8 Popular Types of Doctors & Years of Schooling

After starting medical school, deciding on a specialty is a big decision. It takes years of education and hard work to become a doctor. You would need to complete your high school and then attend 

  • 4 years of undergraduate
  • 4 years of medical college
  • 3-7 years for residency

In total it can take you about 11-15 years or more to become a doctor!

Here are the 8 most popular types of doctors and the years of residency/fellowship needed to reach the top of each career.

Types of Doctors


Dermatologists focus on treating diseases related to skin, hair, and nails. They also take care of conditions such as skin cancer, acne, eczema, etc. 

Popular subspecialties include:


They combine the study of dermatology and pathology. They examine skin, hair, and nail samples to diagnose diseases.

Pediatric Dermatology:

This is a field of dermatology that mainly focuses on children and treating and preventing diseases related to skin, hair, and nails in children.

Years of fellowship training:

Dermatologists4 years
Dermatopathology1-2 years
Pediatric Dermatology1 year

Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine physicians work in the emergency room. They are often responsible for making life and death decisions. They need to be quick, work well under pressure, and help in preventing death or disability.

Popular subspecialties include:

Paediatric Emergency Medicine:

They mainly focus on teens and children who come to the emergency room. They are specialized in treating children who are acutely ill or injured.

Sports Medicine:

A branch of medicine that deals with preventing injury during sports and exercise.


Toxicology physicians deal with monitoring, preventing, and treatment of injury and illness of diseases related to exposure to chemical, biological and radiological agents.

Years of fellowship training:

Emergency Medicine3-4 years
Paediatric Emergency Medicine2 years
Sports Medicine1-2 years
Toxicology2 years

Family Medicine

Family medicine doctors focus on the health and well-being of the whole family. They are superficially trained in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology.

Popular subspecialties include:


Geriatric family doctors get additional training to treat older patients.

Years of fellowship training:

Family Medicine3 years
Geriatrics2 years


A neurological specialist deals with diseases of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral, nerves, and muscles. These include diseases such as Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy, etc. 

Popular subspecialties include:

Electromyography (EMG):

Electromyography physicians specialize mainly in brain and nerve disorders. They play a major role in diagnosing muscle and nerve dysfunction.


Neurooncologists diagnose and treat tumors of the brain and nervous systems.

Neuromuscular diseases:

These types of doctors provide care for patients with neuromuscular disorders.

Years of fellowship training:

Neurology4 years
Electromyography (EMG)1-2 years
Neuro-oncology1-2 years
Neuromuscular diseases1-2 years


Ophthalmologists are responsible for preventing and treating eye diseases. They perform eye surgeries, treat infections, prescribe eyeglasses, etc.

Popular subspecialties include:


A neuro-ophthalmologist is a doctor that specializes in eye diseases that result from neurological problems.


A retina specialist is a doctor that specializes in eye conditions mainly related to the retina and the vitreous body of the eye. They are also called vitreoretinal specialists.


Glaucoma specialists are ophthalmologists that, after training, are skilled to treat patients with glaucoma.

Oculoplastic surgery:

Oncoplastic surgeons are specialized ophthalmologists that perform surgeries around the eye. These surgeries can be performed for cosmetic reasons or medical conditions.

Years of fellowship training:

Ophthalmology4 years
Neuro-ophthalmology2 years
Retina2 years
Glaucoma2 years
Oculoplastic1 year

Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgeons mainly work on reconstructive procedures. They help patients with birth defects, illnesses, burns, etc. Some also perform surgeries for cosmetic reasons. 

Popular subspecialties include:

Hand Surgery:

They are specialized in doing reconstructive procedures of the upper extremities. These include the fingers, wrists, arms, elbows, etc.

Years of fellowship training:

Plastic Surgery5-6 years
Hand Surgery2 years

Internal Medicine

Internal medicine specialists are doctors that help in the treatment and prevention of internal diseases. They specialize in internal organs and the systems of the body.

Popular subspecialties include:

Allergy And Immunology:

These are physicians who are trained to treat different types of allergic and immunological diseases. For example, asthma, and other immunodeficiency disorders.


Cardiology is a specialty of internal medicine that mainly deals with the heart and its disorders. It involves the diagnosis and treatment of heart conditions such as congenital heart diseases, heart failure, coronary artery disease, valvular heart disease, electrophysiology, etc.

Critical Care:

These are skilled doctors that take care of patients who are critically ill, and in the intensive care unit (ICU).


Endocrinologists treat diseases that are related to different hormonal problems. These include diseases such as diabetes, thyroid problems, menopause, etc.

Hematology And Oncology:

These are doctors that are specialized in treating cancers of the blood. This includes screening, preventing, and treating blood disorders such as leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, etc.

Years of fellowship training:

Internal Medicine3 years
Allergy And Immunology2 years
Cardiology3 years
Critical Care2-3 years
Endocrinology2 years
Hematology And Oncology2-3 years


An obstetrics/gynecologist is a doctor that specializes in female reproductive health. Obstetrics is mainly involved with pregnant women and delivering babies. While a gynecologist is involved in the overall health of the reproductive system and deals with, sexually transmitted disease, urinary tract diseases, cervical cancer, etc. Some doctors specialize in both fields.

Popular subspecialties include:


Infertility experts are doctors that help patients get pregnant who are unable to conceive. They deal with disorders for both males and females that may be the cause for the patient’s infertility.

Years of fellowship training:

Obstetrics/Gynaecology4 years
Infertility3 years

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