What Does a Pulmonologist Do?

What Does a Pulmonologist Do?

If you're suffering from respiratory problems, it may be time to visit a pulmonologist. Pulmonologists in the United States are all board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine. You can use doctor ratings and reviews online to find a pulmonologist in your area. While some respiratory conditions do not require specialist care, chronic ones may need a pulmonologist's expertise.

ABIM certification

The ABIM certification process consists of a series of rigorous evaluations to ensure that candidates have completed the required education. Each candidate must meet certain requirements, including the minimum amount of clinical training. Additionally, candidates must meet certain quality control steps. After passing the examination, ABIM certificants are eligible to receive their certificates three to four months after the exam.

The ABIM Pulmonary Disease MOC exam evaluates a physician's knowledge of pulmonary diseases and their diagnostic reasoning and clinical judgment. According to ABIM, the first-time taker pass rate for the Pulmonary Disease MOC exam in 2018 was 96%. ABIM also recently replaced the MOC exam with a Knowledge Check-In Assessment.

Medical specialty

A pulmonologist is a medical specialist who deals with diseases of the respiratory tract. They perform procedures such as a punch biopsy, which involves removing a small piece of tissue, about the size of a pencil eraser, to check for signs of cancer or other diseases. They may also perform skin biopsy procedures to check for changes that could lead to cancer.

Work schedule

A pulmonologist's work schedule can vary widely. The job may require you to consult with patients after hours or on weekends. Many pulmonologists work between 50 and 60 hours per week. If you have the time, you may consider working a flexible schedule that allows you to meet the demands of your practice.

One advantage of being self-employed is having more control over your schedule and earnings. In 2013, self-employed pulmonologists earned more than their employed counterparts. On average, self-employed pulmonologists earned more than twenty-five thousand dollars per year.


Pulmonologists can perform a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. These procedures are aimed at alleviating respiratory conditions such as asthma. They may also include procedures to treat lung cancer. Some procedures involve the use of an ultrasound probe and a rigid bronchoscope. Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS) was first introduced in the early 21st century, and is now the standard mediastinal staging procedure for lung cancer. Interventional pulmonology is considered a subspecialty of pulmonary medicine.

The bronchoscope is a relatively new procedure in pulmonary medicine. A thoracic surgeon may perform this procedure if he is already trained in the field. The endoscope, which can be passed through the mouth or nose, allows a physician to see the inside of the lungs. A bronchoscope can also be used to biopsy lymph nodes. The most advanced bronchoscopy can pinpoint the exact location of masses within the airway.