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Choosing a Specialty

Choosing a path that's right for you

Students can begin to assess what specialty may be right for them by asking the following questions:

Goal Related

  • What was my original reason for entering medical school?
  • What type of lifestyle do I want after school?
  • Where do I want to practice? (Geographic regions)
  • What aspects of medicine do I find appealing?
  • What types of patients or areas of medicine do I feel uncomfortable or find difficult to handle?
  • Do my skills and interests match?

Practice Related

  • What type of patients are encountered?
  • How much direct patient contact is involved?
  • What types of skills are required?
  • What types of disease and patient problems present for treatment?
  • Are there various practice options available within this specialty? (e.g. Urban, Rural, Academic, HMO, Private)
  • What types of research are being done?
  • What type of lifestyle is afforded in this specialty?

Furture Prospects

  • Is there likely to be active recruitment to this specialty after residency?
  • Are there physicians in this specialty in the area I want to practice?
  • In what settings will there be openings when my training is complete?
  • What do physicians inside this specialty say about the future outlook?
  • Are there predictions from health care industry analysts about the future of this specialty?

Residency Training

  • What is the length of training?
  • What are the goals of training?
  • How available are residency positions?
  • How much competition is there for a training slot?
  • Are programs in this specialty DO friendly?
  • What are the requirements for subspecialty or fellowship training?