In which medical specialty are physicians happiest?

Consider your happiness—both at and outside of work—when choosing a medical specialty.

In which medical specialty are physicians happiest?

Saving lives, job security, high wages and respect among your peers are probably just a few of the many good reasons why you chose to pursue a career in medicine. But when choosing a medical specialty, your overall happiness should be at the top of your list of things to consider.

You’ll know you’ve chosen the right specialty when you’re just as happy going to work as you are after you’ve left for the day. That’s what we call achieving “work-life balance.” (And yes, it is possible to obtain within the medical field.)

When fielding their annual Lifestyle Report, global medical news site Medscape asked more than 15,000 physicians in the U.S. in more than 29 specialties to rate their happiness outside of work. The study found that the generation most happy outside of work is millennials (81%), followed by Gen X (77%) and boomers (76%). 

But how does happiness break down by a physician’s specialty? The highest percentages of physicians who said they are extremely happy outside of work were seen among rheumatologists (60%), tied by general surgery (60%). 

Working in any specialty in medicine, though, you’ll constantly be putting your patients first, which is why now is the time—before you’ve chosen an area to pursue—for you to make you and your future happiness a top priority.

Below is a list of medical specialties ranked by happiness outside of work (from smiles to frowns), according to the study. Click through to see who is hiring for each.

  1. Rheumatology (60%)
  2. General surgery (60%)
  3. Public health and preventive medicine (59%)
  4. Allergy and immunology (59%)
  5. Orthopedics (58%)
  6. Urology (58%)
  7. Ophthalmology (58%)
  8. Pediatrics (57%)
  9. Dermatology (56%)
  10. Physical medicine and rehabilitation (55%)
  11. Plastic surgery (55%)
  12. Obstetrics and gynecology (54%)
  13. Emergency medicine (53%)
  14. Otolaryngology (53%)
  15. Infectious disease (52%)
  16. Radiology (51%)
  17. Psychiatry (51%)
  18. Oncology (51%)
  19. Cardiology (51%)
  20. Nephrology (51%)
  21. Pathology (50%)
  22. Anesthesiology (50%)
  23. Family medicine (50%)
  24. Pulmonary medicine (49%)
  25. Diabetes and endocrinology (49%)
  26. Gastroenterology (49%)
  27. Internal medicine (48%)
  28. Critical care (44%)
  29. Neurology (44%)

Looking for a job that makes you happy?

Work-life balance is crucial to your happiness. Do you need some help finding a job that fits the bill? Join Monster for free todayAs a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of jobs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get job alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads.