How to Begin

There are numerous resources available on career planning, getting into a residency, and logistics of the matching process. You can (and should) start early in your medical school career to embark on an exploration of specialty choice options and career planning. Several good and readily available ways to get started in this process are:

  • Getting Into a Residency: A Guide for Medical Students by Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D., Galen Press Ltd, $38.95. The most recent edition was published in 2013.
  • Participate in a free workshop on how to make a career decision offered by Dr. Kathy Diemer, Assistant Dean for Career Counseling. The workshop aims to familiarize preclinical students with a decision-making process which can be used in specialty choice selection and provides participants with information about a wide range of specialties through the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Careers in Medicine website.
  • Visit the AAMC’s Careers in Medicine website. This site helps medical students identify career goals and explore specialties and options.

You can do a lot of the ground work in becoming well informed about specialty choice options during your preclinical years in medical school. This should allow you to broaden your awareness of the many specialty choice possibilities so that when you start your clinical clerkships, you can actively gain information regarding all specialties that may interest you, including those many specialties which you will most likely not to have an opportunity to rotate through as a third-year student.