5 HARDEST Doctor Specialties | Most Competitive Residency Programs

5 HARDEST Doctor Specialties | Most Competitive Residency Programs


Have you ever been confused when people talk
about certain medical specialties being competitive? Me too. In this video, we’ll go over the official
statistics and explore which are the most competitive and desired specialties. What’s going on guys, Dr. Jubbal, MedSchoolInsiders.com. For those of you who don’t know, I graduated
medical school in 2017 and matched into plastic surgery. To learn more about my story, visit my vlog
channel – link in the description below. There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation
regarding which medical specialties are competitive. Everyone wants to say their specialty is competitive
– and they’re not wrong. Getting into any residency is a challenging
ordeal. That being said, some specialties are more
competitive and harder to get into than others. I understand the pride involved, but whether
or not your specialty is considered competitive does not make you a good or bad doctor. It simply says which specialties are hardest to get into. And knowing which specialties are hardest
to get into can be very useful information for pre-meds and medical students. Again, all specialties are competitive, and
if your specialty is ranked lower than you would like, that’s not a judgement or an attack
on you in any way. This is simply the data. Period. You can find links to the data in the description. First, let’s cover the methodologies that I used. I gathered all data from the official source
– the NRMP, or the National Resident Matching Program, over the last few years. I manually inputted all data into a spreadsheet
that I’ve linked to in the description for you to view. There’s always someone complaining about
imperfect methodologies – look, every analysis has its limitations. I urge you to view the spreadsheet and play
with the data to see for yourself. Before we dive in, it’s important to note
that ophthalmology and urology are not included in the regular match, and therefore their
data was not included in this analysis. That being said, if you look up their average
Step scores and match rates, it’s clear neither would have been in the top 5 anyway. I used data for U.S. applicants only, as incorporating
international medical graduates, or IMGs, would muddy the analysis. I looked beyond just the match rate, as that
would be a terribly inaccurate marker of competitiveness. And now you’re probably confused. If it has a low match rate, then it must be
more competitive, right? Well, not exactly. Specialties are self-selecting to a certain degree. I recently saw a video by someone who went
only off of match rates, and in doing so, they suggested that general surgery and psychiatry
were the third most competitive specialties. Anyone who is in medical school or residency
will tell you that’s certainly not the case. For example, in plastic surgery, applicants
use general surgery as their backup in case they don’t get into plastics. Look at it this way – if you’re not a competitive
applicant, you’re not going to apply to something like plastic surgery or neurosurgery or dermatology. But lots of people want to do surgery, since surgery
is freakin awesome, and general surgery is the most commonly applied to. General surgery is an excellent field, it’s tremendously broad, extremely diverse, leaves options open to subspecialize after, and it’s also the least competitive of the
surgical specialties. Therefore it has a very high number of applicants and a
low match rate. This is not a judgement against general surgery in any way. This is just an explanation for the low
match rate in general surgery. In order to overcome the shortcomings of looking
at match rate alone, I examined six categories of data: average match rate, Step 1 score,
Step 2CK score, number of publications, percentage of matriculants that were AOA, and percentage
of applicants from a top 40 NIH funded medical school. AOA, or the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical
Society, is an honor society in medicine – what you need to know for the purposes of this
analysis is that being AOA is a good indicator of being a high performing student. Obviously it’s not perfect, as some schools
don’t have it. For example, mine didn’t, and therefore
I wasn’t AOA, despite being at the top of my class. Top 40 NIH funded medical schools are usually
more competitive, meaning students that got into these schools were, on average, stronger
students. Emphasis on average. After compiling the data, I ranked each specialty
in each of the six categories. This was a point-based ranking system. Each category was weighed equally and points
were awarded directly in relation to the ranking. Meaning, there are 22 specialties, and the
lowest ranking in that category would receive 1 point and the top ranking in that category
would receive 22 points. I summed up the points across each category
and looked at the total points to determine which specialties were most competitive. Now’s your chanc e to hedge your bets. Dermatology came in first, trailed closely
by plastic surgery in second. Neurosurgery was third, followed by orthopedic
surgery fourth and then ENT in fifth. And honestly, I’m not surprised by these results – and that’s a good sign. If you’re a medical student or a resident,
you probably aren’t surprised either. But many people have heard of this ROAD to success – ROAD stands for Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology. If you’re surprised that the other three
ROAD specialties aren’t included in the top 5, don’t be. Radiology, Ophtho, and Anesthesia are not nearly
as competitive as the top 5. ROAD specialties indicate those that have
a great lifestyle – NOT necessarily those which are the most competitive. An interesting pattern I noticed was that
the top 5 were all very well paying specialties. Neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery are almost
always the top 2 best paid specialties, regardless of the survey. Plastic surgery is also up there, but it’s
important to note that cosmetic practices make much more than reconstructive practices. Dermatologists don’t make as much as the
other top 4 specialties, all of which are surgical, and that makes sense – surgeons
put in more work and do more challenging procedures, but dermatologists have an excellent lifestyle that’s
hard to beat. So the conclusion of all this? It’s quite clear that the most competitive
specialties are highly correlated with either excellent pay or excellent lifestyle. Correlation is not causation, but I think
it’s safe to say that there’s more than simple correlation going on here. Exploring this finding further is a topic for another
video. Was this analysis perfect? Absolutely not – but then again, every analysis has
limitations. That being said, this is the most comprehensive
one I’ve seen. So what do you think of the results? Are you surprised, or is this what you were
expecting? Leave a comment down below – I’d love
to hear your thoughts. If you’re aiming for a highly competitive
specialty, check out the all-new multimedia courses on MedSchoolInsiders.com. Each course was crafted by our team of top
doctors. The Pre-Med Roadmap will help you get accepted
to a Top 40 NIH medical school, and the interview courses for medical school or residency are
hands down the most comprehensive and high-yield guides on the interviews that you’ll find
anywhere. Even better, both are constantly being updated
and improved with new exclusive videos, written content, and private group mentorship access. They’re on sale right now for a limited
time. Link in the description. Thank you all so much for watching. If you learned something, give this video
a thumbs up. Make sure you’re subscribed and hit the
notification bell so you don’t miss our new videos. And I’ll see you in that next one.


100 thoughts on “5 HARDEST Doctor Specialties | Most Competitive Residency Programs

  1. here in my country top specialties depend solely on the lifestyle because all of them almost payed the same (except the cosmetic they usually paid better in private) so doctors usually go choose dermatology, p.s, opthalmology, radiology, ent, orthology,
    the least desired ones are obstetric, general surgery, medicine, pediatric

  2. Most people in medicine or at least close to this stage in their life could have pretty much guessed the top 5. All the people stunned at the results are high school students who meandered their way here after taking freshman biology.

    Good video though!

  3. I was surprised dermatology was number 1. I want to become a dermatologist, i hope it's not that competitive in my area

  4. So I'm not even in medical school, but I've been doing a bunch of research on specialties because I plan on attending medical school in the near future.
    From all the reading I've done, this is exactly the 5 specialties I thought would be the most competitive.

  5. i hope all the gunners are going for the top 5 and not ophtho lol and i thought O in ROAD. was for also otolaryngology/ orthopeds too!

  6. I'm about to start college and my dream specialty is cardiac/cardiothoracic surgery and I'm surprised that it's not in the top 5 most competitive.

  7. dermatology. . .wtf? i'd have htought that was SUPER low. the others make sense, and i thought anesthesiologist or cardiologist would have replaced dermatology. still wtfing over this #1 spot.

  8. I already made my mind to become a dermatologist so thanks for this video this is going to motivate me to work harder

  9. I think you did a good job with this list although I would have put Neurosurgery before Plastics since there are far fewer institutions that accept more than one neurosurgery resident a year. Still though, good list. And people always forget how hard Dermatology is to get into. Still, a nice life for those that can get it.

  10. Here is the truth, I'm getting ready to graduate from medical school soon and those who get into these specialties are one of two kinds of people: 1) Those who absolutely love medicine and it's all they do and 2) Those who have crazy discipline beyond what is capable of most people. If you love medicine and the specialty you're aiming for, then it will just come natural to you (there are exceptions like test taking skills, english as a first language, and other stuff that can prevent you from getting into these fields). For the 99% of others who are pursuing medicine for the money and status (do not be fooled, most people are doing it for this reason, not saying they don't LIKE medicine, but most people do not LOVE medicine) you will need discipline. One of my classmates is a top performer, will admit he does not LOVE medicine, but that he works to get the grades and scores he does. This man eats the same meal, EVERY-SINGLE-DAY… He works out and studies like a beast too… He has sacrificed relationships, friends and even family to try and get into ortho and believe me has scores and stats to get into any program in the nation. On the other hand, there is a guy in my class that absolutely loves medicine and all he does is think about it. He isn't even American, he is from Egypt, but came here, learned english, and is incredibly passionate about it. While we watch sports, play video games, youtube and all our other activities for fun, THIS GUY FREAKING READS ROBIN'S PATHOLOGY AND VARIOUS OTHER BOOKS I NEVER EVEN TOUCHED DURING MEDICAL SCHOOL. His passion is inspiring but there isn't a single thing in this life I'm that passionate about, and if you're like me, you'll find yourself pretty bummed out when around these kinds of people in medical school. I'm the third type of person, I like medicine (DO NOT LOVE IT), and I'm not that disciplined to be quite honest (more than the average person obviously to get into and finish medical school without delays). I'm a very type B person and I'm in a sea of type A people. One thing this gives me an advantage in is interacting with people and being a standout kind of guy in my program (voted class president and other stuff). On wards, I kill it. I have nothing but glowing recommendations and write ups from my time on the wards. I write this to really say that it's out there to get it. If you want to be a plastic surgeon, ortho surg, derm, neuro, you can get it! But don't kill yourself for something you are not that passionate about, it's not worth the money I promise you…

  11. I know this mail has been some time ago, but rings generally true even internationally. Ophthalmology eg caused many UK junior docs to join the army, as the access to speciality training was easier. Having done most specialities and have a Royal British diploma in both Surgery and EM (ER), and eg. having been a Neurosurgical Registrar over two continents etc. I have some legitimacy in commenting. The thing is, what you want to do in your 20s, is not always what you want to do in your 30s, 40s and so on. Most of medics are pluripotential, so always leave a sensible reserve option if option one do not work out. Medicine is a wonderfully diverse direction. You never need to treat a patient, talk to one, or you can see them all the time, see them 3D, work with their most secretive organs, see them only skin deep, or only talk…You can decide to work long hours or less, earnings being variable, but you should never live under the bread line. Etc. etc.

  12. I've always wanted to become a neurosurgeon since I was in 4th grade. I read Ben Carson's book and my interest has only grown over the past years. I'm 14 years now and I'm studying hard to get into a great school if God has it an ivy league as an international student. I really have keen interest on been a neurosurgeon even as a girl. Not because of the money but because I genuinely love it. I'd have to read hard, take care of my family balance my life and hold a strong relationship with God. I believe I can do it and will continue to have big dreams.

  13. My specialty of choice is Internal Medicine…
    I wouldn’t change it in the world for any amount of pay or more competitive speciality… for sure…

  14. I really don't care if the specialty I'm going for isn't competitive, I'm doing what I'm passionate about and i don't care about money either.

  15. match rates are a joke in America compared to Australia.The least competitive (family medicine) still rejects >40% of all candidates. Neurosurgery may have 3-5 doctors accepted to train in the entire country. Paediatric surgery had 0 accepted to train for 2019, and 0 again in 2020. Training here is just far and away more competitive, not even close to the same ball park.

  16. ENT or Neurosurgery would intrigue me the most. Plastic Surgery would even if it is reconstructive because of how challenging reconstructive surgery is. I have a cleft lip and palate and that meant the world to me to have a surgeon who could correct that issue, along with my deviated septum.

  17. Nice context, except for the fact that literally LITERALLY 50% of this video is reiterated redundant statements trying not to ruffle people for i dont know what reason.

  18. How about international medical students, say students studying medicine in Nigeria, what are the chances of getting a residency in the U.S.A?

  19. In France the 5 most competitive are : 1) Infectious disease 2) Ophtalmology 3) Nephrology 4) Plastic Surgery 5) Cardiovascular medicine

  20. I love being in high school wanting to be a dermatologist so I'm going to have to work a lot harder than I thought and I already knew I had to work hard

  21. Thanks for watching! Did you enjoy the video? Then you're going to love my weekly newsletter. Check it out here: https://medschoolinsiders.com/newsletter

  22. See I appeared for my residency in Neurosurgery for 5 times. And I am least ashamed of it. Good things come late. Great things comes very late and forms a legacy. 😉

  23. I really want to be a gastroenterologist. I know that you wanted to be a pediatric gastroenterologist before, but switched to plastic surgery. Do you have any advice or some tips?

  24. According to the CDC, the top two leading causes of death in the United States, by far, are heart disease and cancer. Nothing else comes close. Yet the top of the class in medical schools are not trying to get into these essential life-saving careers. How about opting for a career as a… gasp, researcher so you can develop medicines and cures? Perhaps medical schools, hospitals and government need to provide incentives to top medical students to choose these paths. Perhaps loan forgiveness, for example.

  25. What I need to convey for his who making these video i.e he is a surgeon under plastic surgery therefore in the place of plastic surgery there is cardiac vascular surgeon…. it come in top 5 so the conclusions made here is this dr. Or surgeon or physician is selfish by nature as he putted his career under top 5 .
    1.neuro surgeon
    2.cardiac surgeon
    3.radiology
    4.dermatology
    5.endocrinocology

  26. Too often younger medical ( as opposed to the undergraduate ) students are told that they will be great earners as indicated in this video of the top five specialties, but I am afraid that is not realistic. It is not a realistic picture because physicians are essentially paid by the hour. They are wage earners or ordinary income earners, according to the term used by the IRS. Therefore, every dollar earned is taxable, which means that the four taxes combined ( federal, state, medicare and social security ) add up to 50 cents or more per dollar earned. Compare that to the capital gains earners ( shareholders, business owners, company owners, investors, etc ), who are not paid by the hour and so their income is not ordinary. The highest federal rate for a capital gains earner is around 20%, often ending up paying a lot less after credits ( write offs ) claimed are taken into account. It is not unusual for a capital gains earner in the US to pay zero to 10% or less in taxes. The highest earning physicians do not have those options and so they have to pay up, to the tune of 50% or more in taxes of what they earn. This applies to the rest of the high paying employee professions as well. That is why none of those high paying professionals have ever made it to the Forbes 400 of the wealthiest Americans. Wealth is not created by wages – six-figure wages notwithstanding. Instead, it is created by capital gains and nothing else. So when considering a specialty, it is wise to let the young medical student know what their tax obligations will be in the end, rather than simply telling them that they will be earning in the top six figures, which is not realistic.

  27. I just want to ask if its still possible for me to enter med school if I have a degree in education and a science teacher for 15 years then I had my master's degree in science education but I am now 36 years old.

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