When discussing what is the hardest surgeon to become, everyone believes their field is competitive, and they are not mistaken as any residency application process is difficult. Nevertheless, certain specialties are more challenging to enter and competitive than others.

Often, there is a great deal of pride at stake, but whether or not a medical field is regarded as competitive does not determine whether an individual is a good or bad doctor. The discussion on what is the hardest doctor to become merely lists the most difficult specialties to break into. Additionally, premeds and medical students can benefit greatly from knowing which specialties are the most difficult to enter, as every specialization is competitive.

What is the most difficult Doctor specialty?

Those interested in making a career as a medical practitioner often wonder — what is the most difficult doctor to become? And while all medical fields are difficult, a few others require aspiring individuals to persevere more. So let us look at the top 5 most competitive specialties that conclude the debate of what is the hardest doctor to become.

  • Plastic Surgery

Instead of working with bones as Orthopaedic Surgeons do, Plastic Surgeons concentrate on soft tissue, such as skin, muscle, and fat. The word “plastic” derives from the Greek verb “plastikos,” which means “to mould,” and refers to how tissues are reshaped and manipulated during plastic surgery.

Plastic surgery requires individuals who are thorough, systematic, and detail-oriented. Compared to other professions, the pay is less predictable, but one can still enjoy an above-average standard of living.

  • Dermatology

Dermatologists treat conditions affecting the skin, hair, and nails from a medical and surgical standpoint. More than 3,000 disorders, including eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, can be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist.

The good lifestyle and work-life balance offered to practitioners of dermatology are not provided by most other medical specialties. Dermatologists often rank among the top 5 highest paid medical specialities.

  • Neurosurgery

The central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) are the two primary parts of the nervous system that neurological surgery focuses on. The brain and spinal cord are included in the CNS, and all other bodily nerves are included in the PNS. Surgery on the CNS and PNS are both covered by neurosurgery and is one of the few disciplines that can save lives.

Neurosurgeons can directly touch, alter, and enhance the central nervous system. Though it has one of the most difficult lifestyles, as one might be summoned into a hospital at the last minute to save someone’s life, it is an intellectually stimulating and fascinating field with an exciting career. When weighing the options of what is the hardest doctor to become, those pursuing neurosurgery undeniably make up a considerable number. 

  • ENT

The surgical subspecialty of ENT treats conditions affecting the head and neck. This comprises malignancies of the head and neck, thyroid, parathyroid, larynx, nose, sinuses, ears, and endocrinology, as well as cancer in the head and neck.

The lifestyle of an ENT is great, with high pay while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For individuals who desire to be able to prioritize their family along with their job, this makes it the perfect specialization. The disadvantage is that it deals with a very small, intricate, and challenging body area.

  • Orthopedic Surgery

The musculoskeletal system, including fractures and shattered bones, is studied under orthopaedic surgery. Tendons, ligaments, and nerve or vascular damage are also dealt with during surgeries.

Being an Orthopaedic Surgeon is incredibly satisfying because the results are typically positive. After surgery, most patients see a significant improvement in their health. Orthopedic surgery, like many surgical specialties, can involve demanding hours, but as a trade-off, orthopaedic surgeons are typically the top or second-highest-paid doctors.

A Note for Medical Students

Apart from the top 5 specialties mentioned above, Interventional Radiology, Radiation Oncology, Vascular Surgery, General Surgery and Med/Peds are among the most difficult domains to become a doctor. For those looking forward to becoming a doctor, it is crucial to understand each specialty’s pros and cons and choose the most suitable path.