Font Size

Doctors: Specialties and Training (cont.)

Residency Training

Near the end of medical school, each medical student selects a specialty for residency training. Fully trained physicians must now supervise them for a period of three to five years. The majority of the training occurs in teaching hospitals and hospital-affiliated clinics. Specialty training is a long and difficult process.

There are currently 24 medical specialties recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Medical specialties include the following:

  • Allergy & immunology
  • Anesthesiology
  • Colon and rectal surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency medicine
  • Family practice
  • Internal medicine
  • Medical genetics
  • Neurological surgery
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Obstetrics & gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Orthopaedic surgery
  • Otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat or ENT)
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation
  • Plastic surgery
  • Preventive medicine
  • Psychiatry & neurology
  • Radiology
  • General surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Urology

At the completion of residency training, physicians are considered to be specialists and are board eligible. Most graduates elect to take these difficult, additional written and oral board exams, that certify their knowledge base and skills. Physicians who pass these exams are allowed to state that they are a board-certified practitioner in their chosen specialty.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/9/2015

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Physician Suicide »

On average, the United States loses the equivalent of at least one entire medical school class each year to suicide (reliable estimates are as many as 400 physicians).

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary