An allergist is an allergy specialist who manages patients with a wide range of allergic conditions, from mild reactions due to less-serious allergies, to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
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Entry Route into Allergy Medicine
The full training programme for allergy takes seven years (ST1-ST7). Selection for ST1 posts occurs after completion of the foundation programme, with a choice of two training pathways:
Applicants with full membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) can apply to join the allergy medicine programme at ST3. The training programme consists of four to six placements in various medical specialities and trainees must participate in the on-call rota.
Job Progression as an Allergist
On completion of higher speciality training (ST3-ST7), trainees are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Completion of Training, and therefore entry onto the Specialist Register. There are no subspecialties in allergy, but allergists can work in paediatric allergy medicine.
Trainees can apply for consultant positions six months before obtaining their CCT, and there are opportunities to work in management as a clinical lead, or a clinical or medical director. There are also formal opportunities to become involved in the education and training of junior doctors by working as
- a director of medical education overseeing postgraduate medical training,
- a training programme director responsible for the education of trainee doctors in the local region, or
- an associate dean responsible for managing the training programme.
Academic Roles for Allergists
Trainees interested in an academic career can apply for an academic clinical fellowship. Alternatively, trainees can continue the ST clinical training programme after ST4 level.
Competition for Allergist Posts
In 2017, the competition ratio at ST3 was 2.7 in the first round, with 8 applications for 3 NTN posts, and with 13% of applicants applying for Allergy only. In the second round, the competition ratio was 8.0, with 8 applications for 1 NTN post.
In December 2017, there were
- 17 consultants,
- 6 speciality registrars, and
- 1 core trainee.
Salaries in Allergy
The starting salary for junior doctors in England ranges from £26,614 to £46,208, and from £37,923 to £87,521 for speciality doctors. Consultants can expect to earn between £76,761 and £103,490. There are additional supplements for on-call work, antisocial hours, and other commitments. For additional information, please check our page on pay scales.
A Day in the Life of an Allergist
The majority of Allergy specialists are based in tertiary centres, with most of their work dealing with outpatients during normal working hours. There is therefore little to no on-call work. Allergists work closely with Dermatologists, Immunologists and Respiratory Specialists, as well as more specialised nurses and dietitians. Because patients commonly undergo allergy tests, Allergists frequently perform skin prick testing, patch testing, and IgE testing.