Congratulations on choosing rheumatology as a career! Your journey through fellowship is an important time in your life to develop the foundation for your future. We hope the following timeline, developed and based on insights and guidance from academic leaders/investigators, practitioners, and fellows, is helpful in providing an overview for your career development process.
Start thinking about your career early! Ask yourself key questions: Do I want a career in private practice or academics? Do I see my primary role as a researcher, clinician, or educator? What tools and experiences do I need to achieve these goals? The sooner you know where you're headed, the sooner your department can help you to get there (or achieve your desired goals).
Be diligent in meeting with your program director and division chief each semester. Take note that these two will have different interests and concerns. Your program director's role will help you to identify your individual interests and career development. Your division chief can help you to identify your interests in the context of the needs of the entire department.
Look for a mentor in your area of interest in research or clinical practice. Sometimes, these may include mentors outside your department or even outside your institution. It can be helpful to identify multiple mentors for different roles: i.e. research mentor, clinical mentor, career advancement mentor.
Don't be limited by convention. For example, if you have a research idea that hasn't been explored, talk with your program director/chief and ask them to direct you to the most appropriate person to see if your idea is plausible.
Don't be shy about asking for additional funding. For example, if you are interested in clinical research and would like to obtain an additional degree in public health (or even take a few courses), ask your program director/chief if discretionary funds are available. If your research proposal is well-conceived and is compatible with the goals of the division, you may be rewarded.
It's never too early to begin looking for job opportunities. By the beginning of your last year of training, you should be pursuing career opportunities. Take advantage of all the resources and opportunities available: networking at meetings, program director contacts, local medical societies, ACR CareerConnection, and the ACR Career Fair.
The ACR CareerConnection is ACR’s online job board. CareerConnection is free to job seekers searching for opportunities in the field of rheumatology. Benefits include personalized website, job alert notifications, and resume builder.
The ACR Career Fair, held in conjunction with ACR Convergence, the ACR's annual meeting, is an extension of ACR CareerConnection. For job seekers, the Career Fair provides the opportunity to meet with employers and recruiters, check out open positions in rheumatology across the country and network with other rheumatology professionals.
Academic Medicine Track