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MEDICAL CAREERS: PHYSICIAN SPECIALTIES 


Earning your Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree is a huge accomplishment, but it is not the end of the journey. New MDs must decide what kind of physician they want to be, and how much time they want to dedicate to post-graduate training.

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) lists more than 135 medical specialties and subspecialties available for graduating physicians to pursue, and each one requires a residency of between three and eight years. Some specialties also require further years of fellowship study. To help students decide which area may fit them best, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has developed in-depth articles on the major medical specialties. Each specialty is unique, and deciding on one may be the second biggest career decision—after deciding to become a physician—that you will ever make.

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Anesthesiology

Anesthesiology includes anesthesia, intensive care medicine, critical emergency medicine, and pain medicine. 

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Cardiology

A cardiologist is an internal medicine physician—an internist—who specializes in cardiology. 

Dermatology

Dermatology is medicine of the skin

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ENT

From sinusitis to ear infections, many of the most common complaints that bring patients to the doctor are treated by medical doctors called ear, nose, and throat physicians, or ENTs.

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Family Medicine

Family medicine physicians are skilled at general internal medicine as well as pediatric, adolescent, and geriatric medicines

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Forensic Pathology

You know you’re interested in a career in medicine, but you also enjoy puzzles and problem solving. If this describes you, you might think about pursuing a career as a forensic pathologist.

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GENERAL SURGERY

General surgery includes a broad spectrum of surgical conditions affecting almost any area of the body. 

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HOSPITALIST

Hospitalists specialize on a site of care, rather than an organ, a disease, or a patient’s age.

Doctor working on patient
INTERNAL MEDICINE

Internal medicine physicians specialize in internal systems, but they also treat the whole body.

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NEUROLOGY

A neurologist specializes in disorders of the autonomic nervous system, brain, muscles, peripheral nerves, and spinal cord.

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OB-GYN

If you are interested in women’s health and reproductive care, then you may consider a career as an OB/GYN, meaning a doctor specially trained in obstetrics and gynecology.

Students in the classroom
OPHTHALMOLOGY

Ophthalmologists are “eye MD’s” as well as ophthalmologic surgeons who treat all diseases and disorders of the eyes.

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PATHOLOGY

A pathologist uses a variety of means—including microscopic examination and laboratory tests—to diagnose and monitor diseases.

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PEDIATRICS

Because pediatrics deals with all medical needs of children, it covers a broad spectrum of health services. 

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Psychiatry

If you are interested in both mental health and becoming a physician, psychiatry might be the career for you.

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Radiology

A radiologist is a doctor who interprets or “reads” medical images to diagnose and treat diseases or injuries.