5 Common Medical Specialties and Where These Physicians are Employed

Berry Mathew

5 Common Medical Specialties and Where These Physicians are Employed

The medical field is made up of several specialties and subspecialties within the specialties. With all of these different areas of medicine, physicians can find employment in a variety of medical settings. Here’s a look at five of the most common medical specialties and where these physicians can find employment.

#1: Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine physicians are doctors who give immediate treatment to patients to avoid death and/or further complications. Generally, emergency medicine physicians are employed in hospitals and mainly work in emergency rooms, critical care units, and intensive care units.

Some of the specialties in emergency medicine include:

  • Critical care medicine physicians are experts in treating patients in critical and intensive care units, specifically trauma patients and patients with multiple organ dysfunction.
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) work in ambulatory and other pre-hospital settings.
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine physicians work in hospice settings alongside other healthcare professionals to relieve the suffering experienced by patients with terminal illnesses.
  • Medical Toxicology physicians treat patients who were exposed to dangerous drugs or chemicals, and they work in government, academic, clinical, and public health settings.
  • Pain Medicine physicians treat patients experiencing acute or chronic pain due to another illness and work in both hospitals and outpatient settings.
  • Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine physicians treat carbon monoxide poisoning, diving accidents, and tissue damage from radiation.

#2: Family Medicine

Family medicine physicians are doctors who provide general care to patients of all ages, and may even provide continuous care throughout the life cycle. They’re usually primary care providers (PCPs) for most people and work in public and private practices.

Some of the patients/specializations of family medicine physicians include:

  • Elderly/Geriatric Medicine, usually those over the age of 65
  • Infants and children/Pediatric Medicine, although pediatric medicine is a separate specialty of medicine— but family medicine physicians can treat children
  • Teenagers/Adolescent Medicine

#3: Internal Medicine

Internal medicine physicians, or internists, are doctors who provide long-term health to patients— usually adults. General internists are trained in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of conditions that affect the internal organs, and typically work in hospitals and internal medicine practices.

Some of the specialties of internal medicine include:

  • Cardiology: cardiologists (heart doctors) work in hospitals, cardiology practices, or multi-specialty practices. 
  • Endocrinology: endocrinologists specialize in metabolic disorders and work in endocrinology practices or multi-specialty practices.
  • Gastroenterology: gastroenterologists treat diseases of the digestive system and work in dedicated gastroenterology practices.
  • Hematology: hematologists (blood doctors) work in hospitals, blood banks, and even in oncology (cancer treatment) centers because hematology and oncology are interrelated.
  • Infectious Disease: similar to pathologists, these physicians diagnose and treat infectious diseases of the organs, and may even specialize in travel and preventative medicine.
  • Nephrology:  nephrologists (kidney doctors) can be found working in dialysis centers/dedicated nephrology practices and multi-specialty practices.
  • Pulmonology: pulmonologists (lung doctors) work in hospitals, pulmonology centers, and multi-specialty practices.
  • Rheumatology: rheumatologists treat diseases of the joints, muscles, bones, and tendons in dedicated rheumatology clinics and multi-specialty practices. 

#4: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 

Physical medicine physicians evaluate and treat patients with physical disabilities that affect function. These physicians usually work in rehabilitation centers that focus on restoring physical ability.

Some of the specialties in physical medicine include:

  • Brain Injury Medicine physicians work alongside other physicians to evaluate and treat brain injuries.
  • Neuromuscular Medicine physicians diagnose and treat conditions related to the nerves and muscles, and they usually work in neurology clinics.
  • Sports Medicine physicians diagnose and treat injuries related to sports and exercise, and they typically work in athletic settings.

#5: Sleep Medicine

Sleep medicine is a subspecialty within a lot of medical specialties that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders and disturbances. Physicians of all types and backgrounds can become certified  in sleep medicine, including:

  • Anesthesiologists
  • Family medicine physicians
  • Internists
  • Neurologists
  • Pediatricians
  • Pulmonologists

Sleep medicine physicians can find employment in dedicated sleep centers and laboratories, but can also work in a variety of clinical settings.

Surgery is another common area of specialization in medicine, with the majority of surgeons being employed in hospitals or specialty surgical settings, depending on the type of surgery being performed. Surgeons can also specialize in a certain area as well, with cardiac, cosmetic, endocrinology, gastroenterology, gynecology, pediatric, thoracic (chest wall), and vascular (blood vessels) surgery being a few examples.

Although physicians of all types work in a variety of clinical and nonclinical settings, most physicians work in clinical (hospital and private practice) settings. The job outlook for physicians as a whole is expected to grow over the next decade.