The journey to a career in medicine can be long and full of challenges, but there are several decisions you make along the way that can make a difference in the outcome. For example, your medical residency is designed to bridge the gap between your experiences as a student and your transformation into a doctor. Choosing a residency is, in effect, choosing your specialty. It determines the course of your training and the path of your career.
There are many different residencies available to you as a medical student. However, the process of selecting a program poses several new obstacles and difficult questions, such as “when should I start thinking about my residency?” and “which residency should I choose?”. This article aims to not only help you make that choice but to make the process of making that choice easier, by demystifying the process of selecting a residency and breaking it down into a series of simple decisions.
When should I start thinking about my residency?
You’ll begin applying for your residency either late in your third year or early in your fourth year of medical school. However, the first and second years of your medical education are a great time to begin exploring your likes, dislikes, interests and career goals in order to facilitate the process of choosing a residency specialty later on. Throughout your studies, keep an open mind to the different possibilities available to you and explore them as thoroughly as you can; even if you came to medical school with a predetermined idea of the area in which you hope to specialize, a closer examination of all your options may reveal something further to you about your interests, or recontextualize the discipline to you entirely.
In addition to specialty, there are several other factors to consider when selecting a residency, such as length, location, pay rates, work-life balance and patient types. It is never too early to begin introspecting about your preferences and why they matter to you.
What residency program should I choose?
Among the most common residency specialties available to you are the following:
|Specialty||Residency Length||Median Pay||Patient Type||Work-Life Balance||Happiness Factor|
|Internal Medicine||3 years||$205,441||Adolescent, adult and elderly patients||Medium||High risk for emotional exhaustion; among lowest happiness rates|
|Family Medicine||3 years||$197,655||Patients of all ages||High||High risk for emotional exhaustion; among lowest happiness rates|
|Surgery (general)||5 years (with an additional 1-2 years possible)||$340,000||Broad patient base; can select patient subspecialty||Low|
|Pediatrics||3 years||$202,832||Infants and children||Medium||One of happiest specialties|
|Psychiatry||4 years||$208,462||Neurodivergent patients and mental illness sufferers||High|
Once you have finished your medical residency and become board eligible, then Moonlighting Solutions can help you find a job in your desired specialty and location. If you would like access to our exclusive job board, contact our recruiters or fill out the form below.