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SPECIALTY COMPETITIVENESS – Rotation Placement

SPECIALTY COMPETITIVENESS


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There are many things to consider when choosing a medical specialty for a minimum of three years postgraduate study. For example:
What are you passionate about in medicine? Do you love surgery or are you more interested in the puzzle of diagnosis? What about your credentials, clinical experience, and test scores? Also, take into consideration your resources – finances, documents, among others.

One of the crucial factors every medical student should consider when picking a specialty is how competitive it is. Some specialties are easier to match for residency while others are pretty difficult especially for IMGs who have even more considerations such as certification from ECFMG and visas.
Understanding the competitiveness of a particular area of specialty is very important for all medical graduates – that is unless you graduated from a US medical institution with high USMLE scores. Doing so will help you avoid unnecessary difficulties while competing for residency in any of them.

Below is a list of specialties provided by the Match A Resident website with a competitiveness rating provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges or AAMC®
Anesthesiology
Competitiveness level – Medium
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match: 10%; 15% (PGY-2 only).
Child Neurology
Competitiveness level – Extreme
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match: 12% (PHY-1 only); 47% (PGY-2 only)
Combined MedPeds
Competitiveness level – High
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match: 6%
Dermatology
Competitiveness level – extreme
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 0% (PGY-1 only); 2% (PGY-2 only).
Emergency medicine
Competitiveness level – Medium
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 6%
Family medicine
Competitiveness level – Low
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 34%
General surgery
Competitiveness level – High
Jobs filled by IMGs 2015 matched – 9%; 29% (PGY-1 only).
Transitional year
Competitiveness level – High for IMGs
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 7% (PGY-1 only)
Radiation Oncology
Competitiveness level – Extreme
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 0%; 0% (PGY-2 only)
Diagnostic Radiology
Competitiveness level – Medium
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 22%; 14% (PGY-2 only).
Psychiatry
Competitiveness level – low
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match level – 25%
Physical Med & Rehab
Competitiveness level – Medium
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 16%
Pathology
Competitiveness level – Low
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 38%
Orthopedic surgery
Competitiveness level – Extreme
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 1%
Obstetrics and Gynecology
Competitiveness level – Medium
Position filled by IMGs 2015 match – 9%
Neurosurgery
Competitiveness level – High
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 7%
Neurology
Competitiveness level – Low
Positions filled by IMGs 2015 match – 32%; 26% (PGY-2 only).

It is best to know how competitive a specialty is to help you narrow down your choices and also considering other factors like professional credentials and personal preferences.
Nevertheless, you should not be discouraged from pursuing your preferred specialty simply because it is competitive. If you are passionate about an area of specialty, you can try to adopt a different strategy for getting a residency position. You will need to work harder or take a less direct path. For instance, advanced specialties may require you to boost your application with extra work, volunteer experiences, and research. Once you have strengthened your application, then you can send in the applications to your preferred programs and also to other programs. Applying to several programs increases your chances of being called for an interview.