In today’s highly sophisticated medical environment, virtually all physicians specialize, and the level of specialization is constantly changing. In addition to primary care providers, other medical specialists include anesthesiologists, gynecologist/obstetricians, cardiologists, infectious disease specialists, radiologists, psychiatrists, and surgeons, as well as many others. Some specialty areas also have sub-specialties, requiring further years of training. For example, neurosurgery, pediatric gastroenterology, or geriatric psychiatry.

For students planning to enter medical school, the decision regarding specialization is one made after medical school is well underway. There are two options to consider for medical school: A degree from a school of medicine or a degree from an osteopathic school of medicine. There are many subtle differences, but the main different is Osteopathic Medicine places special emphasis on the body’s musculoskeletal system, preventive medicine and holistic care. Truly the only way for students to choose the best option for them is to research various schools to determine their specific curriculum and graduation outcomes. Many things should go into the decision, such as the availability of state-of-the-art facilities, credentials of the faculty, community support for the medical school, as well as availability of scholarship and grant programs.

The ultimate goal during medical school should be to learn about the multitude of primary care and specialty care opportunities in medicine. Medical school will provide the exposure students need to decide the best fit for them. There are also assessment tools and counseling options to help medical students select a specialty and apply to a residency program.

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