologists are trained for both office and surgical work. They need to perform these tests before finding a diagnosis. 

Subspecialties Within Urology

Urologists can specialize in specific areas of urology. Below we’ll be going over the subspecialties within urology.

Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery

Female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) is a subspecialty within urology where a urologist performs reconstructive surgery of the urogenital region. These surgeries include repairing fistulas and reconstructing urethras. 

Pediatric Urology

Pediatric urologists specialize in treating urologic issues in children. They also perform surgeries on children who suffer from severe urological issues. 

Male Infertility

Urologists also treat infertility in men. They treat infertility and various sexual dysfunction disorders.

How To Become a Urologist: Step-by-Step

Below we’ll be going over the steps you need to take to become a urologist.

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

To attend medical school, you must first obtain a bachelor's degree. While there are no specific degree requirements, it's highly recommended that you major in a science-related program because medical schools require applicants to take various science courses. These are the most common prerequisites for science courses that medical schools ask for: 

  • Biology
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics

Most medical schools ask an applicant to have at least a 3.0 GPA. Although a 3.0 GPA is not considered to be competitive, it's not entirely impossible to get into medical school with this GPA. 

Pass the MCAT

Before applying to medical school, applicants must take and pass the MCAT. Often students finishing their junior year of college apply to take the MCAT. 

This standardized eight-hour test consists of 230 multiple-choice questions, which are divided up into four sections. The MCAT is used by medical school admission committees to evaluate an applicant's application.

Apply To Medical School

Once you've taken and passed the MCAT, you must apply to medical school. Most students will apply to medical school at the end of their junior year. Each medical school will have its own requirements for admission. Here are the most common requirements medical schools:

If applicants meet a school's requirements and are accepted to their medical school, they'll attend medical school for four years. 

Attend Medical School

During medical school, students learn everything they need to know to be physicians. Usually, the first two years are structured with coursework and lab work. 

The third and fourth year is centered around students completing clinical rotations. Students learn about subjects like pathology, immunology, human anatomy and physiology, and other related topics during their classes. 

Students also learn about medical ethics and law, and patient communications. During their years of clinical rotations, students get first-hand experience participating in patient care in different fields of medicine. 

Urology Residency

After graduating from medical school, doctors can "match" to a residency to specialize in a specific field of medicine. Once a student matches into a urology residency accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, they'll spend around five years specializing in this field. 

Typically, the first year of urology residency is spent in general surgery. Students learn basic clinical and surgical skills in general surgery under close supervision. For the remainder of the four years, students learn to diagnose and treat common urological conditions such as kidney stones, male infertility, and urological cancers.


New doctors who have completed their urology residency are considered fully trained. However, before they can practice urology, they must obtain their board certification in urology. The certification process starts with a 300 multiple choice question exam about urology. 

If you need help preparing for the exam, the American Board of Urology provides test prep resources and details. Once a person passes the exam, they must spend at least 16 months practicing in a community before taking the oral certification exam.  

The oral exam takes two days to complete. An examiner will describe a hypothetical patient's condition and then ask the applicant to diagnose and treat the patient. Applicants must complete the certification process within five years of their residency. 

Apply for a State License 

To practice as a urologist, you must first have your medical license. Contact your state medical board to learn about the medical licensing requirements for your state.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Urologist?

Urologists are trained in their specialty and surgery, whereas other medical doctors are only trained in their specialty. 

Also, in the medical field, extensive education is needed and necessary before becoming qualified to practice medicine. For urologists, it can take 13 years of education and training and an additional two to five years for board certification

Below is a breakdown of how many years each step takes to complete to become a urologist. 

Earn an Undergraduate Degree

It can take four years to earn your bachelor’s degree. Acquiring a degree is mandatory before attending medical school. Students can complete any major as long as they meet the prerequisites for medical school. Although, a science major would be beneficial because medical school prerequisites are mainly science courses. 

Attend Medical School

Attending medical school can take another four years to complete. Students learn in the classroom in the first two years of medical school. And for the last two years, students have attended clinical rotations. 

Complete Urology Residency

After graduating from medical school, doctors must complete a residency where they'll be receiving training in their specialty. Typically, residencies take about five years to complete. 

Board Certification

Once you have completed medical school and residency, they must become board certified in their specialty. You must apply for board certification through the American Board of Urology. 

There are two parts to the certification evaluation. The first evaluation is a 300 multiple choice exam. Once you've passed this exam, you must spend at least 16 months practicing in a community before you're eligible to take the second evaluation, an oral exam. Overall, it can take over two years to obtain your board certification.

Urologist Salary

The average salary for urologists in the U.S. is around $221,643. The reason why the salary is so high is that most urologists are trained in performing surgery. However, the salary range for urologists in the U.S. is $33,000 to $578,000 per year. After the lengthy and pricey investment of medical school, urologists can enjoy their profession’s high earning potential. 

Regarding job projections, the demand for urologists is expected to grow, with an expected 72,500 new jobs by 2029.

How To Become a Urologist: FAQs

If you still have questions after reading this guide, check out these frequently asked questions. 

1. Is Becoming a Urologist Hard?

Like any other program, hard work and dedication are needed to complete a program successfully. However, if you struggle with science-based courses, you will find becoming a urologist extremely hard. Because urology is a branch of the medical field, it's required that you do well in the science field. 

2. How Hard Is It To Get Into a Urology Residency?

According to the American Urological Association (AUA), 59 of 434 applicants did not match the urology specialty in previous years. This data shows that getting into a urology residency is competitive. 

3. How Long Does It Take To Become a Urologist In the USA?

It can take up to 15 years to become a board-certified urologist in the U.S. First, you'll have to obtain your undergraduate degree, which takes four years to complete. Next, you'll have to complete four years of medical school. Then complete five years of a urology residency. Then at least another two years for board certification.

Final Thoughts

The process of becoming a urologist is long, lengthy, and rewarding. The journey consists of completing an undergraduate degree, medical degree, urology residency, and obtaining board certification and licensing. Those steps take dedication and patience, but once you've achieved them, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment. 

If you're interested in becoming a urologist, this guide has helped you make the first step toward gaining knowledge of the field. And with hard work and dedication, you can become a urologist.

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