Choosing Your Specialty
Finding Your Fit
During the first two years of medical school there are many opportunities to help you begin to explore the many career options available to you. It will be important to begin, early, the process of identifying what you like (and don’t like) most about medicine (e.g. continuity of care, working with your hands, deep problem-solving, high paced environment, team approach).
Introduction to the Specialties
The Road to Residency program begins with an introduction to the specialties. During the fall semester of the first year, we host panels of physicians representing each of the most common specialties. These physicians provide an overview of their work, typical expectations, (eventual) compensation possibilities, etc. Each panel concludes with a Q & A.
The Undifferentiated Medical Student (TUMS) is a top-ranked Medicine podcast in iTunes (free) about choosing a medical specialty and planning a career in medicine. There are a lot of specialties (120+) to choose from. The purpose of the TUMS podcast is to help med students learn the talking points of all the specialties and to empower them to start exploring their career options early and on their own.
AAMC's Careers In Medicine
Choosing a specialty should be an intentional and well-researched process. The best place to begin the process is the AAMC’s Careers in Medicine Website. This tool encourages a four-step process: Understanding Yourself; Exploring Options; Choosing a Specialty and Landing a Residency. Each step of the process is supported by multiple resources. Have a look by logging in with your AAMC ID and Password (same as you used for MCAT and AMCAS).
Student Organizations and Interest Groups
A great way to learn more about medical specialties is to attend career-related student organization meetings. Because ultimate career decisions aren’t made until late in the third year (and sometimes even into fourth year), you have time to explore multiple options, and attending many different interest group meetings is a great start! Visit this list of clubs and organizations.
The summer between first and second year provides a great opportunity to learn more about specialties. Many of the clinical departments at Upstate offer structured and less-structured experiences for students. Keep your eyes and ears open to learn more about these opportunities.
Personality Types and Specialties
Maybe you have no idea what kind of specialty in which you’re interested. No worries, you’re not alone! Many students begin the exploration process by taking personality tests to evaluate fit with particular fields. Here are few to try: