Find out more about what a career as an adult or paediatric and adolescent rheumatologist looks like.

Rheumatologists are doctors who investigate, diagnose, manage and rehabilitate patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system, such as the locomotor apparatus, bone and soft connective tissues.

If you're specifically interested in working with children and young people, you could become a paediatric and adolescent rheumatologist, caring for those with a broad range of illnesses, ranging from juvenile arthritis to complex multi-system inflammatory disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus and vasculitis.

Paediatricians have an expert understanding of the ways in which illness affects the child, the parents and the rest of the family and are skilled in the management of emotionally complex family situations, which can also involve liaison with schools and other multiprofessional and multidisciplinary teams.


Training to be a doctor follows three stages – medical school, foundation training and then training in a particular specialty.

Each medical school sets its own criteria for entry and you can find out more about what it takes to become a doctor on the NHS Health Careers website. If you’re thinking about paediatrics, visit the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health website for the latest information and advice.

Rheumatology is a challenging and varied specialty with over 200 conditions to treat, so you’ll need to be resilient, compassionate and be able to make decisions under pressure.


Once qualified in rheumatology, you'll be working in either adults or paediatrics. What makes the specialty different to others is that because you’re working with patients with long-term conditions, you’ll build up strong relationships with them and see how your treatment makes a positive impact on their lives.

Over time you'll develop and expand your skills, building on your seniority. There are many varied opportunities in rheumatology that might lead to research, teaching, hospital management or leadership roles.

If you’re working in paediatric and adolescent care, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has lots of information on career development.

Training opportunities

Practising doctors need to revalidate and continuing your professional development and keeping your skills up to date is vital.

There's a wide variety of training courses available dependent of your areas of interest and where you'd like to expand your skills. You can attend events, conferences and training run by BSR and the Royal College of Physicians amongst others.

Training in paediatric and adolescent rheumatology in the UK is accessed primarily through the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health National Grid after core training in paediatrics (from ST1-5). GRID training is a 2-3 year programme of training across two GRID-approved paediatric and adolescent rheumatology centres.

The new progress curriculum was introduced in August 2018 and requires all ST6-8 trainees in paediatric and adolescent rheumatology to attain additional sub-specialty specific competencies. These have been updated to reflect the needs of training today.

A typical week

As rheumatology is generally an outpatient specialty, you'll have several clinics a week where you'll treat patients and help them manage their conditions. You'll support colleagues in different specialties throughout the hospital, who are treating patients that need your expertise.

Your role will involve leading and guiding investigations and treatments and seeking advice from other experts. There will be patient queries coming through the helpline which will need your advice, plus you'll be a key member of the multidisciplinary team.

Other duties will include helping to improve services, professional development and sharing best practice. You may also contribute to research and educate other people.


Royal College of Physicians

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

The General Medical Council

The British Medical Association

SPecial INterest module for paediatric and adolescent rheumatology