How You Can Become an ENT Specialist


Ear, nose, and throat specialists are often the first doctors to diagnose and treat a patient. They can help with everything from broken bones to allergies, from sinus infections to cancer. Ear, nose, and throat specialists (ENTs) are in high demand because of their expertise in diagnosing and treating many different types of illnesses. Say’s Dr Paul Drago, although becoming an ENT specialist takes a lot of time and dedication—and money—it’s totally worth it! Here’s how you can become an ENT yourself:

Go to medical school

To become an ENT specialist, you must first get a bachelor’s degree. You can then apply to medical school and attend classes for four years. While in medical school, it is important that you take the MCAT test as well as maintain good grades so that you may be accepted into an accredited residency program after graduation from medical school.

After completing your residency training program and passing all necessary exams, it is time to apply for board certification by the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABO). To do so requires passing another exam along with continuing education requirements throughout your career as an ENT doctor or surgeon

Complete a residency in otolaryngology

Otolaryngology is a branch of medicine that focuses on the ear, nose, mouth and throat. It’s also known as ENT (ear-nose-throat).

Otolaryngologists complete four years of medical school followed by three to seven years of residency training in their specialty. Some programs offer an additional year or two of subspecialty training after completing their general otolaryngology residency program.

The best ENT residency programs are located at major academic centers with strong reputations for research and education.

Complete a supplemental fellowship in a subspecialty

A subspecialty is a field of medicine that focuses on one aspect of ENT. For example, if you specialize in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), then your subspecialty would be in either hearing loss or head and neck cancer.

It takes three to five years to complete an additional fellowship after completing an initial residency program; however, this time frame can vary depending on how much experience you already have working as an internist or general physician before entering medical school. The benefits of completing a supplemental fellowship include:

  • Increased knowledge about treating patients with specific conditions
  • Better understanding of how each condition affects the body
  • Opportunity for research

Obtain board certification

Board certification is important to the ENT field because it signifies that you have met certain standards and have been approved by a board of professionals. This means that when you are board certified, your patients can trust that you are qualified to perform surgery on them or provide them with treatment options for their condition.

As an aspiring ENT specialist, there are two main ways to obtain board certification:

  • Earn an American Board of Otolaryngology (ABO) specialty certificate by completing a residency program in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at an accredited hospital; OR
  • Complete a fellowship program in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at an accredited hospital

Ear, nose, and throat specialists can make great money and help people.

Ear, nose, and throat specialists can make great money. Ear, nose and throat specialists help people with a variety of conditions. Some ENT specialists perform surgery on the ears, nose or throat.


ENT specialists are highly trained and skilled physicians who provide treatment for a range of conditions affecting the ear, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck. Ear, nose and throat specialists are also known as otolaryngologists (or “ENTs”).

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