The Scoop on Physicians and Surgeons, All Other Specialties

Doctors have a wide variety of specialties to choose from, but sometimes people aren't really thrilled with the "normal" specialties.

After graduating from Medical School, Doctors have many choices for a specialty and those specialties range in difficulty and work opportunities. Since 38.5% of Doctors fall into "other" specialties there are lots of chances to be gainfully employed and to do the work you're passionate about.

What in the World Do All These Specialists Do?

Lots of specialists, lots of jobs. Allergists diagnose and treat pulmonary and skin allergies (through medication and therapy). Cardiologists specialize in treating patients who have Heart Disease (and other conditions like congenital heart failure), and Dermatologists treat skin disorders like Psoriasis or Chronic Acne. Emergency Doctors specialize in working Emergency Rooms to provide the fastest care possible when a patient needs help immediately, but Gastroenterologists diagnose and treat disorders involving the stomach and intestines.

Still other Doctors like Oncologists diagnose and treat cancer while Radiologists read and interpret x-ray and other pictures taken of a patient's body or organs.

Some specialties, like Emergency Care or Cardiology, lend themselves well to work in hospitals. Others, like Gastroenterology, Urology, Oncology, and Dermatology, tend to lend themselves to private practice. If owning your own business is a goal then you may want to stick the fields that better suit themselves to getting and keeping a large client base. If you want to work in a hospital you could do any of these specialties and work in the hospital as "The Oncologist" or "The Gastroenterologist". As you can see, there are many options.

What Kind of Training do I need (A.K.A. - Will I have to go to School?)

Training for any specialty follows the same path as any other Doctor. First you need to complete your Bachelor's Degree in some kind of science (people usually do Biology or Chemistry) before you can get accepted to Medical School. There are 146 Medical Schools in the U.S. and competition to get accepted is very high. Also, if you want to get into a unique specialty you may want to be careful about which Medical School you choose because you will want to be able to get an internship after you get out Medical School (and not everyone likes moving around a lot.)

After you finish the 4-year Med School program then you can get licensed by the State Medical Board (you've got to take a written test and a "skills" test) and then you can go get that internship. After spending 3-7 years interning (for pay) you will be ready to work in your specialized field (and you may need to get another license in your specialty.)

How Do I get One of These Jobs Anyways?

After completing your internship and getting your license you will be ready to get a job working in your specialty. Some Doctors work for more established Doctors to save money to open their own practices; others buy a practice from a retiring Doctor, and still other go to work in Hospitals of Health clinics.

Advancement as a specialist might involve becoming the "Director of Gastroenterology" or "Director of Cardiac Services" which entail more responsibility and the management of other Doctors.

Still other Doctors may want to do research in their specialty or teach at a Medical School. Typically these options better suit those Doctors with older children or Doctors who are nearing retirement. The bottom line is: You don't have to spend your whole career cramped in an office or working at a hospital - you have options.

Advancement in the field is typically done through research and teaching. These sorts of endeavors suit well those who are retired or nearing retirement as your day-to-day work is quite time-consuming.

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Physicians and Surgeons, All Other Overview

Physicians and Surgeons, All Other Salary:$161,468
Job Prospects:A-
Education after high school:11 years
# Employed in US:262,850
% Who work Part Time:8%
Physical Difficulty:+ +
Intellectual Difficulty:+ + +
Emotional Difficulty:+ + +

The Pros of being a Specialist

  • You get the chance to work with lots of different Doctors and patients
  • Some specialties allow for opening your own business
  • Some specialties make it easier to work at a hospital or health clinic
  • There are management opportunities, even for specialists

The Cons of being a Specialist

  • Schooling takes 8 years after High School
  • Add to that a 3-7 year internship
  • It may be hard to find a place to do your internship
  • It may be hard to get into your specialty if it is very rare
  • Many specialties involve working with people who are in pain or who have chronic diseases and this can be emotionally stressful