What Kinds of Healthcare Specializations Are Available?

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Are you ready to find your fit?

Healthcare is an intensely specialized field, with countless areas of focus that you could choose to study.

Learn more from the Healthcare homepage that College Choice has put together. You can also check out one of our most popular healthcare rankings: the Top Online Medical Sonography Schools.

We’ve described a variety of degrees and job titles in other sections of the FAQ, and it’s clear that pretty much every Healthcare career will be in high demand for at least the next decade. But which specializations are most in demand right now?

The medical recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins publishes an annual report on medical recruitment trends. They found that these are the top three areas of specialization in Healthcare with the greatest demand:

Family Medicine

In a way, family medicine is really the opposite of a specialization. These practitioners treat the whole body. They work with patients of all genders and ages, and they provide care in a variety of settings, from hospitals to private practices.

What makes this specialization so special? According to the American Association of Family Physicians, it’s the focus on building an ongoing relationship with the patient. In fact, the doctor-patient relationship is the cornerstone of family medicine.

When it comes to Healthcare recruitment, family medicine practitioners have been at the top of the most-wanted list for the past eleven years. According to Merritt Hawkins that’s partly because, with average annual salaries around $230,000, family medicine is one of the lower-paying medical specializations.

Changing Healthcare industry practices are creating increased demand for generalists, though.

If you like the idea of caring for families and individuals of all ages, and having the variety of training to treat almost all ailments, family medicine could be a rewarding choice.


The mind, emotions and behavior are the domain of workers in the field of psychiatry. These practitioners may diagnose and treat a variety of mental health conditions, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety.

In a recent study, 77 percent of counties in the United States reported a shortage of psychiatrists. Because patients have trouble accessing psychiatric care, emergency rooms are treating more and more people seeking help with mental health or behavioral disorders.

And if the current shortage isn’t bad enough, 60 percent of the psychiatrists who are currently active in the United States are nearing retirement age.

If you want a career that balances empathy with analytic skills, psychiatry could be the right specialization for you. Average salaries for psychiatrists are around $263,000, with the highest paid individuals making $450,000 per year.

Internal Medicine

Internal medicine, like family medicine, is another field in which practitioners specialize in being generalists. They differ in that internal medicine is concerned with caring for adults, rather than patients of all ages.

Practitioners of internal medicine are known as internists, and according to the American College of Physicians, they use “the best medical science available in caring for patients in the context of thoughtful, meaningful doctor-patient relationships.”

Internists may choose a subspecialty within internal medicine, such as cardiology. To do this, they would spend an extra two or three years in training, in order to be able to perform advanced procedures.

The average salary for an internist was $257,000 in 2017. But the highest paid internists can make as much as $600,000 per year.

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