Completing a pain management fellowship is a necessary for a doctor who hopes to become a specialist in this field of medicine. In the United States and Canada, before doctors can apply to become fellows, they need to complete a three-year residency. Doctors from other countries who wish to apply to a fellowship program must show that they have undergone equivalent training before they can be considered. A pain management fellowship is a training program that prepares a doctor to practice pain management medicine without the close supervision of other doctors.
Though it is not a requirement for a pain management fellowship, most programs prefer candidates who have completed a residency in anesthesiology. A doctor that does not have this background will be competing with candidates who are often more qualified for a pain management fellowship. In order to make themselves more competitive, doctors from other residency programs can chose to complete some training in anesthesia or to publish papers in the field of anesthesiology or pain management in order to demonstrate proficiency in these fields.
A pain management fellowship is usually a relatively short program. A doctor studies the specialty for about a year, working in a hospital under the supervision of an experienced doctor, who is a specialist in pain management. Many programs accept applications for the pain management fellowship year-round, and may accept candidates at any time of the year. Each program has different application procedures, however, so an applicant for a pain management fellowship should research each program individually to find out when to apply.
An applicant for a pain management fellowship will be required to submit a number of documents to the program director. These documents prove that the doctor is a competent professional who is qualified to enter into this type of fellowship. Letters of recommendation from doctors that the candidate has worked under during his residency are an extremely important component of the application. Strong grades and high scores on medical board exams are also necessary, and proof of these academic accomplishments is submitted to the program director of the pain management program in which the candidate hopes to get a fellowship. The doctor will then need to perform well at the interview in order to be accepted as a fellow.