Medical specialty

Last updated

A medical specialty is a branch of medical practice that is focused on a defined group of patients, diseases, skills, or philosophy. Examples include children (paediatrics), cancer (oncology), laboratory medicine (pathology), or primary care (family medicine). After completing medical school, physicians or surgeons usually further their medical education in a specific specialty of medicine by completing a multiple-year residency to become a specialist. [1]


History of medical specialization

To a certain extent, medical practitioners have long been specialized. According to Galen, specialization was common among Roman physicians.[ citation needed ] The particular system of modern medical specialties evolved gradually during the 19th century. Informal social recognition of medical specialization evolved before the formal legal system. The particular subdivision of the practice of medicine into various specialties varies from country to country, and is somewhat arbitrary. [2]

Classification of medical specialization

Medical specialties can be classified along several axes. These are:

Throughout history, the most important has been the division into surgical and internal medicine specialties. The surgical specialties are those in which an important part of diagnosis and treatment is achieved through major surgical techniques. The internal medicine specialties are the specialties in which the main diagnosis and treatment is never major surgery. In some countries, anesthesiology is classified as a surgical discipline, since it is vital in the surgical process, though anesthesiologists never perform major surgery themselves.

Many specialties are organ-based. Many symptoms and diseases come from a particular organ. Others are based mainly around a set of techniques, such as radiology, which was originally based around X-rays.

The age range of patients seen by any given specialist can be quite variable. Paediatricians handle most complaints and diseases in children that do not require surgery, and there are several subspecialties (formally or informally) in paediatrics that mimic the organ-based specialties in adults. Paediatric surgery may or may not be a separate specialty that handles some kinds of surgical complaints in children.

A further subdivision is the diagnostic versus therapeutic specialties. While the diagnostic process is of great importance in all specialties, some specialists perform mainly or only diagnostic examinations, such as pathology, clinical neurophysiology, and radiology. This line is becoming somewhat blurred with interventional radiology, an evolving field that uses image expertise to perform minimally invasive procedures.

Specialties that are common worldwide

SpecialtyMay be subspecialty ofAge range
of patients
Diagnostic (D) or
therapeutic (T)
Surgical (S) or
internal medicine (I)
Organ-based (O)
or technique-based (T)
Allergy and immunology Internal medicine
Adolescent medicine Pediatrics
Family medicine
Anesthesiology NoneAllTBothBoth
Aerospace medicine Family MedicineAllBothNeitherBoth
Bariatrics SeveralAllBothBothBoth
Cardiology Internal medicineAdultsTIO
Cardiothoracic surgery General surgeryAdultsTSO
Child and adolescent psychiatryPsychiatryPediatricTIT
Clinical neurophysiology NeurologyAllDIBoth
Colorectal surgery General SurgeryAllBothSO
Dermatology NoneAllTIO
Developmental pediatricsPediatricsPediatricTINeither
Emergency medicine Family MedicineAllBothBothBoth
Endocrinology Internal medicineAdultsTIO
Family Medicine NoneAllBothBothMultidisciplinary
Forensic pathology PathologyAllDNeitherT
Forensic psychiatry PsychiatryAllDIT
Gastroenterology Internal medicineAdultsTIO
General surgery NoneAdultsTST
General surgical oncologyGeneral surgeryAdultsTST
Geriatrics Family medicine
Internal medicine
Geriatric psychiatry Geriatrics
Gynecologic oncology Obstetrics and gynecologyAllTSO
Hematology Internal medicine
Hematologic pathologyHematology
Infectious disease Internal medicine
Internal medicine NoneAdultsTINeither
Interventional radiology RadiologyAllBoth-Multidisciplinary
Intensive care medicine Anesthesiology
Emergency medicine
Internal medicine
Maternal-fetal medicine Obstetrics and gynecologyAdultsTSBoth
Medical biochemistry Internal medicineAllDINeither
Medical genetics NoneAllDINeither
Medical oncology Internal medicineAdultsDINeither
Neonatology PediatricsNeonatalTINeither
Nephrology Internal medicineAllTIO
Neurology Internal medicineAllBothIO
Neuropathology PathologyAllDNeitherT
Neurosurgery NoneAllTSO
Nuclear medicine NoneAllBothIT
Obstetrics and gynecology Family medicineAllTSO
Occupational medicine Family medicine
Internal medicine
Ophthalmology NoneAllTSO
Orthopedic surgery NoneAllTSO
Oral and maxillofacial surgery NoneAllTSO
Otorhinolaryngology NoneAllTSO
Palliative care Family Medicine
Internal medicine
Pathology NoneAllDNeitherT
Pediatrics NonePediatricTINeither
Pediatric allergy and immunologyPediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric cardiologyPediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric emergency medicine PediatricsPediatricBothBothBoth
Pediatric endocrinologyPediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric gastroenterologyPediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric hematology and oncologyPediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric infectious diseasePediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric nephrologyPediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric respiratory medicinePediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric rheumatologyPediatricsPediatricTIO
Pediatric surgery General surgeryPediatricTSO
Physical medicine and rehabilitation NoneAllTIMultidisciplinary
Plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery General surgeryAllTSO
Psychiatry Family medicineAllBothIT
Public health Family medicineAllNeitherNeitherT
Radiation oncology NoneAllTNeitherT
Radiology NoneAllBothIT
Reproductive endocrinology and infertilityObstetrics and gynecologyAdultsTST
Pulmunology or Respiratory medicine Internal medicineAdultsTIO
Rheumatology Internal medicineAdultsTINeither
Sports medicine Family medicineAllBothNeitherMultidisciplinary
Thoracic surgery General surgeryAdultsTST
Toxicology Emergency MedicineAllBothNeitherO
Transfusion Medicine NoneAllBothNeitherBoth
Neuroradiology RadiologyAllBothIBoth
Urology NoneAllTSO
Vascular surgery General surgeryAllTSO

List of specialties recognized in the European Union and European Economic Area

The European Union publishes a list of specialties recognized in the European Union, and by extension, the European Economic Area. [3] Note that there is substantial overlap between some of the specialties and it is likely that for example "Clinical radiology" and "Radiology" refer to a large degree to the same pattern of practice across Europe.

List of North American medical specialties and others

In this table, as in many healthcare arenas, medical specialties are organized into the following groups:

Allergy and immunology Allergic reactions, asthma, and the immune system
Anesthesiology AN, PANSurgery [4] [ citation needed ] Anesthesia
Bariatrics Deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.
Cardiology Medicine Disease of the cardiovascular system
Cardiovascular surgery Surgery The operation of heart and major blood vessels of the chest.
Clinical laboratory sciencesDiagnosticApplication of diagnostic techniques in medical laboratories such as assays, microscope analysis.
Dermatology D, DSMedicineDermatology, Mohs surgery Skin and its appendages (hair, nails, sweat glands etc.).
Dietetics RD [5] Food and nutrition
Emergency medicine EMMedicineThe initial management of emergent medical conditions, often in hospital emergency departments or the field.
Endocrinology MedicineThe endocrine system (i.e., endocrine glands and hormones) and its diseases, including diabetes and thyroid diseases.
Family medicine FMMedicine
  • Addiction medicine
  • Adolescent medicine
  • Anesthesia
  • Emergency medicine
  • Care of the elderly (geriatric medicine)
  • Clinical environmental health
  • Global health
  • HIV care
  • Hospital medicine
  • Indigenous health
  • Low-risk obstetrics
  • Medical education
  • Medical oncology
  • Medical simulation
  • Pain medicine
  • Palliative care
  • Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS)
  • Research
  • Sleep medicine
  • Sports and exercise medicine
  • Women's health
Continuing, comprehensive healthcare for the individual and family, integrating the biological, clinical and behavioral sciences to treat patients of all ages, sexes, organ systems, and diseases.
Forensic medicine Medicine
Gastroenterology GIMedicineThe alimentary tract
General surgery GSSurgery
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Gastrointestinal surgery
  • Transplant surgery
  • Trauma surgery
Geriatrics IMGMedicine [4] [ citation needed ]Elderly patients
Gynecology Female reproductive health
Hepatology MedicineThe liver and biliary tract, usually a part of gastroenterology.
Hospital medicine Medicine
Infectious disease IDMedicineDiseases caused by biological agents
Intensive care medicine Medicine Life support and management of critically ill patients, often in an ICU.
Internal Medicine Medicine
Medical research Anatomy, Biochemistry, Embryology, Genetics, Pharmacology, Toxicology Care of hospitalized patients
Nephrology MedicineKidney diseases
Neurology NMedicineDiseases involving the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems
Neurosurgery NSSurgeryDisease of the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, and spinal column.
Obstetrics and gynecology OB/GYNSurgery [4] [ citation needed ]
Oncology ONMedicine Cancer and other malignant diseases, often grouped with hematology.
Ophthalmology OPHSurgeryDiseases of the visual pathways, including the eyes, brain, etc.
Oral and maxillofacial surgery Maxfacs, OMSSurgery
  • Oral and Craniofacial surgery (Head and neck)
  • Facial cosmetic surgery
  • Craniomaxillofacial trauma
Disease of the head, neck, face, jaws and the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.
Orthopedic surgery ORSSurgery Hand surgery, surgical sports medicine, adult reconstruction, spine surgery, foot and ankle, musculoskeletal oncology, orthopedic trauma surgery, pediatric orthopedic surgeryInjury and disease of the musculoskeletal system.
Otorhinolaryngology, or ENTORL, ENTSurgeryHead and neck, facial cosmetic surgery, Neurotology, LaryngologyTreatment of ear, nose, and throat disorders. The term head and neck surgery defines a closely related specialty that is concerned mainly with the surgical management of cancer of the same anatomical structures.
Palliative care PLMMedicineA relatively modern branch of clinical medicine that deals with pain and symptom relief and emotional support in patients with terminal illnesses including cancer and heart failure.
Pathology PTHDiagnosticUnderstanding disease through examination of molecules, cells, tissues and organs. The term encompasses both the medical specialty that uses tissues and body fluids to obtain clinically useful information and the related scientific study of disease processes.
Pediatrics PDMedicineChildren. Like internal medicine, pediatrics has many sub-specialties for specific age ranges, organ systems, disease classes, and sites of care delivery. Most sub-specialties of adult medicine have a pediatric equivalent such as pediatric cardiology, pediatric emergency medicine, pediatric endocrinology, pediatric gastroenterology, pediatric hematology, pediatric oncology, pediatric ophthalmology, and with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents (from newborn to age 16–21, depending on the country).
Pediatric surgery SurgeryTreats a wide variety of thoracic and abdominal (and sometimes urologic) diseases of childhood.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation Or PhysiatryPM&RMedicine
  • Cancer Rehabilitation
  • Pain Management
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Sports Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Hospice & Palliative Medicine
Concerned with functional improvement after injury, illness, or congenital disorders.
Plastic surgery PSSurgery
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Burn
  • Microsurgery
  • Hand surgery
  • Craniofacial surgery
Elective cosmetic surgery as well as reconstructive surgery after traumatic or operative mutilation.
Podiatry PODSurgery
  • Forefoot surgery
  • Midfoot surgery
  • Rearfoot surgery
  • Ankle surgery
  • Soft tissue leg surgery
Elective podiatric surgery of the foot and ankle, lower limb diabetic wound and salvation, peripheral vascular disease limb preservation, lower limb mononeuropathy conditions. Reconstructive foot & ankle surgery.
Proctology PROMedicine(or Colorectal Surgery) Treats disease in the rectum, anus, and colon.
Psychiatry PMedicineThe bio-psycho-social study of the etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cognitive, perceptual, emotional and behavioral disorders. Related fields include psychotherapy and clinical psychology.
Pulmonology MedicineThe lungs and respiratory system. Pulmonology is generally considered a branch of internal medicine, although it is closely related to intensive care medicine when dealing with patients requiring mechanical ventilation.
Public Health Public health focuses on the health of populations. Physicians employed in this field work in policy, research or health promotion, taking a broad view of health that encompasses the social determinants of health.
Radiology R, DRDiagnostic and Therapeutic
  • Interventional radiology is concerned with using expert imaging of the human body, usually via CT, ultrasound, fluoroscopy, or MRI to perform a breadth of intravascular procedures (angioplasty, arterial stenting, thrombolysis, uterine fibroid embolization), biopsies and minimally invasive oncologic procedures (radiofrequency and cryoablation of tumors & transarterial chemoembolization)
  • Nuclear medicine uses radioactive substances for in vivo and in vitro diagnosis either using imaging of the location of radioactive substances placed into a patient or using in vitro diagnostic tests utilizing radioactive substances.
The use of expertise in radiation in the context of medical imaging for diagnosis or image guided minimally invasive therapy. X-rays, etc.
Rheumatology RHUMedicine Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases of the joints and other organ systems, such as arthritis and other rheumatic diseases.
Surgical oncology SOSurgeryCurative and palliative surgical approaches to cancer treatment.
Thoracic surgery TSSurgerySurgery of the organs of the thoracic cavity: the heart, lungs, and great vessels.
Transplant surgery TTSSurgeryTransplantation of organs from one body to another
ToxicologyDiagnostic and Therapeutic
  • Environmental
  • Forensic
  • Occupational
  • Pediatric
Poisonings, Overdoses; Environmental, and Occupational Exposures
Urgent Care Medicine UCMMedicineImmediate medical care offering outpatient care for the treatment of acute and chronic illness and injury
Urology USurgery Urinary tracts of males and females, and the male reproductive system. It is often practiced together with andrology ("men's health").
Vascular surgery VSSurgeryThe peripheral blood vessels – those outside the chest (usually operated on by cardiovascular surgeons) and outside the central nervous system (treated by neurosurgery)


According to the 2022 Medscape Physician Compensation Report, physicians on average earn $339K annually. Primary care physicians earn $260K annually while specialists earned $368K annually. [6]

The table below details the average range of salaries for physicians in the US of medical specialties: [7] [8]

SpecialtyAverage salary (USD)Average hours


Average salary/hour (USD)
Allergy & Immunology$298K
Anesthesiology $405K59
Dermatology $438K44103
Emergency medicine $373K44180
Cardiac Surgery 218,684 to $500,000
Critical care$369K
Infectious disease$260K
Internal medicine $264K5558
Family medicine $255K5158
Neurology $301K5493
Obstetrics and Gynecology $336K5983
Ophthalmology $417K45
Orthopedic surgery $557K56
Otolaryngology $469K52
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 360,000 to $625,21053
Pediatrics 244K5269
Physical Medicine & Rehabiliation$322K
Podiatry 170,800 to $315,1504580
Preventative medicine$243K
Pulmonary medicine$353K55
Psychiatry $287K4672
Radiology (diagnostic)$437K56
Surgery (general)$402K58
Urology $461K59
Neurosurgery 350,000 to $705,000132
Plastic surgery $576K114
Gastroenterology $453K5593

Specialties by country

Australia and New Zealand

There are 15 recognised specialty medical Colleges in Australia. [9] [10] [11] The majority of these are Australasian Colleges and therefore also oversee New Zealand specialist doctors. These Colleges are:

Specialist CollegeMajor Subspecialties Approximate number of specialist doctors/trainees
Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Paediatric emergency medicine5,000
Australasian College of Dermatologists 700
Australasian College of Sport and Exercise Physicians Exercise Medicine 350
Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Pain medicine7,000
Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine 4,500
College of Intensive Care Medicine Paediatric Intensive care1,200
Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators 800
Royal Australasian College of Physicians Addiction medicine, Cardiology, Clinical Genetics, Endocrinology, Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Haematology, Infectious diseases, Immunology, Neonatal, Nephrology, Neurology, Occupational, Oncology, Paediatrics, Palliative medicine, Public Health, Rehabilitation, Respiratory, Rheumatology, Sexual Health25,000
Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Cardiothoracic, General surgery, Head & neck, Neurosurgery, Orthopaedics, Paediatric surgery, Plastics, Urology, Vascular9,000
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Fertility medicine, Obstetric ultrasound, Gynaecological oncology, Urogynaecology2,500
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists 1,100
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 5,000
Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists Diagnostic, Interventional, Ultrasound, Nuclear medicine3,500
Royal Australian College of General Practitioners 40,000
Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Anatomical, Chemical, Clinical, Forensic, Genetic, Haematological, Immunological, Microbiological Pathology1,000

In addition, the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons supervises training of specialist medical practitioners specializing in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in addition to its role in the training of dentists. There are approximately 260 faciomaxillary surgeons in Australia. [12]

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners is a distinct body from the Australian Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. There are approximately 5100 members of the RNZCGP.

Within some of the larger Colleges, there are sub-faculties, such as: Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine within the Royal Australasian College of Physicians

There are some collegiate bodies in Australia that are not officially recognised as specialities by the Australian Medical Council but have a college structure for members, such as: Australasian College of Physical Medicine

There are some collegiate bodies in Australia of Allied Health non-medical practitioners with specialisation. They are not recognised as medical specialists, but can be treated as such by private health insurers, such as: Australasian College of Podiatric Surgeons


Specialty training in Canada is overseen by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada. For specialists working in the province of Quebec, the Collège des médecins du Québec also oversees the process.


In Germany these doctors use the term Facharzt .


Specialty training in India is overseen by the Medical Council of India, which is responsible for recognition of post graduate training and by the National Board of Examinations. And education of Ayurveda in overseen by Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM), the council conducts u.g and p.g courses all over India, while Central Council of Homoeopathy does the same in the field of Homeopathy.


In Sweden, a medical license is required before commencing specialty training. Those graduating from Swedish medical schools are first required to do a rotational internship of about 1.5 to 2 years in various specialties before attaining a medical license. The specialist training lasts 5 years. [13]

United States

There are three agencies or organizations in the United States that collectively oversee physician board certification of MD and DO physicians in the United States in the 26 approved medical specialties recognized in the country. These organizations are the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Medical Association (AMA); the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (AOABOS) and the American Osteopathic Association; the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) and the American Association of Physician Specialists (AAPS). Each of these agencies and their associated national medical organization functions as its various specialty academies, colleges and societies.

Certifying boardNational organizationPhysician type

All boards of certification now require that medical practitioners demonstrate, by examination, continuing mastery of the core knowledge and skills for a chosen specialty. Recertification varies by particular specialty between every seven and every ten years.

In the United States there are hierarchies of medical specialties in the cities of a region. Small towns and cities have primary care, middle sized cities offer secondary care, and metropolitan cities have tertiary care. Income, size of population, population demographics, distance to the doctor, all influence the numbers and kinds of specialists and physicians located in a city. [14]


A population's income level determines whether sufficient physicians can practice in an area and whether public subsidy is needed to maintain the health of the population. Developing countries and poor areas usually have shortages of physicians and specialties, and those in practice usually locate in larger cities. For some underlying theory regarding physician location, see central place theory. [14]

The proportion of men and women in different medical specialties varies greatly. [15] Such sex segregation is largely due to differential application. [16]

Satisfaction and burnout

A survey of physicians in the United States came to the result that dermatologists are most satisfied with their choice of specialty followed by radiologists, oncologists, plastic surgeons, and gastroenterologists. [17] In contrast, primary care physicians were the least satisfied, followed by nephrologists, obstetricians/gynecologists, and pulmonologists. [17] Surveys have also revealed high levels of depression among medical students (25 - 30%) as well as among physicians in training (22 - 43%), which for many specialties, continue into regular practice. [18] [19] A UK survey conducted of cancer-related specialties in 1994 and 2002 found higher job satisfaction in those specialties with more patient contact. Rates of burnout also varied by specialty. [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

Medicine Diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness

Medicine is the science and practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, palliation of their injury or disease, and promoting their health. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

Pathology Study of the causes and effects of disease or injury, also how they arise

Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury. The word pathology also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of biology research fields and medical practices. However, when used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in a narrower fashion to refer to processes and tests which fall within the contemporary medical field of "general pathology", an area which includes a number of distinct but inter-related medical specialties that diagnose disease, mostly through analysis of tissue, cell, and body fluid samples. Idiomatically, "a pathology" may also refer to the predicted or actual progression of particular diseases, and the affix pathy is sometimes used to indicate a state of disease in cases of both physical ailment and psychological conditions. A physician practicing pathology is called a pathologist.

Emergency medicine Medical specialty concerned with care for patients who require immediate medical attention

Emergency medicine is the medical speciality concerned with the care of illnesses or injuries requiring immediate medical attention. Emergency physicians continuously learn to care for unscheduled and undifferentiated patients of all ages. As first-line providers, in coordination with Emergency Medical Services, they are primarily responsible for initiating resuscitation and stabilization and performing the initial investigations and interventions necessary to diagnose and treat illnesses or injuries in the acute phase. Emergency physicians generally practise in hospital emergency departments, pre-hospital settings via emergency medical services, and intensive care units. Still, they may also work in primary care settings such as urgent care clinics.

Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin. It is a speciality with both medical and surgical aspects. A dermatologist is a specialist medical doctor who manages diseases related to skin, hair, nails, and some cosmetic problems.

In the medical profession, a general practitioner (GP) is a physician who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education to patients of all ages. Their duties are not confined to specific fields of medicine, and they have particular skills in treating people with multiple health issues. They are trained to treat patients to levels of complexity that vary between countries.

Internal medicine or general internal medicine is the medical specialty dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of internal diseases. Doctors specializing in internal medicine are called internists, or physicians in Commonwealth nations. Internists are skilled in the management of patients who have undifferentiated or multi-system disease processes. Internists care for hospitalized and ambulatory patients and may play a major role in teaching and research. Internal medicine and family medicine are often confused as equivalent in the Commonwealth nations.

Dentist Health care occupations caring for the mouth and teeth

A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a health care professional who specializes in dentistry. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services. The dental team includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and sometimes dental therapists.

A podiatrist is a medical professional devoted to the treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and related structures of the leg. The term originated in North America but has now become the accepted term in the English-speaking world for all practitioners of podiatric medicine. The word chiropodist was previously used in the United States, but it is now regarded as antiquated.

Podiatry Medicine branch focusing on human lower extremities

Podiatry or podiatric medicine is a branch of medicine devoted to the study, diagnosis, and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity. The term podiatry came into use in the early 20th century in the United States and is now used worldwide, including in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada.

Residency (medicine) Postgraduate medical training

Residency or postgraduate training is specifically a stage of graduate medical education. It refers to a qualified physician, dentist or podiatrist (DPM) who practices medicine, dentistry, or podiatry, respectively, usually in a hospital or clinic, under the direct or indirect supervision of a senior medical clinician registered in that specialty such as an attending physician or consultant. In many jurisdictions, successful completion of such training is a requirement in order to obtain an unrestricted license to practice medicine, and in particular a license to practice a chosen specialty. In the meantime they practice "on" the license of their supervising physician. An individual engaged in such training may be referred to as a resident, registrar or trainee depending on the jurisdiction. Residency training may be followed by fellowship or sub-specialty training.

There are a number of professional degrees in dentistry offered by dental schools in various countries around the world.

Medical education in Australia

Medical education in Australia includes the educational activities involved in the initial and ongoing training of Medical Practitioners. In Australia, medical education begins in Medical School; upon graduation it is followed by a period of pre-vocational training including Internship and Residency; thereafter, enrolment into a specialist-vocational training program as a Registrar eventually leads to fellowship qualification and recognition as a fully qualified Specialist Medical Practitioner. Medical education in Australia is facilitated by Medical Schools and the Medical Specialty Colleges, and is regulated by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and Australian Health Practitioners Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) of which includes the Medical Board of Australia where medical practitioners are registered nationally.

A medical intern is a physician in training who has completed medical school and has a medical degree but does not yet have a license to practice medicine unsupervised. Medical education generally ends with a period of practical training similar to internship, but the way the overall program of academic and practical medical training is structured differs depending upon the country, as does the terminology used.

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) is a not-for-profit professional organisation responsible for training and educating physicians and paediatricians across Australia and New Zealand.

Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Leading advocate for surgical standards in Australia and New Zealand

The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the leading advocate for surgical standards, professionalism and surgical education in Australia and New Zealand.

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is a medical degree conferred by the 38 osteopathic medical schools in the United States. DO and Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees are equivalent: a DO graduate may become licensed as a physician and thus have full medical and surgical practicing rights in all 50 US states. As of 2021, there were 168,701 osteopathic physicians and medical students in DO programs across the United States. Osteopathic medicine emerged historically from osteopathy, but has become a distinct profession.

A clinical officer (CO) is a gazetted officer who is qualified and licensed to practice medicine.

Master of Medicine (MMed) is a postgraduate Professional clinical degree awarded by medical schools to physicians following a period of instruction, supervised clinical rotations and examination. The degree usually takes three years to complete, but may take up to four years in some countries. It is awarded by both surgical and medical subspecialties and usually includes a dissertation component. The degree may complement an existing fellowship in the chosen specialty or be the sole qualification necessary for registration as a specialist.

A phlebologist is a medical specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of venous origin. The specialty of phlebology has developed to enable physicians sharing an interest in venous disease and health to share knowledge and experience despite being trained in a variety of backgrounds such as dermatology, vascular surgery, haematology, interventional radiology or general medicine. Diagnostic techniques used include the patient's history and physical examination, venous imaging techniques in particular vascular ultrasound and laboratory evaluation related to venous thromboembolism. The American Medical Association and the American Osteopathic Association has added phlebology to their list of self-designated practice specialties.

In the United States and Canada, there are twelve recognized dental specialties in which some dentists choose to train and practice, in addition to or instead of general dentistry. In the United Kingdom and Australia, there are thirteen.


  1. "Different Types of Doctors: Find the Specialist You Need". Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  2. Weisz G (Fall 2003). "The Emergence of Medical Specialization in the Nineteenth Century". Bull Hist Med. 77 (3): 536–574. doi:10.1353/bhm.2003.0150. PMID   14523260. S2CID   23694173.
  3. "Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications". European Parliament and Council. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  4. 1 2 3 – new grouping of the medical specialties Archived April 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. "Becoming a Registered Dietitian". Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  6. "Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2022: Incomes Gain, Pay Gaps Remain". Medscape. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  7. "Medscape Physician Compensation Report 2022: Incomes Gain, Pay Gaps Remain". Medscape. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  8. Katzowitz, Josh (2022-02-02). "How Much Do Doctors Make? [Salary by Specialty 2022] | White Coat Investor". The White Coat Investor - Investing & Personal Finance for Doctors. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  9. Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges,
  10. Medical Board of Australia,
  11. "What sort of doctor do you want to be? Medical specialties in Australia". 15 May 2014.
  12. "What is ANZAOMS? - ANZAOMS".
  13. "Specialty training / residency". Lund University, Faculty of Medicine. 2015-05-20. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  14. 1 2 Smith, Margot Wiesinger (1979). "A guide to the delineation of medical care regions, medical trade areas, and hospital service areas". Public Health Reports. 94 (3): 248–254. JSTOR   4596085. PMC   1431844 . PMID   582210.
  15. "These medical specialties have the biggest gender imbalances". American Medical Association. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  16. Woolf, Katherine; Jayaweera, Hirosha; Unwin, Emily; Keshwani, Karim; Valerio, Christopher; Potts, Henry (2019). "Effect of sex on specialty training application outcomes: A longitudinal administrative data study of UK medical graduates". BMJ Open. 9 (3): e025004. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025004. PMC   6429837 . PMID   30837254.
  17. 1 2 "Medscape: Medscape Access".
  18. Rotenstein, Lisa S.; Ramos, Marco A.; Torre, Matthew; Segal, J. Bradley; Peluso, Michael J.; Guille, Constance; Sen, Srijan; Mata, Douglas A. (2016-12-06). "Prevalence of Depression, Depressive Symptoms, and Suicidal Ideation Among Medical Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". JAMA. 316 (21): 2214–2236. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.17324. ISSN   1538-3598. PMC   5613659 . PMID   27923088.
  19. Douglas A. Mata, Marco A. Ramos, Narinder Bansal, Rida Khan, Constance Guille, Emanuele Di Angelantonio & Srijan Sen (2015). "Prevalence of Depression and Depressive Symptoms Among Resident Physicians: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis". JAMA . 314 (22): 2373–2383. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.15845. PMC   4866499 . PMID   26647259.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. Taylor, Cath; Graham, Jill; Potts, Henry WW; Richards, Michael A.; Ramirez, Amanda J. (2005). "Changes in mental health of UK hospital consultants since the mid-1990s". The Lancet. 366 (9487): 742–744. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67178-4. PMID   16125591. S2CID   11391979.