Are you a student considering a career in medicine? Choosing your area of practice is an important decision that requires detailed research and planning. With the countless medical specialties available, it can be difficult for high school and college students to choose which medical field suits their goals best.
It’s best to dive headfirst into researching medical fields, from primary care physicians to specialized surgeons. You’ll want to know the qualifications each role requires, as well as job environment specifics like schedule differences and salary averages. Empowerly has done some of this research for you, so read on if you want more insight into how many types of doctors there are.
Understanding the Specialization of Doctors
Choosing a specialty will happen once you’re in medical school. Here, you will explore the options available, also known as the medical doctor types. Even though medical school is a challenging option, the rewards and its perks are worth it for many.
Sure, you’ll need to take the MCAT, take prerequisites while in college, and join extracurricular activities from a medical standpoint. But if you want to be a part of the different types of doctors, it’s all part of the challenge. Students succeed if they can find ways to thrive under rigorous conditions and have a true passion for working in healthcare.
The Two Types of Medical Degrees
You can choose from two types of medical degrees before proceeding to the different types of doctors: a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO). Below is more information about these two paths.
- Doctor of Medicine (MD): An MD degree focuses on diagnosing and treating disease. Before you can get into an MD program, you need a bachelor’s degree in any related field. Plus, you’ll need to pass the MCAT or the Medical College Admissions Test.
What are the Various Medical Doctor Types Available?
Each doctor has a level of expertise that makes them unique compared to other practitioners. They have several specialties and subspecialties which you should consider before applying for medical school.
Below, we have gathered information including the different types of doctors, what they do, and their average salary.
National average salary: $73,562
One of the different types of doctors is an epidemiologist. They will look for potential diseases that cause problems and illnesses. Their primary job is to search for vaccinations for terminal diseases, such as cancer.
Allergist & Immunologist
National average salary: $270,442
An allergist or immunologist will focus on various types of disorders concerning the immune system. They’ll look for a solution on how to diagnose, treat, and evaluate these disorders; Some examples of research subjects for these doctors are autoimmune diseases and food allergies.
National average salary: $226,974
Anesthesiologists are doctors known to put you to “sleep” when you count to ten before a surgical procedure. But they also administer drugs to numb pain. Their main job is to monitor a patient’s vital signs during operations. And they also know how to handle hospital emergencies, such as breathing problems.
National average salary: $262,937
One of the many medical doctor types is a cardiologist. They are known to focus on diseases and illnesses stemming from the cardiovascular (heart and blood) system. Today, they are medical doctor types that offer non-invasive diagnosis and treatment options due to their more high-tech specialization.
National average salary: $220,517
Another kind of the many different types of doctors is a dermatologist. These professionals focus on skin issues like acne, moles, and other tissue concerns and ailments. They’re also known to perform cosmetic and surgical procedures.
National average salary: $348,500
Being an emergency physician is one of the most stressful careers in the medical field since they serve in the emergency room. Their specialization requires them to be quick in making decisions, and all hands are always on deck. The fast-paced environment might turn you off, but it’s a position many are interested in because of the immediate potential to save and change lives.
National average salary: $226,889
Plastic surgeons are one of the many doctors who perform surgery on a larger scale. They can surgically reconstruct, repair, or alter a body. Most of the time, plastic surgeons are assigned to help patients with life-altering injuries due to accidents or illnesses. At other times, their work may be primarily cosmetic.
National average salary: $421,300
A general surgeon is one of the medical doctor types who can perform surgery, just like plastic surgeons. However, they’re known to have a broad knowledge regarding various diseases and conditions that might require an operation.
National average salary: $191,843
A neurologist is a doctor who specializes in a person’s nervous system, spinal cord, brain, and muscles. Most of the time, they help patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, strokes, and diseases affecting the different brain parts.
Obstetrics & Gynecology Physician
National average salary: $208,000
Among the different types of doctors, one unique specialization is obstetrics and gynecology. These doctors specialize in treatments and healthcare for people with uteruses. For instance, an OB will focus on childbirth and care for birthing parents before and after pregnancy. On the other hand, a gynecologist will help women and those with an internal reproductive system and breasts with hormonal changes and concerns throughout their lives. Both specialists play an important role in ensuring holistic patient health through parenthood.
National average salary: $315,700
An ophthalmologist is a doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Therefore, they help patients with issues that affect the eyes, such as the visual pathways or structure of the eyes. They’re also specialists who can prescribe glasses or contact lenses.
National average salary: $521,730
Another specialization among the numerous medical doctor types is orthopedic surgeons. They work on preserving or restoring your spine’s form and function. They often deal with patients with musculoskeletal issues that stem from injuries, diseases, and more. This is another field where cutting edge technology is taking precedence in treatment plans and care.
National average salary: $198,420
Pediatrics focuses on children and their emotional, physical, and social health. It’s their job to administer vaccinations and treat their illnesses after diagnostics. Furthermore, the pediatrician is one of the medical doctor types that can work to prevent any behavioral or developmental problems early on in a person’s development.
National average salary: $183,655
Preventative medicine physicians are one of the different types of doctors who focus more on ways the public can stay healthy. They focus on preventing diseases and monitoring health issues and disabilities. Plus, their job encompasses different factors, such as biostatistics, health services management, and more.
National average salary: $228,608
A psychiatrist is a doctor who can diagnose and treat any disorders of the mind. They can provide treatment through psychotherapeutic treatment and medication. Some examples of mental, addictive, and emotional conditions are schizophrenia, anxiety, etc.
National average salary: $239,028
Nephrologists can treat kidney diseases and fluid and mineral imbalances related to kidney diseases. Furthermore, they know how to treat high blood pressure.
National average salary: $296,700
In pathology, the doctors will focus on studying a disease, mainly what has caused it. It helps them understand how it affects the body, and they’re more on doing a lot of lab work to test body cells, secretions, fluids, and tissues.
Physical medicine & rehabilitation
National average salary: $251,770
Also called rehabilitation medicine, physicians focus on working with patients with physical disabilities. They are one of the many different types of doctors who will look at the issue from a holistic perspective with a focus on recovery.
National average salary: $440,430
A radiation oncologist will help treat cancer. Their specialty is ionizing radiation, and it involves a lot of radiotherapies. However, they also use radioactive explanations, chemotherapy, hypothermia, and more.
National average salary: $443,490
Radiology is one of the many medical doctor types of specialties that can diagnose and treat disease through imaging. It includes X-Ray, MRIs, and ultrasounds. However, they can specialize in different specific areas, such as mammography.
National average salary: $223,146
An endocrinologist can treat the endocrine system. It’s where the glands produce and secrete hormones in the body. So most of the time, they treat patients with diabetes and thyroid diseases.
National average salary: $208,875
One of the specialized medical doctor types is a gastroenterologist. They primarily work on a person’s digestive organs, which include the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, and stomach. Patients who see a gastroenterologist usually have consistent heartburn and digestive issues.
National average salary: $197,809
A urologist will help patients with issues related to their urinary tract. Most of these infections affect the kidneys, male reproductive organs, adrenal glands, and bladder.
Choosing the Right Specialization Among the Numerous Medical Doctor Types
If you have been wondering how many types of doctors are there, then the list above can answer your question. However, many others have yet to be mentioned in the list. Of course, you’ll find out more about them once you go to med school!
But if you still need help choosing the right specialization, Empowerly is here to help. We offer free consultations for students as they achieve their academic dreams. And being in medical school can be tricky, but we can guide you as you study the different specializations after college admissions.