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5 HARDEST Doctor Specialties | Most Competitive Residency Programs

January 29, 2020

Have you ever been confused when people talk
about certain medical specialties being competitive? Me too. In this video, we’ll go over the official
statistics and explore which are the most competitive and desired specialties. What’s going on guys, Dr. Jubbal, For those of you who don’t know, I graduated
medical school in 2017 and matched into plastic surgery. To learn more about my story, visit my vlog
channel – link in the description below. There’s a tremendous amount of misinformation
regarding which medical specialties are competitive. Everyone wants to say their specialty is competitive
– and they’re not wrong. Getting into any residency is a challenging
ordeal. That being said, some specialties are more
competitive and harder to get into than others. I understand the pride involved, but whether
or not your specialty is considered competitive does not make you a good or bad doctor. It simply says which specialties are hardest to get into. And knowing which specialties are hardest
to get into can be very useful information for pre-meds and medical students. Again, all specialties are competitive, and
if your specialty is ranked lower than you would like, that’s not a judgement or an attack
on you in any way. This is simply the data. Period. You can find links to the data in the description. First, let’s cover the methodologies that I used. I gathered all data from the official source
– the NRMP, or the National Resident Matching Program, over the last few years. I manually inputted all data into a spreadsheet
that I’ve linked to in the description for you to view. There’s always someone complaining about
imperfect methodologies – look, every analysis has its limitations. I urge you to view the spreadsheet and play
with the data to see for yourself. Before we dive in, it’s important to note
that ophthalmology and urology are not included in the regular match, and therefore their
data was not included in this analysis. That being said, if you look up their average
Step scores and match rates, it’s clear neither would have been in the top 5 anyway. I used data for U.S. applicants only, as incorporating
international medical graduates, or IMGs, would muddy the analysis. I looked beyond just the match rate, as that
would be a terribly inaccurate marker of competitiveness. And now you’re probably confused. If it has a low match rate, then it must be
more competitive, right? Well, not exactly. Specialties are self-selecting to a certain degree. I recently saw a video by someone who went
only off of match rates, and in doing so, they suggested that general surgery and psychiatry
were the third most competitive specialties. Anyone who is in medical school or residency
will tell you that’s certainly not the case. For example, in plastic surgery, applicants
use general surgery as their backup in case they don’t get into plastics. Look at it this way – if you’re not a competitive
applicant, you’re not going to apply to something like plastic surgery or neurosurgery or dermatology. But lots of people want to do surgery, since surgery
is freakin awesome, and general surgery is the most commonly applied to. General surgery is an excellent field, it’s tremendously broad, extremely diverse, leaves options open to subspecialize after, and it’s also the least competitive of the
surgical specialties. Therefore it has a very high number of applicants and a
low match rate. This is not a judgement against general surgery in any way. This is just an explanation for the low
match rate in general surgery. In order to overcome the shortcomings of looking
at match rate alone, I examined six categories of data: average match rate, Step 1 score,
Step 2CK score, number of publications, percentage of matriculants that were AOA, and percentage
of applicants from a top 40 NIH funded medical school. AOA, or the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical
Society, is an honor society in medicine – what you need to know for the purposes of this
analysis is that being AOA is a good indicator of being a high performing student. Obviously it’s not perfect, as some schools
don’t have it. For example, mine didn’t, and therefore
I wasn’t AOA, despite being at the top of my class. Top 40 NIH funded medical schools are usually
more competitive, meaning students that got into these schools were, on average, stronger
students. Emphasis on average. After compiling the data, I ranked each specialty
in each of the six categories. This was a point-based ranking system. Each category was weighed equally and points
were awarded directly in relation to the ranking. Meaning, there are 22 specialties, and the
lowest ranking in that category would receive 1 point and the top ranking in that category
would receive 22 points. I summed up the points across each category
and looked at the total points to determine which specialties were most competitive. Now’s your chanc e to hedge your bets. Dermatology came in first, trailed closely
by plastic surgery in second. Neurosurgery was third, followed by orthopedic
surgery fourth and then ENT in fifth. And honestly, I’m not surprised by these results – and that’s a good sign. If you’re a medical student or a resident,
you probably aren’t surprised either. But many people have heard of this ROAD to success – ROAD stands for Radiology, Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology, and Dermatology. If you’re surprised that the other three
ROAD specialties aren’t included in the top 5, don’t be. Radiology, Ophtho, and Anesthesia are not nearly
as competitive as the top 5. ROAD specialties indicate those that have
a great lifestyle – NOT necessarily those which are the most competitive. An interesting pattern I noticed was that
the top 5 were all very well paying specialties. Neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery are almost
always the top 2 best paid specialties, regardless of the survey. Plastic surgery is also up there, but it’s
important to note that cosmetic practices make much more than reconstructive practices. Dermatologists don’t make as much as the
other top 4 specialties, all of which are surgical, and that makes sense – surgeons
put in more work and do more challenging procedures, but dermatologists have an excellent lifestyle that’s
hard to beat. So the conclusion of all this? It’s quite clear that the most competitive
specialties are highly correlated with either excellent pay or excellent lifestyle. Correlation is not causation, but I think
it’s safe to say that there’s more than simple correlation going on here. Exploring this finding further is a topic for another
video. Was this analysis perfect? Absolutely not – but then again, every analysis has
limitations. That being said, this is the most comprehensive
one I’ve seen. So what do you think of the results? Are you surprised, or is this what you were
expecting? Leave a comment down below – I’d love
to hear your thoughts. If you’re aiming for a highly competitive
specialty, check out the all-new multimedia courses on Each course was crafted by our team of top
doctors. The Pre-Med Roadmap will help you get accepted
to a Top 40 NIH medical school, and the interview courses for medical school or residency are
hands down the most comprehensive and high-yield guides on the interviews that you’ll find
anywhere. Even better, both are constantly being updated
and improved with new exclusive videos, written content, and private group mentorship access. They’re on sale right now for a limited
time. Link in the description. Thank you all so much for watching. If you learned something, give this video
a thumbs up. Make sure you’re subscribed and hit the
notification bell so you don’t miss our new videos. And I’ll see you in that next one.


  • Reply ardi December 17, 2019 at 5:46 am

    Sorry but as brilliant as you are (far more brilliant than I could ever be) I believe this video needs some editing!

  • Reply Shulk 57 December 18, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    In France the 5 most competitive are : 1) Infectious disease 2) Ophtalmology 3) Nephrology 4) Plastic Surgery 5) Cardiovascular medicine

  • Reply Abby Ross December 18, 2019 at 3:06 pm

    I love being in high school wanting to be a dermatologist so I'm going to have to work a lot harder than I thought and I already knew I had to work hard

  • Reply Baishali Chaki December 18, 2019 at 7:58 pm

    make a video on a day in the life of cardiothorasic surgeon from morning till night sleep

  • Reply Med School Insiders December 19, 2019 at 10:33 pm

    Thanks for watching! Did you enjoy the video? Then you're going to love my weekly newsletter. Check it out here:

  • Reply inspirational movie clips December 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    You are doctor ,but how you are good at graphics

  • Reply Gabrielle Wild December 24, 2019 at 12:54 am

    I want to become a family medicine doctor
    Alo I'm watching these medicine videos and I'm VERY young

  • Reply Andishae Haasan December 25, 2019 at 4:17 pm

    See I appeared for my residency in Neurosurgery for 5 times. And I am least ashamed of it. Good things come late. Great things comes very late and forms a legacy. 😉

  • Reply Emily Xu December 26, 2019 at 4:18 pm

    I really want to be a gastroenterologist. I know that you wanted to be a pediatric gastroenterologist before, but switched to plastic surgery. Do you have any advice or some tips?

  • Reply Bho Bling December 26, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    I want to be a dermatologyst so bad and I am only 12

  • Reply Caesar Darias December 27, 2019 at 4:09 am

    According to the CDC, the top two leading causes of death in the United States, by far, are heart disease and cancer. Nothing else comes close. Yet the top of the class in medical schools are not trying to get into these essential life-saving careers. How about opting for a career as a… gasp, researcher so you can develop medicines and cures? Perhaps medical schools, hospitals and government need to provide incentives to top medical students to choose these paths. Perhaps loan forgiveness, for example.

  • Reply Zaire hart January 6, 2020 at 2:48 am

    What about psychiatry ?

  • Reply Quinton Jackson January 7, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    I know psych is not competitive.

  • Reply Saved Account January 12, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    I want to be an obgyn

  • Reply April Leyden January 16, 2020 at 9:31 pm

    What do you mean by the lifestyle is more appealing for Dermatology?

  • Reply Dev narayan Gautam January 17, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    well there goes my aim to be a neurosurgeon in life.

  • Reply Divya Yadav January 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    What I need to convey for his who making these video i.e he is a surgeon under plastic surgery therefore in the place of plastic surgery there is cardiac vascular surgeon…. it come in top 5 so the conclusions made here is this dr. Or surgeon or physician is selfish by nature as he putted his career under top 5 .
    1.neuro surgeon
    2.cardiac surgeon

  • Reply Zhra Asoffy January 26, 2020 at 5:23 pm


  • Reply Apolo Kaggwa January 28, 2020 at 12:29 am

    Too often younger medical ( as opposed to the undergraduate ) students are told that they will be great earners as indicated in this video of the top five specialties, but I am afraid that is not realistic. It is not a realistic picture because physicians are essentially paid by the hour. They are wage earners or ordinary income earners, according to the term used by the IRS. Therefore, every dollar earned is taxable, which means that the four taxes combined ( federal, state, medicare and social security ) add up to 50 cents or more per dollar earned. Compare that to the capital gains earners ( shareholders, business owners, company owners, investors, etc ), who are not paid by the hour and so their income is not ordinary. The highest federal rate for a capital gains earner is around 20%, often ending up paying a lot less after credits ( write offs ) claimed are taken into account. It is not unusual for a capital gains earner in the US to pay zero to 10% or less in taxes. The highest earning physicians do not have those options and so they have to pay up, to the tune of 50% or more in taxes of what they earn. This applies to the rest of the high paying employee professions as well. That is why none of those high paying professionals have ever made it to the Forbes 400 of the wealthiest Americans. Wealth is not created by wages – six-figure wages notwithstanding. Instead, it is created by capital gains and nothing else. So when considering a specialty, it is wise to let the young medical student know what their tax obligations will be in the end, rather than simply telling them that they will be earning in the top six figures, which is not realistic.

  • Reply Infinity of Chicken January 28, 2020 at 8:11 am

    Well then i thought i ckuld be an ent docter but ITS FLIPPIN 5TH

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