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Important Details About (Almost) Every Medical Specialty

An Ever-changing List of Medical Specialties

At the time of this writing, there are 26 medical and surgical specialties to choose from when applying for residency in the Match. Many of these fields contain subspecialties that can be pursued with fellowship training after residency. This means that there truly is something for everyone!

If you’re trying to choose a medical specialty, you should check out my Specialty Stories podcast for interviews with practicing physicians in each specialty. You can also check out our post about choosing a medical specialty, then use the details below to help narrow down your choice!

In this post, we’ve collected details about each specialty, including residency length, competitiveness, average Step 1 and Step 2 scores, fellowships available, work environments, salary, and more.

Click on a specialty to skip to that one: Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Neurology, Child Neurology, Psychiatry, Dermatology, Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Nuclear Medicine, Medical Genetics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Pathology, General Surgery, Thoracic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology (ENT), Ophthalmology, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Urology, Anesthesiology, and Preventative Medicine.

Alright, let’s take a look at each specialty!

Internal Medicine

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Internal medicine physicians are also referred to as internists. Internists take care of adults from the age of 18 to the very elderly.

The field focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart, lungs, GI tract, blood, and joints, as well as cancers, diabetes, hormonal imbalance, local and systemic infections, autoimmune diseases, end-of-life care, and care for the elderly. Preventive medicine is also an important part of the field.

Internal medicine contains many subspecialties with fellowship training after residency. This means internal medicine can range from the very broad (primary care) to the very subspecialized (e.g. Transplant Medicine).

Length of Internal Medicine Residency Training

Internal medicine residency length: 3 years

2011 NRMP Match Data

381 programs
7874 applicants for 5407 positions
95% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

226

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

237

Mean number of research experiences: 2.3
Mean number of publications: 3.2

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 15.5%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 5.7%

Fellowships

Internal medicine fellowships available (1-3 years): Cardiology, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Nephrology, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, Transplant Medicine, Palliative Care, Sleep Medicine, and Geriatrics

Work Environment

Internal medicine practice types/location: Outpatient office practice, hospitalist medicine, consult services, nursing homes

Average Salary of an Internist

Average salary: ranges widely depending on specialty and type of practice, with cardiology and gastroenterology being the most lucrative and primary care being the least well compensated. The average is listed as $184,200 to $231,691.2

More information

American Board of Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians

Pediatrics

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Pediatricians take care of children from birth until the age of 18 or 21, depending on the pediatrician. They deal with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the heart, lungs, GI tract, blood, and joints, as well as cancers, growth conditions, hormonal imbalance, local and systemic infections, and autoimmune diseases. Preventative medicine is also an important part of the field.

Pediatrics contains many subspecialties with fellowship training after residency. This means pediatrics can range from the very broad (primary care) to the very subspecialized (e.g. Neonatal Medicine).

Length of Pediatrics Residency Training

Pediatrics residency length: 3 years (includes required rotations in general pediatrics, normal newborn care, and time in subspecialty areas)

2011 NRMP Match Data

198 programs
2988 applicants for 2601 positions
96% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

221

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

234

Mean number of research experiences: 2
Mean number of publications: 2.4

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 11.6%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 4.2%

Fellowships

Pediatrics fellowships (1-3 years): Adolescent Medicine, Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Cardiology, Pulmonary and Critical Care, Nephrology, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, Emergency Medicine, Transplant Medicine, and Palliative Care.

Work Environment

Pediatrics practice types/location: Outpatient office practice, hospitalist medicine, consult services

Average Salary of a Pediatrician

Average salary: Ranges widely depending on subspecialty and type of practice, with cardiology and gastroenterology being the most lucrative and primary care being the least well compensated. The average is listed as $160,111 to $228,750. Pediatricians typically make less in the same subspecialties as their internal medicine counterparts.

More Information

American Board of Pediatrics, American Academy of Pediatrics

Internal Medicine/Pediatrics

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Meds/peds physicians are trained in both internal medicine and pediatrics, such that they can diagnose and treat diseases of both children and adults.

Length of Med/Peds Residency Training

Med/Peds residency length: 4 years (2 in pediatrics, 2 in internal medicine)

2011 NRMP Match Data

80 programs
434 applicants for 365 positions
88% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

230

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

242

Mean number of research experiences: 1.9
Mean number of publications: 2.3

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 24.2%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 3.3%

Med/Peds Fellowships

Unique: Med-Peds Generalist
Combined: Allergy and Immunology, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Nephrology, Neurology, Pulmonary/Critical Care, Rheumatology, Palliative Care
Special: Adolescent Medicine, Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS), HIV Medicine, Medical Genetics, Medical Informatics, Outcomes Research, Quality Improvement, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Sports Medicine

Work Environment

Med/peds practice types/location: Outpatient office practice, hospital inpatient service (ward attending),  hospital consult service

Average Salary in Med/Peds

Average salary: Varies widely depending on the given subspecialty.

More information

National Med-Peds Resident’s Association

Family Medicine

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Family medicine physicians take care of patients of all ages, both children and adults, from newborns to the very elderly. They also provide annual gynecological care for women.  Many family medicine physicians take care of an entire family.  There is a special focus on preventative medicine.

Family physicians treat the same diseases as internists and pediatricians but typically in more of a community setting and often in rural and underserved areas.

Length of Family Medicine Residency Training

Family medicine residency length: 3 years

2011 NRMP Match Data

452 programs
3551 applicants for 2708 positions
97% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

213

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

225

Mean number of research experiences: 1.4
Mean number of publications: 1.6

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 6.5%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 0.9%

Fellowships

Available family medicine fellowships (1 year): Adolescent Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Care, Sleep Medicine, and Sports Medicine

Work Environment

Family medicine practice types/location: Outpatient office practice

Average Salary of Family Practitioner

Average salary: $175,000 to $220,196.2

More information

American Board of Family Medicine, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Geriatric Society, and American College of Sports Medicine

Emergency Medicine

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Emergency medicine physicians specialize in the acute stabilization and disposition of patients who present to the emergency department. They see patients of all ages with any ailment or injury, with varying levels of acuity, ranging from a small laceration to a critically ill trauma patient who was involved in a motor vehicle collision.

EM physicians must be proficient in a variety of procedural skills, including the placement of central lines and arterial lines, intubation, lumbar puncture, thoracentesis, and paracentesis. Once finished with their residency training, emergency medicine physicians can choose to practice in emergency departments with various levels of trauma: level-1 trauma centers, level-2 trauma centers, and urgent care centers.

Length of Emergency Medicine Residency Training

Emergency medicine residency length: 3-4 years (4 for academic centers)

2011 NRMP Match Data

158 programs
2025 applicants for 1626 positions
90% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

223

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

234

Mean number of research experiences: 1.8
Mean number of publications: 2.1

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 9.1%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 1.7%

Fellowships

Available emergency medicine fellowships (1 year): Medical Toxicology, Pediatric emergency medicine, Sports Medicine, Ultrasound, Undersea and hyperbaric medicine

Work Environment

Emergency medicine practice types/location: Hospital emergency department (level 1 or 2), urgent care center

Average Salary of Emergency Medicine Physician

Average salary: $239,000 to $316,296

More information

American Academy of Emergency MedicineAmerican Board of Emergency MedicineAmerican College of Emergency PhysiciansEmergency Medicine Residents AssociationSociety for Academic Emergency Medicine 

Neurology

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Neurologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems. After interviewing and examining a patient, they must determine not only the diagnosis but also localize the problem within the nervous system. The neurological examination is one of the most involved examinations in all of medicine. It has many parts and provides a great wealth of diagnostic information.

Neurologists  deal with diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) including ischemic stroke, hemorrhage, epilepsy, infection (encephalitis and meningitis), multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases, dementia, movement disorders (e.g. Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease), neuromuscular diseases such as ALS (Lou-Gehrig’s disease), autoimmune diseases, headaches, sleep disorders, and malignancies of the brain and spinal cord.

Neurologists also deal with diseases of the peripheral nervous system (nerve roots, nerves, neuromuscular junctions, and muscles) including radiculopathies, neuropathies (carpal tunnel syndrome), myasthenia gravis, and myopathies. They are also essential in providing prognostic information for patients who have suffered anoxic brain injury as a result of cardiac arrest. Neurologists in the hospital setting are often called upon for the formal determination of brain death.

Neurologists typically see adult patients, from the ages of 18 to the very elderly, while pediatric patients are typically seen by Child/Pediatric Neurologists. They receive some training in psychiatry during residency, as they must have some knowledge of psychiatric disease. Neurologists and psychiatrists take a common board exam to become board-certified in their respective specialties, offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Length of Neurology Residency Training

Neurology residency length: 4 years (includes 1 year of internal medicine)

2011 NRMP Mach Data

128 programs
755 applicants for 605 positions
96% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

225

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

233

Mean number of research experiences: 2.9
Mean number of publications: 4.2

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 11.9%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 11.9%

Fellowships

Available neurology fellowships (1-2 years): Behavioral Neurology, Vascular (Stroke Neurology), Neurocritical Care, Interventional Neurology, Multiple sclerosis and Neuroimmunology, Movement Disorders, Epilepsy and Electrophysiology, Neuromuscular, Headache, Sleep Medicine, Neuro-Infectious Disease, Neuro-oncology, Neuro-ophthalmology, Neuro-otology, Neuro-Hospitalist, Neuro-Rehab, and Sports Medicine

Work Environment

Neurology practice types/location: Outpatient office practice, hospital inpatient service (ward or ICU attending), interventional suite, hospital consult service

Average Salary of a Neurologist

Average neurologist salary: Depends on the type of practice

More information

American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Neurological Institute for Neurological Diseases and Stroke

Child Neurology

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Child/Pediatric Neurologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems in children from birth until the age of 18 (or 21 depending on the physician).

Pediatric neurologists deal with diseases of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) including ischemic stroke, hemorrhage, epilepsy, infection (encephalitis and meningitis), neurodevelopmental disorders (autism and autism spectrum diseases), behavioral disorders (ADD and ADHD), multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases, neuromuscular diseases (e.g. muscular dystrophy) autoimmune diseases, headaches, sleep disorders, and malignancies of the brain and spinal cord.

They also deal with diseases of the peripheral nervous system (nerve roots, nerves, neuromuscular junctions, and muscles) including radiculopathies, neuropathies (carpal tunnel syndrome), myasthenia gravis, and myopathies.

Length of Pediatric Neurology Residency Training

Child neurology residency length: 5 years (2 in pediatrics and 3 in neurology)

2011 Match Data:

No data available

Fellowships

Available child neurology fellowships (1 year): Vascular (Stroke) Neurology, Epilepsy and Electrophysiology, Neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism and Autism spectrum disorders),

Work Environment

Pediatric neurology practice types/location: Outpatient office practice, hospital inpatient service (ward attending), consult services in a hospital

Average Salary of a Child Neurologist:

No data available

More information

Child Neurology Society

Psychiatry

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Psychiatrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. They deal with psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse. They treat diseases such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and borderline personality disorder, among others.

Psychiatrists are required to commit patients to psychiatric hospitals involuntarily when they are a threat to themselves or others. Along these lines, they may be called upon to provide a determination of a patient’s capacity to determine his/her own decisions, both in the hospital and in court. Psychiatrists are trained in both psychotherapy and psychopharmacological treatment, as well as electroconvulsive therapy for severe depression and suicidality. There is a growing trend in which psychiatrists provide pharmaceutical treatment, and clinical psychologists provide counseling and therapy.

Psychiatrists receive some training in Neurology during residency, as they must have some knowledge of neurological disease. Psychiatrists and neurologists take a common board exam to become board-certified in their respective specialties, offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Length of Psychiatry Residency Training

Psychiatry residency length: 4 years (includes 3 months of neurology, 3 months of internal medicine)

2011 NRMP Match Data

182 programs
1597 applicants for 1097 positions
96% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

214

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

225

Mean number of research experiences: 2.1
Mean number of publications: 3

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 4.6%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 5.1%

Fellowships

Available psychiatry fellowships (1 year): addiction psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine

Work Environment

Psychiatry practice types/location: Outpatient office practice, general hospital inpatient service (locked psychiatric ward attending), state psychiatric hospital

Average Salary of a Psychiatrist

Average salary: $173,800 to $248,198

More Information

American Psychiatric AssociationAmerican Board of Psychiatry & NeurologyAmerican Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dermatology

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Dermatologists are specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the skin. They deal with skin cancers, moles, acne, allergic rashes, autoimmune conditions with skin manifestations (e.g. Lupus), and the manifestations of malignancy from other organs in the skin. They perform surgical biopsies and resections of skin growths for medical and/or cosmetic purposes.

Dermatologists are also trained in the pathologic diagnosis of skin specimens, aka dermatopathology. Dermatologists see some patients for purely cosmetic intervention for piercing and for the treatment of skin changes related to aging, scarring, and hair loss. During residency, dermatologists are also trained in Mohs surgery, microscopic surgery aimed at providing complete margin resection of skin cancers.

Length of Dermatology Residency Training

Dermatology residency length: 4 years (includes 1 year of internal medicine)

2011 NRMP Match Data

114 programs
519 applicants for 372 positions
79% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

244

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

253

Mean number of research experiences: 3.7
Mean number of publications: 7.5

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 50.8%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 9.1%

Fellowships

Available dermatology fellowships (1 year): Dermatopathology, Pediatric dermatology, Procedural dermatology

Work Environment

Dermatology practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges, hospital-based practice, Cosmetic centers

Average Salary of a Dermatologist

Average salary: $313,100 to $480,088

More Information

American Academy of Dermatology, American Board of Dermatology, American College of Mohs Surgery, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, American Society of Dermatology

Radiology (diagnostic)

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Radiologists are specialized in the interpretation of imaging modalities used to diagnose and monitor disease. They are trained in interpreting x-rays, ultrasound, nuclear scans (PET), computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Some radiologists pursue interventional radiology in which they specialize in using a combination of imaging and catheter-guided wires to recanalize occluded arteries in the treatment of stroke and vasospasm in subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Given the advancement in computers in recent decades, radiologists are now able to view studies remotely from thousands of miles away from an imaging center and bill for the interpretation of such imaging.

Length of Diagnostic Radiology Residency Training

Radiology residency length: 5 years (1 year of internal medicine, 4 years of diagnostic radiology)

2011 NRMP Match Data

188 programs
1255 applicants for 1124 positions
96% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

240

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

245

Mean number of research experiences: 2.8
Mean number of publications: 3.9

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 26.4%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 4.3%

Fellowships

Available radiology fellowships: Neuroradiology, Nuclear radiology, Pediatric radiology, Vascular and interventional radiology

Work Environment

Diagnostic radiology practice types/location: Outpatient imaging center, hospital-based reading room, hospital interventional suite, remotely/from home

Average Salary for a Radiologist

Average Salary: $377,300 to $478,000

More Information

American Board of Radiology, American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America

Radiation Oncology

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Radiation oncologists are specialized in the treatment of malignant tumors via radiation therapy.

Length of Radiation Oncology Residency Training

Radiation oncology residency length: 5 years

2011 NRMP Match Data

87 programs
211 applicants for 171 positions
85% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

240

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

244

Mean number of research experiences: 4.2
Mean number of publications: 8.3

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 31.2%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 22.1%

Fellowships

Available radiation oncology fellowships: None currently

Work Environment

Radiation oncology practice types/location: Hospital-based practice

Average Salary of a Radiation Oncologist

Average Salary: $242,900 to $518,991

More Information

American College of Radiation OncologyAmerican Society of Clinical OncologyAmerican Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology

Nuclear Medicine

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Nuclear medicine physicians are specialized in using radiopharmacologic tracers to diagnosis disease. Tracers are used to study the body in conjunction with imaging modalities including molecular imaging such as PET/CT scans. Nuclear medicine technology is used to diagnose coronary artery disease and cancer, as well as to assess the efficacy of cancer treatment. Some radioactive tracers are used in the treatment of certain cancers and severe pain.

Length of Nuclear Medicine Residency Training

Nuclear medicine residency length: 3 years

2011 Match Data

55 programs

Fellowships

Available nuclear medicine fellowships: None currently

Work Environment

Nuclear medicine practice types/location: Hospital-based practice

Average Nuclear Medicine Salary

Average salary: No data

More Information

American Board of Nuclear MedicineAmerican College of Nuclear PhysiciansAmerican Nuclear SocietySociety of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging

Medical Genetics

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Medical geneticists specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of genetic diseases using biochemical, cytogenetic, and radiological testing. They can provide counseling to families prior to pregnancy, and they can diagnose genetic disease both in the prenatal and postnatal periods. They also coordinate screening programs for chromosomal abnormalities, inborn errors of metabolism, and neural tube defects.

Length of Medical Genetics Residency Training

Medical genetics residency length: 2 or 4 years (2-year program completed after 2 years of residency in another specialty, 4-year program includes 2 years of pre-genetics education)

2011 NRMP Match Data

50 programs

Fellowships

Available medical genetics fellowships (1 year):  Medical biochemical genetics, Molecular genetic pathology

Work Environment

Medical genetics practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges, hospital-based practice

Average Salary

Average medical genetics salary: No data

More Information

American Board of Genetic CounselingAmerican Board of Medical Genetics and GenomicsAmerican College of Medical GeneticsGenetics Society of America

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Rehab Medicine/Physiatry)

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Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) physicians are also known as physiatrists. They specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of physical disabilities acquired from traumatic injuries (e.g. motor vehicle collisions), sports-related injuries, overuse injuries (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome), neurological disease (e.g. stroke, traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries).

Physiatrists provide medical treatment and rehabilitation for patients so as to optimize their recovery so as to return them to their prior functioning. They work closely with physical and occupational therapists.

Many physiatrists work at rehabilitation hospitals, centers of care devoted to rehabilitation after stroke, myocardial infarction, and other surgeries. They receive specific training in the care of patients in chronic vegetative and minimally conscious states.

Length of PM&R Residency Training

PM&R residency length: 4 years (including 1 year of internal medicine)

2011 NRMP Match Data

77 programs
484 applicants for 373 positions
90% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

214

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

224

Mean number of research experiences: 1.9
Mean number of publications: 2.1

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 3.9%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 1.1%

Fellowships

Available PM&R fellowships (1 year): Neuromuscular medicine, Pain medicine, Pediatric rehabilitation medicine, Spinal cord injury medicine, Sports medicine

Work Environment

PM&R practice types/location: Outpatient office practice, rehab hospital, consult service in a hospital

Average Salary of a Physiatrist

Average salary: depends on the type of practice

More Information

American Academy of Physical Medicine & RehabilitationAmerican Board of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationAmerican Congress of Rehabilitation MedicineAmerican Pain SocietyAssociation of Academic Physiatrists

 

Pathology

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Pathologists specialize in the diagnosis of diseases via gross and microscopic examination of tissue specimens, bodily fluids and cells, and via laboratory testing. They deal with both living and dead tissue. They are responsible for determining the type of malignancy found in a surgical specimen, and they often need to make this diagnosis quickly.

Pathologists are given frozen sections from active operating rooms where surgeons will decide how to proceed with their surgical procedures depending on the information they receive from the pathologist. Along with diagnosing the type of malignancy, pathologists use microscopic specimens to determine the grade of a tumor. This is information which will help the oncologist and surgeon determine the patient’s prognosis and viable treatment options.

Pathologists also deal with dead tissue in the post-mortem examination of a body when an autopsy is requested. The pathologist will examine gross and microscopic tissue from the body to determine the cause of death. Some pathologists spend their careers as medical examiners and work closely with law enforcement.

Length of Pathology Residency Training

Pathology residency length: 3-4 years (anatomic pathology requires 3 years, clinical pathology requires 3 years, and a combined anatomic-clinical pathology residency requires 4 years of training)

2011 NRMP Match Data

146 programs
658 applicants for 518 positions
96% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

226

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

233

Mean number of research experiences: 2.5
Mean number of publications: 4.6

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 10.9%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 17.2%

Fellowships

Available pathology fellowships (1 year except neuropathology which requires 2 years of additional training): blood banking/transfusion medicine, chemical pathology, cytopathology, dermatopathology, forensic pathology, hematology, medical microbiology, molecular genetic pathology, neuropathology, pediatric pathology

Work Environment

Pathology practice types/location: Hospital-based practice, medical examiner at a morgue

Average Salary for a Pathologist

Average salary: $239,000 to $331,842

More Information

American Board of PathologyAmerican Society for Investigative PathologyAmerican Society for Clinical PathologyCollege of American Pathologists

General Surgery

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General surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of diseases of the abdomen and GI tract, endocrine system, breast, blood vessels, and skin. They deal with hernias, benign and malignant tumors of the breast, gallbladder disease, appendicitis, small and large bowel obstructions, inflammatory conditions of the bowel, pancreatitis, diseased blood vessels, and malignancies of the GI tract.

General surgeons see a combination of healthy patients, critically ill, and trauma patients in a variety of settings including the emergency department, outpatient day surgery OR, inpatient wards and intensive care units, and outpatient office practice. They see patients of all ages.

Length of General Surgery Residency Training

General surgery residency length: 5 years

2011 NRMP Match Data

250 programs
1756 applicants for 1108 positions
80% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

227

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

238

Mean number of research experiences: 2.6
Mean number of publications: 3.3

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 13.1%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 2.2%

Fellowships

Available general surgery fellowships (1-2 years): Hand surgery, Surgical critical care, Vascular surgery, Pediatric surgery

Work Environment

General surgery practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges,  hospital-based practice, same-day surgical centers

Average Salary for a General Surgeon

Average salary: $284,642 to $383,333

More Information

American Board of Surgery, American College of Surgeons, American Society of General Surgeons

Thoracic Surgery

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Thoracic surgeons are specialized in the surgical management of diseases of the thorax. This includes the heart and its vessels and valves, pericardium, lungs, pleura, esophagus, chest wall, mediastinum, and diaphragm.

Thoracic surgeons treat congenital and acquired diseases and provide care to critically ill patients in intensive care units. Cardiothoracic surgeons perform coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) and cardiac valve replacements, as well as other procedures.

Length of Thoracic Surgery Residency Training

Thoracic surgery residency length: 6-8 years

2011 Match Data

17 programs

Fellowships

Available thoracic surgery fellowships: Congenital cardiac surgery

Work Environment

Thoracic Surgery practice types/location: Hospital-based practice, Inpatient service (thoracic ward or ICU attending)

Average Salary for a Thoracic Surgeon

Average Salary: depends on the type of practice

More Information

American Association for Thoracic SurgeryAmerican Board of Thoracic SurgeryAmerican College of Chest PhysiciansSociety of Thoracic Surgeons

 

Orthopedic Surgery

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Orthopedic surgeons are specialized in the medical and surgical treatment of injuries, deformities, and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. This includes working with the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the spine, hands, feet, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles.

Orthopedic surgeons treat fractures, ligament tears, congenital deformities, and benign and malignant tumors of the bone. They also perform hip and knee replacements. Orthopedic surgeons treat for sports-related injuries as well as traumatic injuries related to motor vehicle collisions and other accidents. They see patients of all ages.

Length of Orthopedic Surgery Residency Training

Length of residency training: 5 years (1 year of general surgery and 4 years of orthopedic surgery)

2011 NRMP Match Data

153 programs
974 applicants for 670 positions
77% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

240

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

245

Mean number of research experiences: 2.9
Mean number of publications: 4.5

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 27.1%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 2.4%

Fellowships

Available orthopedic surgery fellowships (1 year): Joint replacements, Spine surgery, Pediatric orthopedic surgery, Trauma surgery, Hand surgery, Foot/ankle surgery, Sports medicine

Work Environment

Orthopedic surgery practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges, hospital-based practice

Average Salary for Orthopedic Surgeons

Average salary: $397,879 to $600,000

More Information

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Orthopaedic Association, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

 

Otolaryngology (ENT)

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Otolaryngologists specialize in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the ear, nose, throat, pharynx, and larynx. They deal with vocal problems; hearing problems; vestibular problems; allergic conditions; congenital and acquired deformities; injuries of the ears, nose, sinuses, pharynx, and face and jaw; and malignancies of these structures.

Length of ENT Residency Training

ENT residency length: 5 years (1 year of general surgery, emergency, critical care, and anesthesia training, 4 years of otolaryngology)

2011 NRMP Match Data

105  programs
364 applicants for 283 positions
86% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

243

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

250

Mean number of research experiences: 3.5
Mean number of publications: 5.1

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 41.6%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 3.7%

Fellowships

Available ENT fellowships: Neurotology, Pediatric otolaryngology, Head and Neck reconstructive surgery

Work Environment

ENT practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges

Average Salary for an Otolaryngologist

Average salary: depends on the type of practice
Academics: $245,000 for assistant professors, $333,000 for associate and full professors

More Information

American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery, American Board of Otolaryngology, Association for Research in Otolaryngology

 

Ophthalmology

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Ophthalmologists are specialized in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the eye. They are trained to treat primary ocular disorders as well as secondary manifestations of systemic disease in the eye.

Ophthalmologists also provide corrective vision lenses in the form of glasses and contact lenses. Some ophthalmologists are specially trained in laser surgery to correct myopia. Ophthalmologists see patients of all ages.

Length of Ophthalmology Residency Training

Ophthalmology residency length: 4 years

2011 Match Data

117 programs

>85% match rate for US seniors in 2011

Average USMLE Step 1 score for successful applicants: 230-240

No. of programs the average applicant applies to: 30-40 –> 7-8 interviews

Fellowships

Available ophthalmology fellowships: Oculoplastics, Retina, Neuro-ophthalmology, Cornea, Pediatric Ophthalmology, Glaucoma, Ocular Pathology

Work Environment

Ophthalmology practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges, hospital-based practice, Laser eye center

Average Salary for an Ophthalmologist

Average Salary: depends on the type of practice

More Information

American Academy of OphthalmologyAmerican Board of Ophthalmology

 

Plastic Surgery

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Plastic surgeons are specialized in the reconstruction and repair of physical deformities of the face and head, breasts, trunk, and extremities. Their surgical procedures have two purposes: the treatment of disease and injury, and cosmetic enhancement. Plastic surgeons perform surgical cosmetic reconstruction, enhancement, and reduction of facial features, breasts, and features of the trunk.

Length of Plastic Surgery Residency Training

Plastic surgery residency length: 5-7 years (involving a combination of general and plastic surgery)

2011 NRMP Match Data

45 programs
197 applicants for 108 positions
44% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

249

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

249

Mean number of research experiences: 3.8
Mean number of publications: 8.1

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 45.9%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 6.8%

Fellowships

Available plastic surgery fellowships (1 year): Hand surgery, Head and Neck surgery, Breast surgery

Work Environment

Plastic surgery practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation and surgical privileges, hospital-based practice, Cosmetic centers

Average Salary of a Plastic Surgeon

Average salary: $275,000 to $499,656

More Information

American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Foundation for Reconstructive Plastic Surgery

Neurosurgery

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Neurosurgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the central and peripheral nervous systems which require surgical intervention. They perform open surgical procedures as well as stereotactic radiosurgery to treat diseases of the skull, meninges, brain, spinal cord, vertebral column, and their associated vascular supply.

Neurosurgeons place deep brain stimulators for treatment of Parkinson’s disease and certain psychiatric conditions; they also place ventriculoperitoneal shunts for the treatment of hydrocephalus. They also treat injuries and diseases of the peripheral nervous system which require surgery, including compressive neuropathies (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome).

Neurosurgeons share the care of spinal injuries with orthopedic surgeons, and they share the care of stenosed (narrowed) extracranial arteries with vascular surgeons. Neurosurgeons often provide care for patients in neurological intensive care units and must be proficient in performing emergent procedures for acutely declining patients, including external ventricular drains at the bedside and hemicraniectomies in the OR.

Length of Neurosurgery Residency Training

Neurosurgery residency length: 5-7 years (includes 1 year of general surgery and neurosurgical training in cerebrovascular disease, pediatric neurosurgery, spine surgery, trauma, and tumors).

2011 NRMP Match Data

101 programs
268 applicants for 195 positions
86% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

239

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

241

Mean number of research experiences: 3.4
Mean number of publications: 7.4

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 25.3%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 10.3%

Fellowships

Available neurosurgery fellowships: Endovascular surgical neuroradiology, Pediatric Neurosurgery

Work Environment

Neurosurgery practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges, hospital-based practice

Average Salary of a Neurosurgeon

Average salary: $287,000–$637,000

More Information

American Association of Neurological SurgeonsAmerican Board of Neurological SurgeryCongress of Neurological SurgeonsSociety of Neurological Surgeons

 

Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB\GYN)

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Obstetrician/gynecologists specialize in women’s health. They provide care for pregnant women from the time of conception through the labor and delivery process and the postpartum period. OB/GYNs provide prenatal care and fetal monitoring, and they sometimes work in conjunction with midwives. They are also experts in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the female reproductive tract.

OB/GYNs treat women from the ages of 18 through the very elderly, though some young women are seen prior to age 18. Current guidelines recommend that a woman is seen by a gynecologist by the age of 21 or within 3 years of the start of sexual intercourse.

Some OB/GYNs are specially trained in high-risk pregnancies and treat diseases of pregnancy (preeclampsia and eclampsia, gestational diabetes, placenta previa, etc.) as well as diseases of the fetus (intrauterine growth retardation, etc.). OB/GYNs deal with diseases of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, endometrium, cervix, vagina, and external genitalia. This includes ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis,  sexually transmitted diseases, and malignancies of the ovary, endometrium, cervix, and vagina.

OB/GYNs provide assistance to mothers in the labor and delivery of their babies. They perform obstetrical surgical procedures, including cesarean sections, cerclage, and removal of ectopic pregnancies. They perform gynecological procedures including open and laparoscopic hysterectomies and oophorectomies, removal of endometrial tissue, endometrial and cervical biopsies and LEEP procedures, removal of malignant tissue for diagnosis and treatment.

Length of OB/GYN Residency Training

OB/GYN residency length: 4 years

2011 NRMP Match Data

242 programs
1509 applicants for 1205 positions
94% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

220

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

233

Mean number of research experiences: 2.2
Mean number of publications: 2.4

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 10.8%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 1.3%

Fellowships

Available OB/GYN fellowships (1-3 years): Maternal-fetal medicine, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and Gynecologic Oncology

Work Environment

OB/GYN practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges, hospital-based practice

Average Salary for an OB/GYN

Average salary: $251,500 to $326,924

More Information

American Board of Obstetrics & GynecologyAmerican Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

Urology

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Urologists are specialized in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of diseases of the urinary tract and the male reproductive tract. They deal with incontinence, calculi (stones) of the urinary tract, congenital anomalies of the urinary tract, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual dysfunction in men, benign prostatic hyperplasia, and malignancies of the urinary tract and male reproductive system.

Length of Urology Residency Training

Urology residency length: 6 years

2011 Match Data

122 programs

Fellowships

Available Fellowships: Pediatric urology, Urologic oncology

Work Environment

Urology practice types/location: Outpatient office practice with hospital affiliation/surgical privileges

Average Salary for a Urologist

Average salary: No data

More  information

American Urological Society

 

Anesthesiology

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Anesthesiologists are specialized in the monitoring and stabilization of patients undergoing surgery as well as the relief of pain resulting from that procedure. They try to optimize a patient’s condition before, during, and after surgery.

Anesthesiologists are responsible for monitoring patients after surgical procedures in the Post-anesthesia care unit (PACU). They are also often consulted for assistance in airway management and stabilization, as well as in a Code Blue when a patient’s respiratory status declines and intubation is necessary.

Anesthesiologists are trained in critical care and rotate through intensive care units, as well. Some choose to devote their careers to attending in the ICU. They are also trained in pain medicine and are consulted for nerve blocks and other procedures to relieve pain.

Length of Anesthesiology Residency Training

Anesthesiology residency length: 4 years (including 1 year of internal medicine or general surgery)

2011 NRMP Match Data

131 programs
1612 applicants for 1404 positions
96% match rate among US seniors in 2011

Average Step 1 score for matched US seniors

226

Average Step 2 score for matched US seniors

235

Mean number of research experiences: 2.2
Mean number of publications: 2.5

Percentage of matched US seniors in AOA: 8.9%
Percentage of matched US seniors with PhD: 3.5%

Fellowships

Available anesthesiology fellowships (1 year): Critical Care, Pain Medicine

Work Environment

Anesthesiology practice types/location: Operating room and PACU in hospital, Intensive Care Unit, consult service in hospital

Average Salary for an Anesthesiologist

Average salary: $331,000 to $423,507

More Information

American Board of AnesthesiologyAmerican Society of Anesthesiologists

 

Preventive Medicine

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Preventive medicine physicians specialize in protecting the health of the individual and the larger community through promoting preventive medicine. Their goal is to prevent injury, disease, disability, and death. Preventive medicine physicians subspecialize in general preventive medicine, public health, occupational medicine, and aerospace medicine.

Length of Preventive Medicine Residency Training

Preventive medicine residency length: 3 years

Fellowships

Available preventive medicine fellowships (1-2 years): Medical toxicology, Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine

Work Environment

Preventive medicine practice type/location: Hospital, corporations,  environmental associations (OSHA), Military

Average Salary for a Preventive Medicine Physician

Average salary: depends on the type of practice

More Information

Aerospace Medical AssociationAmerican Board of Preventive MedicineAmerican College of Occupational and Environmental MedicineAmerican College of Preventive Medicine, American Public Health Association

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