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. Harriet Fellows, DO, FACN

    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.

      1. Sandra Jean Robinson DO

        Interesting I got Surgery and that is where I started.
        I later boarder in FM and NMM/OMM as I diversified. It is supportive of my original passion and Track. I have aged and diversified with Greater knowledge and skills.

      1. Flyoften

        Interested in and Good at

        Two different things. If you don’t know yourself, you’ll have a hard time knowing your patients

    1. Dr.Surgery

      i- they- oh my god-…
      they said at the beginning not to rely on it, and is was for entertainment purposes only, i- oka-
      you do you buddy :,)

    2. Robert Coni

      Agreed. I was scattered as a student, enjoying almost everything, except perhaps surgery. Neurology was where
      I ended up and did so because
      I explored this as an elective and loved it. The first disconnection syndrome I saw solidified the choice. Too bad most of our colleges do not make this a mandatory rotation, especially since there is such a shortage and while most primary care docs see Neurologic problems, many feel ill equipped to help their patients.

    3. Robyn Bailis

      The quiz was fun. I am a Nuero science nerd. There are no questions at all that mention anything about this specialty.

  2. Dale Carrison

    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. Jafar Ahmed

      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. Adil Manzoor

        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. Alicia-Maria Fernandez

        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.

      3. Maria F Daly D.O.FACOFP

        Right on I’m FP with an OBGYN Fellowship. My practice Obstetrics Gynecology Pediatrics and Family Medicine

    2. Roselyne

      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. Mikki King Barker DO

      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. Dr. Ann Hupe, D.O.

    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).

    1. Edwin J Grasmann, DO, Esq., FACLM

      cute but I think plumbers make more. I calculated that my plumber makes close to $200 per hour with no malpractice

  4. Kenneth B. Pierce, DO, MSMM, CPE

    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. Paola

      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

      1. Edwin J Grasmann, DO, Esq., FACLM

        get all the training and credentials you can. Have you thought of ER???? I wound up doing FP but think I would have been much better off if I did ER

  5. Herbert E. Dempsey DO

    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. Mehjabeen Naseer

    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. C. Cristine Kremer, DO

    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.

    1. John Bailey, D.O., DFAPA

      Some of the options really pointed to Psychiatry—it was a big mistake to omit it. Psychiatry Residency has become increasingly popular, and doesn’t match all of its applicants.
      The game pointed me to Internal Medicine. I’m a psychologically minded Psychiatrist, but I often think of Psychiatry as the Internal Medicine of the brain.

  8. rofl

    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. Paul G Bizzle, D.O., F.A.O.A.O.

    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. N Robert Brethouwer

    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. Richard Aptaker, DO

    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.

  12. Pingback: Messly Top Tips for... Choosing Your Speciality | The Messly Blog

  13. Pingback: Wound Management Is A traditional Medical Specialty Unto Itself – IHTML

  14. Gary L Beeman

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

    1. Gina Bray

      If you has gone to medical
      Maybe surgery would have been
      A good fit? Obviously this is just a fun qui designed too help folks get to thinking about what will suit them best….. LIGHTEN UP!

  15. Robert J. Blok, Sr., M.S., D.O., FAOCA

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

    1. Sandra Robinson DO, NMM/OMM, FM/OMM Gen Surg. and RN.

      OMM/NMM Definition.
      Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine/ NeuroMusculoskeletal Medicine
      A very specific Specialty of Osteopathic Medicine.
      For Managing All Aspects of Physical Medicine, The total package. having the knowledge of All medicine and the Skill of Physical Medicine and the skills to Teach, Touch, Diagnose, and Treat Patients. The whole package. The Ultimate Hands-on Physician.

  16. Fikremariam

    I got IM which helped confirm my gut feeling
    i think the key is taking ur time to answer each question carefully
    so thanks it helped

  17. Howard Scalone D.O.

    Did not take the test. Graduated1958,family practice one year solo well rounded. anes res 62, full time anes all phases, before sub specialties existed loved it all retired ans 2009, worked in free clinic since 2006 one day a week. doing urgent care

    1. johana guerrero

      Hows that i like to know.My experince is that im not a good communicater which im learning my way but i had such interest in how people work there minds and daily days which got me to have a interest in kids health and science.One of my great skills is working with my hands my mom was a skillful person which i became really skillful too working with my hands seem more interesting than my brain lol but still love learning.tip i say take things calmy get to know with the advantage of the internet if you feel stuck theres good ways to find backup sources.

  18. Justin Moss

    I wanna do Psych but it told me I should do IM. I guess I have to completely change everything I’ve been working towards!

  19. GUL

    It showed Surgery which has always been my first love but as time is approaching I mean more towards Emergency /Internal medicine .But I think I could never get over Surgery after all

  20. Jackson

    I got surgery but I am really passionate about psychiatry. I believe that i should just follow my heart and no this quiz. Very interesting and fun quiz to take.

  21. Ben Accomando

    Do you know of any specific objective, reliable, and valid, test that I can take that would help me choose the correct specialty in healthcare field as a physician’s assistants? I have looked everywhere and have not been able to find one. Obviously, you recognize you recognize the importance of such a test given that you created to quiz being offered here.

  22. Howard Scalone D.O.

    fifty years plus of anesthesiology. with one year of family practice at the beginning and now free urgent care. Burnout == What’s that, What a privilege t
    o be granted. I think I would have been happy with just about any specialty. also did pain medicine and manipulation,

  23. Jessica R Zeman, DO

    I took the quiz a few times because sometimes more than one answer made sense. I got mostly IM and EM. I guess this is somewhat true since I’m pulm-critical care!

    I truthfully wanted an inpatient and outpatient practice – the ability to manage critically ill patients then follow them in the office. I love procedures but not enough to only do them. I thought ideally pulm-cc was the perfect option but I did not understand the politics of corporate medicine or greed of private practice. I’m happy as a corporate – employed intensivist but still wish I could have the best of both worlds.

    Best of luck to all you upcoming residents!

  24. Neil R Nickelsen DO

    Neil R Nickelsen D.O FACOP FAAP ret
    Never a doubt since 1971 and the next 40 years Front line ER viisits High risk deliveries serious ill children all ages and all areas of pediatric diagnosis
    Started Department of Ped in a small GP hospital and a few specialists Never regretted. Thx

  25. Teenager abt to go to high school (Im little ik)

    Wowwww before I took the test I rly felt like specializing in pediatrics but had dermatology in mind because I actually have a skin condition called eczema and it was really hard for me so I thought helping people who also have it would be a good cause but then I thought that was just stupid and a dumb reason for me to do that…
    But in the corner of my mind, all I could see myself doing was either pediatrics (because medicine seems like a very interesting field but I didn’t want to get to serious and pediatrics is like a lower class version of big doctors) or surgery because that’s also a very cautious and interesting field (haha maybe I just wanted clout) but blood….eh idk how I feel abt it. And cutting up people…. so I thought I’d hope for pediatrics

    In the end, I GOT PEDIATRICS

  26. Zane Chang

    The specialty changed when I changed my answer to only 1 question (the one about whether I am in tune with using my hands or prefer not to use my hands): I got OMM/NMM (by the answer choice, “in tune with my hands”) or internal medicine (by the answer choice, “prefer not to use my hands”).

    1. Edwin J Grasmann, DO, Esq., FACLM

      well first you need to get a BS then get into the MCAT’s then medical school… have a long way to go. When I was in first grade I knew I wanted to be a doctor or an astronaut

  27. Nicole

    I got surgery and that’s what I’ve been wanting to do. I’m only 14, but the amount of research i’ve done on it, I would love to use my hands to help someone live. And i know you can’t always save them, but the adrenaline would be amazing. I think i want to do cardiothoracic. The anatomy of the heart just makes me feel happy and to know that it’s beating and that that is at least on reason why you are living. Just to be able to hold a heart would be amazing.

  28. Ogechi Modu

    I want to really be a pediatric surgeon though am still 14 I have a desire and passion to treat children. You guys are suggesting Family Medicine no way am not doing that.

  29. Ogechi Modu

    Yeah that’s what I would want to specialize in Pediatrics but Pediatric Surgeon anyways thanks a bunch. Great website

  30. Ogechi Modu

    Wow Pediatrics again I think ur really for me but were is de surgeon afta de Pediatrics thanks a lot quiz. Cool website. You knw don’t get so worked up if u didn’t see what u wanted ur ambition,only u can determine. Your passion in whatever u do will help u become successful and great. So whatever u do make sure the passion and desire is there.

  31. Gee-nitx

    Sorry for being an intruder but if u like kids u shouldn’t hate pediatrics, that’s kinda nuh good u knw u may ignore its a fact.

  32. Mahmoud

    No matter how I try to tweak my answers, I always get emergency medicine or internal medicine. So I think getting into cardiology will probably suit me

    1. johana guerrero

      hi i just came around your comment ,well your doubt is that you don’t know what doctor you what to be.The best advice i could say is what part of science do you like the most something its fun and inspire,ask yourself could i enjoy doing this ,will it be for me,i’m a happy in here A lot of being a doctor want i have notice is that involves in Communicated and organizing .You can search specialties in fields there so many that include biology,chemistry,engineer,doctor family,surgeon,EMT,Cardio,physical, and you could make it in practice at home for example if you want to be a surgeon you can sew a banana you know imagine doing the practices or making yourself .Hope it helps!!:)

  33. johana guerrero

    dope i got pediatrics i have seen interest in that filed in me for 3 years in school i like biology,atonomy,nuero,chemist.and humanities. I just got my cosmetologist license in school which is great it was my second option of job which i love too the funny thing is that my biggest breaking thing is that im not a good talker and still got fields im interest too.;0

  34. Pingback: A Junior Doctor’s Guide to Choosing a Medical Specialty | ID Medical Blog

  35. Andrew

    I am only in middle school but I want to become a Neurological surgeon (Neurosurgeon) some day and i got surgery so I guess Its slightly accurate but Idk

    Hope you all have a great day

  36. MMW DO

    This novel and nonsensical survey predicted family medicine, not even sure it had PM&R as a choice. Is family medicine the default? I’d like to see the validation data on this one tool. Or have we all fallen for yet another April fools prank? Either way, it’s been entertaining.

  37. Dr Naegele

    Am retiring. It is difficult to look at the big picture. Now at 70 years of age, it is important to recognize to look back. I was a missionary doctor in the rural Phillippines. I saw many tropical ill ness of which most doctors have not even seen.
    Take a lot of continuing medical education courses. through time. Listen to your patients.

  38. Pingback: What Should I Study?: My favorite “field- specific” blogs to help you find your niche – FAB M.D.

  39. J. C. Peters DO D.FACN

    Well, retired after 40 years, started to study FORENSIC PATHOLOGY in grad school, later in KCCOM my primary goal was to enter a Pathology residency, enjoyed clinic so much in my third and fourth years went into Family Medicine in rural Missouri for six years. Then, went and did a residency in Psychiatry with focus on Forensic Psychiatry. My career was far from Surgery as noted by this quiz, but Family Medicine prepared me to be a better psychiatrist.

  40. Pingback: A Junior Doctor’s guide to choosing a medical specialty – ID Medical

  41. Pingback: 5 Reasons Why You Should go to Medical School |

  42. Ava

    I’m actually really interested in being an cardiac surgeon and I got surgery, but I’ll be in my 30s by the time I become one so I think I’ll have to think about something else =(

  43. Romy Hayes

    It gave me pediatrics, which is perfect for me! I love kids and babies and watching them improve and heal so that they can go on to live long lives and change the world is so rewarding! Kids are our future and so they need the best medical care possible.

  44. Team CarePro

    I highly recommend this quiz to fellow medical students and even practicing physicians who may be contemplating a change or seeking affirmation in their chosen specialty. It’s a fun and insightful journey into self-discovery within the context of our medical careers.

Leave a comment Please see our comment policy