“Why don’t you pick psychiatry? You can earn a lot and have a great work-life balance.”

“Do you want to stick to your decision of picking urology? Are you sure?”

“Cardiology is the best specialization for you.”

You have probably faced a lot of questions like these if you are a medical student who’s yet to choose their specialization. A medical field can shape your entire career. Hence, it isn’t a surprise that you might receive a lot of advice and suggestions on what you should choose.

It can be a tough choice to pick the right specialization, especially when the branches of medicine are quite diverse. You should be very clear on your professional aspirations and expectations and let them guide you to the right decision.

We have compiled a detailed list of medical specialties that you could consider. Knowing more about all the specialties in medicine can help you pick a suitable one for yourself.

  1. Allergy and immunology: A specialization in allergies and immunology allows you to deal with different immune system reactions like asthma, hypersensitivity, food allergies and auto-immune conditions. They diagnose allergic conditions based on immunological responses, such as an increase in the histamine count.
  2. Anesthesiology: Anesthesiology deals with pain relief and surgical care before, during or after a surgical procedure. You might be called in to provide anesthesia for critical or terminal patients as well. You can explore different subspecialties in the field such as pediatric anesthesiology or hospice and palliative care.
  3. Dermatology: Dermatologists are responsible for diagnosing and treating skin, hair, scalp, and nail disorders. They perform skin biopsies and surgical procedures to treat everything from skin cancers and tumors to infectious skin diseases like ringworm. As a dermatology resident, you can also choose to specialize in cosmetology which allows you to perform plastic surgeries and cosmetic procedures.
  4. Diagnostic radiology: Diagnostic radiology involves using x-rays, MRIs, radioactive substances and ultrasounds to diagnose internal conditions or defects. Some common subspecialties in this field include breast imaging, abdominal radiology, cardiothoracic radiology and endovascular radiology. You can also choose to go with pediatric radiology, emergency radiology, head and neck radiology or neuro-radiology.
  5. Emergency medicine: Emergency medicine specialists are physicians providing immediate medical care for patients in emergency situations. Most often, these doctors need to make split-second decisions to save a life or prevent further injury. As an emergency medicine specialist, you can explore different subspecialties like medical toxicology, undersea and hyperbaric medicine and critical care medicine.
  6. Family medicine: Family medicine focuses on the integrated care of a family as a single unit. This can be especially useful since most family members share similar medical histories. Family medicine practitioners treat patients of all ages for most minor to moderate ailments. A few subspecialties include adolescent medicine and geriatric medicine. 
  7. Medical genetics: Medical geneticists diagnose and treat hereditary diseases that are generally caused by genetic defects. The treatment might include gene therapy, therapeutic interventions and specialized counselling. This is an evolving field with most medical geneticists engaged in research and clinical studies. A few sub-disciplines include molecular genetic pathology, clinical genetics and clinical cytogenetics.
  8. Obstetrics and gynecology: This is one of the most commonly observed medical specializations. Obstetrician/gynecologists care for the female reproductive system and its associated conditions. This branch of medicine also includes the care of pregnant women and nursing mothers.
  9. Ophthalmology: Ophthalmologists are specialized doctors that diagnose and treat medical conditions associated with human eyes like corneal clouding or cataracts. One of the most popular specializations, this medical branch includes several subspecialties like oculoplastic, corneal ophthalmology or neuro- ophthalmology.

You could also explore other medical specialties such as pathology, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, preventive medicine and psychiatry. Other doctor specialties worth exploring include radiation oncology, surgery, urology, endocrinology and cardiology.

Don’t stop at just knowing about these medical school specialties. Follow it up with in-depth research into the disciplines that look interesting and talk to seniors and faculty from those fields. They can give you a better picture of what it is like to work in those areas of medicine.

You can also make a list of reputed teaching hospitals and medical centers and check out what specialties they offer. This way, you can narrow down your list of preferred specializations by picking the hospital that will let you do your residency in your chosen specialty.

This article was written by Sweha Hazari.