Choosing a specialty

Quiz: What’s the ideal medical specialty for your personality?

From family medicine to surgery, find out which medical specialty best lines up with your personality.

Choosing a career in medicine is just the first step in becoming a DO. One of the biggest decisions every physician makes in their career is selecting a specialty.

There’s no denying that certain personality traits tend to match up with specific specialties. The DO has created a short personality quiz to suggest the specialty that may fit well with your outlook.

Taking the quiz will lead you to one of six specialties common among DOs: emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN), osteopathic manipulative medicine/neuromusculoskeletal medicine (OMM/NMM), pediatrics and surgery.

Whether you’re well-established in your chosen specialty or are a medical student still figuring out which path calls to you most, you’ll enjoy seeing where your answers take you.

Choosing a specialty is a big, life-altering decision. Please note that this quiz is for entertainment purposes. While people with certain traits may tend to gravitate toward specific specialties, that doesn’t mean you won’t excel if you don’t have the exact personality type common to doctors in your specialty.

Further reading on specialties

Orthopedic surgery: Tips on landing a residency in this specialty

Looking beyond the surface: The osteopathic approach to dermatology

Primary care sports medicine: The osteopathic approach


  1. I read this article with a grain of salt…a ton of salt, actually. After being a specialist in Neurology since 1987, an 11 question, nonspecific test informs me that I’d have chosen to be a Family doctor. Beeep…sorry, this is a remarkably inaccurate measuring tool. Follow your heart and personal yearnings, not a silly 11 question inaccurate test.

  2. Having been an emergency physician for almost 30 years, my match was Internal Medicine. No offense to my IM colleagues, but I would die a slow death if I had to be an IM doc.
    I am a chair and professor of EM and wouldn’t trade my job for gold. I doubt seriously if this application could ever be validated?
    Really not scientific in any sense. Belongs on Facebook!

    1. I’m a medical student currently studying for my boards. I got Pediatrics but am seriously interested in Internal Medicine for the variety.

      Just curious what you dislike in IM? Also,(apologies in advance if I’m being offensive) isn’t Emergency just a faster/hectic version of IM?

      In terms of the quiz, I agree it does belong on Facebook, more for amusement rather than anything!

      1. Look into Internal Medicine-Pediatrics (ie Med-Peds), if you’re interested in both.

        11 questionnaire survey is very quiet silly to let it decide what field you’d enjoy, of course. Feel 3rd & 4th year out.

      2. Maybe you should d o a Med/Peds (IM/Peds) residency—you will love it! (as you can tell, I am med/peds). It’s 4 years; but you’ll be BE for IM and Peds and can do any subspecialty in either one.

    2. Dr Dale

      Do you think that it is possible for an anemic person to specialize in emergency medicine?

      I am looking forward to your reply

    3. Just read this and concur. After 30 years in Psy history I feel the same way. I have had a challenging and fulfilling career. I am now in private practice and and the Chair of Psych of the NMA and on the Board of Trustees, as well as former Pres of NOMA. Miss you classmate. I want everyone to know, this is the specialty that listens, applies medicine and tracks down the nidus of diseases. I welcome you ALL to consider Psychiatry.

  3. This is just something cute little game, guys! The best judge of which specialty one would/should choose were the nurses at the hospital during my internship. Within two weeks of our beginning our time there, they had nailed everyone on their eventual specialty… except for me. It was a toss-up between internal medicine, family medicine, and ER medicine. Surprise! I do all three (non-invasive for internal medicine).

  4. Spot on for me: Emergency Medicine. There were some questions that I “hedged ” on and “suspected” a different answer may be more appropriate and I “waffled” on a few. I was afraid “Radiology” was going to be the result!

    1. How was re-entering the match for the 2nd residency? I did med-peds 1 year in the midwest, then decided to switch to peds to be closer to home in the east coast. I also thought at the time I no longer wanted to work with adults. However, now that I am in peds as a 2nd year, I miss adults a lot. I guess afterall i was meant to be med-peds. Ive been considering finishing up peds then re-entering match for internal medicine. Is this wise or should I just forget about this

  5. Very interesting! I remember a long car ride with a medical school buddy. Based on personality we tried to figure out what specialty our classmates would go in to…we were spot on on most choices. I agree personality does have an effect on what a physician’s specialty is.

  6. For the folks who wrote negative comments, you must have not really read the article! The authors already stated that they’re only including primary care subspecialties and stated this is just for fun. Way to take this too seriously and personally, guys. Obviously, the best judges of your career specialty choice are you!

  7. Fun game. Hope any students dont take it too serioysly but look into themselves.
    A test is only as good as the questions posed –quite a number flawed here.
    40 years ago when I was a little younger I wanted to merge a fam pract/IM/psychiatry as a practice and practice in Yellowstone (seems like a more Osteopathic approach). Psychiatry was not even included in the quiz (big flaw). It chose peds for me (I’d have gone nuts just in that.) Child & Adolescent psychiatrist, practice includes adults.

  8. lol some answers are just different variants of yes with no “no” option.

    why is this even an article, not worth the code it is printed on.

    move along

  9. Your “quiz” says I should be OB-GYN. Funny, since I’ve been a board certified Orthopedist for 30 years and very happy with my choice. My youngest son will be starting medical school soon and I certainly hope he doesn’t let a “test” like this influence his choice of career paths! My advice, follow your head and heart and enjoy the journey.

  10. Fun quiz, placed me where I’ve been for past 50 years, from doing everything and gradually squeezed by specialities to still an enjoyable practice.

  11. People, people–the authors were quite clear: “Please note that this quiz is for entertainment purposes.” That said, if a questionnaire were to be a valid tool, it would have to start with Myers-Briggs testing. The authors above speak of “personality traits” but then ask questions about simple likes/dislikes/preferences, which doesn’t really get at personality. “I like food, therefore, I should be a chef,” just doesn’t help. If you really want to help someone trying to pick a specialty (or career for that matter), it’s important to know how they best interact with their world, starting with what I think is most important, introvert vs extrovert, but the other personality traits are critical as well.

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  14. I got surgery I have no medical training what so ever never even completed high school do you really trust me with a scalpel

  15. Quiz said I should have been an ER doc. Well, close but I’ve been an anesthesiologist for 45 years.

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