Jump to content
Premed 101 Forums
Vanguard

Annual Specialty Competitiveness Stats

Recommended Posts

Thought this might be interesting to everyone. I took the stats from the CARMS match process and generated a first choice discipline to quota ratio. This ratio is used to roughly gauge how competitive a specialty is. If the ratio is 2.0 then there were 2 applicants that listed that discipline as their first choice for every 1 seat that was available in that discipline. In other words, the higher the ratio, the more competitive the specialty.

I took the past five years and put them side by side so people can look at how things may be changing.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/nct7mt9h7pjy7ap/2017 Year by Year Comparison of First Choice to Quota Ratios.png?dl=0


Note: I uploaded it to dropbox because the image dimensions are too big to upload to the forum.

 

Edit May.28.2015: Stats updated for this year!

Edit June.19.2016: Updated for 2016.

Edit July 4.2017: Updated for 2017.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nicely assembled!

 

A complement to these stats (page 17 - full credit to Para14zers for the original link), assembled by the CFMS was put on another thread - I was going to make a new thread to highlight them and similar stats, but since I was slow on the uptake and you've already got a great posting, I'll just put them here.

 

The 2014 version of that data can be found here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just FYI in case someone noticed: some pathology programs such as Queens and Dalhousie used to call themselves "laboratory medicine" before 2014. For example Dalhousie has 1 anatomical and 1 general pathology spot which used to be grouped under 2 "laboratory medicine" spots. Starting 2014 the only school that still use the "laboratory medicine" name is Toronto, and it's almost always the case that the applicants want anatomical pathology (the other options being hematopathology, neuropathology or microbiology).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone please tell me why is plastics so competitive?

I know the pay is not that high (lower than radio, ophtho, even cardio...), and, as a surgical subspecialty, the lifestyle isn't like the ROAD PAD either...

 

Maybe it's because of the beauty and elegance of the surgery? - which I absolutely agree...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone please tell me why is plastics so competitive?

I know the pay is not that high (lower than radio, ophtho, even cardio...), and, as a surgical subspecialty, the lifestyle isn't like the ROAD PAD either...

 

Maybe it's because of the beauty and elegance of the surgery? - which I absolutely agree...

 

I'm guessing a lot of their elective procedures are non-OHIP, so they don't show up on income surveys.

 

Maybe I'm cynical, but  I doubt the "beauty and elegance of the surgery" has much to do with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone please tell me why is plastics so competitive?

I know the pay is not that high (lower than radio, ophtho, even cardio...), and, as a surgical subspecialty, the lifestyle isn't like the ROAD PAD either...

 

Maybe it's because of the beauty and elegance of the surgery? - which I absolutely agree...

 

my understanding is the pay can be quite good - you can access private billing if you want for instance. From a technical point of view the microsurgery they can do it quite amazing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow plastics applicants would prefer to go unmatched than match into their alternative choice...

 

I think that's more a feature of going for a surgical specialty that happens to be uniquely competitive - a lot of plastics applicants do match to an alternate choice, there's just so many who don't match to plastics. Most surgical applicants understandably want to back up to another surgical specialty, and since all of them are at least moderately competitive, that's easier said than done. All surgical specialties have a decent number of applicants who go unmatched, plastics just has the double-whammy by being super-competitive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can someone please tell me why is plastics so competitive?

I know the pay is not that high (lower than radio, ophtho, even cardio...), and, as a surgical subspecialty, the lifestyle isn't like the ROAD PAD either...

 

Maybe it's because of the beauty and elegance of the surgery? - which I absolutely agree...

 

 

Yes, especially because of the sacral ulcers and nec fasc debridements. The hand surgery population is just a treat too. 

 

On the other hand, plastics does avoid dealing with fistulas, fissures, stomas, and hernias. And parastomal hernias. 

 

Generally speaking the OR is always better from the other side of the drape, particularly for those who occasionally need to scratch an itchy nose. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought plastics was supposed to be one of the highest paid specialties, no? 

It can be...when people say they aren't the highest paid, it's usually because they are comparing billing from the government. However, many have significant private streams of income from cosmetic procedures that are not included in these billings numbers (same goes for derm). A busy cosmetic derm or plastics practice will make way more than the highest paid government-billing rads/neurosurg/and even ophtho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It can be...when people say they aren't the highest paid, it's usually because they are comparing billing from the government. However, many have significant private streams of income from cosmetic procedures that are not included in these billings numbers (same goes for derm). A busy cosmetic derm or plastics practice will make way more than the highest paid government-billing rads/neurosurg/and even ophtho.

 

It's also a surgical specialty with job prospects that are, at a minimum, not terrible. Not saying they're necessarily great, but because private practice provides a bit of an outlet for practitioners, Plastics job opportunities seem to be better than those in other surgical specialties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's also a surgical specialty with job prospects that are, at a minimum, not terrible. Not saying they're necessarily great, but because private practice provides a bit of an outlet for practitioners, Plastics job opportunities seem to be better than those in other surgical specialties.

I see..it`s more so that the non-cosmetic plastic surgeons that seem to not be able to reap the benefits of a good pay or job prospects. 

 

when you choose a residency in plastics, do you already decide on which stream of plastics you want to go for or does that come after (e.g. cosmetic vs. reconstructive)? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see..it`s more so that the non-cosmetic plastic surgeons that seem to not be able to reap the benefits of a good pay or job prospects. 

 

when you choose a residency in plastics, do you already decide on which stream of plastics you want to go for or does that come after (e.g. cosmetic vs. reconstructive)? 

 

no you just do plastics which would include both.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The benefits of plastic surgery, of course, is that the high earners are never under the microscope of the government because they are private.  Some cosmetic surgeons make millions doing procedures that don't benefit society very much.  (To be fair, opthalmologists that do laser eye surgery or cosmetic oculoplastics also are not under the microscope of government billings.

 

Private practice has HUGE issues though.  Not everyone is a natural business person, and running a successful plastics practice in either the US or Canada requires solid business acumen.  It also forces one to be a bit of a sales person as opposed to a pure clinician...you will be operating on people that are often attractive but have psychological issues and so forth.  You also have to develop a good reputation - usually it means being exceptionally good.  With a large staff under you as well, you have to be a good human resources manager - not always easy.

 

While plastic surgery is competitive, one should remember that 40-60% of people that make it their first choice still get in.  This is way better than the odds of getting into medical school in the first place.  And because Canadian medical schools DON'T have marks, or even effective evaluations in clinical rotations - you don't have to be that smart to get into such a program.   Residency programs are limited in evaluating the relative skills of medical school graduates these days - they don't have USLME scores or transcipts showing relative class rank in all your 'courses' the way all US MD graduates do.   You do need to work the system though - doing simple but publishable research with the right people, electives in perhaps less competitive places so they will rank you in their top half, and old fashioned butt kissing.  I know people in plastics through family - surprisingly not all are the brightest bulbs.  Heck - at UofT, there are a couple in plastics that even went to Caribbean medical schools (though I'm sure those people are bright).

 

And yes, I'm not in medicine yet.  But coming from a family heavily in the medical field comes with a lot of knowledge about how this stuff works...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Residency programs are limited in evaluating the relative skills of medical school graduates these days - they don't have USLME scores or transcipts showing relative class rank in all your 'courses' the way all US MD graduates do.   You do need to work the system though - doing simple but publishable research with the right people, electives in perhaps less competitive places so they will rank you in their top half, and old fashioned butt kissing.  I know people in plastics through family - surprisingly not all are the brightest bulbs. 

 

This is correct. Your ability to regurgitate and intelligently process and apply information is not under the microscope during CaRMS. This is because there is no current system which allows for evaluation or the ranking of medical students based on these abilities. Unless you are total idiot (appear asleep during your electives, know nothing about basic medicine, are dangerous etc.)  your intelligence should not be the reason why you are or are not accepted into a program.

 

CaRMS is all about how organized a person has been in pursuing their career path. Have they arranged the right electives, the right projects etc. After this it is all about how suave an individual is socially and how hard working (not smart) they are clinically.  

 

Intelligence becomes a bigger deal later on. Your clinical acumen and skills become much more important during residency. With each year of residency the expectations of what you know go up, and you best show progress. But at this point you are doing it mostly for yourself. If you want to pass the next step and become staff you need to master the material and be able to prove it.  :)

Edited by rogerroger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think everyone who makes it to medical school has clearly proven they have the intrinsic intellect required for the practice of medicine. Everything during medical school is about learning the foundations to be any type of doctor which is assessed by longitudinal OSCE, end of block exams, and licensing exams. 

 

Residency really is about people who are committed to a chosen discipline, hardworking, and good team players - skills that scores on MCQ exams during medical school have very little, if any, correlation with.

 

Having said that, plastic surgery does not, but I know some residency programs do still look at your university grades prior to medical school as a means of assessing your grades - be it in your undergraduate degree, or if applicable, graduate degree. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Having said that, plastic surgery does not, but I know some residency programs do still look at your university grades prior to medical school as a means of assessing your grades - be it in your undergraduate degree, or if applicable, graduate degree. 

 

 

And the only reason they do this is because every darn applicant looks identical on paper (for the most part). There is this whole notion of competency based medical education. Those who run the medical education world right now love it. There is a value to it. But in some ways it has gone too far. It has reduced evaluations of med students down to "good" and "crap". Yeah the med students labeled who are deemed incompetent have probably part earned the ominous distinction. The system should find these people are remediate them. Otherwise it is doing a disservice to the public and the student. But how many people are so bad that they are incompetent? Not many...

 

Maybe you are average, maybe you are a prodigy. I'm sure you can think of staff physicians who fall on this spectrum when it comes to teaching. It's no different for med students. Except the degrees of achievement beyond competent are now hidden. The vast majority of "good" med students are just a name in a  vast sea of other competent med students. Pass holds no real meaning. Only fail means something. The ability to distinguish on any level has been removed. Programs fly partially blind when to comes to file review. This was certainly my perspective when I have had the privilege to review files.

 

Programs are faced with a dilemma. How do you be fair? How do you minimize risk to the program? For the most part the programs are grasping at straws in their attempts to address these issues. The system is more of a dressed up lottery than anything else. The solution for some is to use undergrad grades. Yes, it is a crappy metric. But at least it is scale in an otherwise scaleless system. I don't agree with it, but I can sympathize why programs may turn to the UG transcript.  

Edited by rogerroger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any school / program that used undergrad grades for residency decisions should be boycotted! I entered med school at 28, and won't be applying until I'm 31(.5), If they really want to use grades that 10 years old to compare me against someone who is only 4 years out, I'd lose my shit. That is not comparing apples to apples.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any school / program that used undergrad grades for residency decisions should be boycotted! I entered med school at 28, and won't be applying until I'm 31(.5), If they really want to use grades that 10 years old to compare me against someone who is only 4 years out, I'd lose my shit. That is not comparing apples to apples.

 

perhaps but we as students have to understand they problem they are facing - it was us as students that really pushed for the change. That change has a downside - it is almost impossible to really tell applicants apart and I am pretty sure students are working pretty much as hard but on other things not related to the core medicine (all the ECs, research....) and with less reliable results. People always ask how to get into field X - the truth is it is very hard to figure that out because there isn't objective criteria. Some programs will reach for any objective data they can get their hands on as a result.

 

In the US where everything is standardized you can pretty much predict the fields you can access based on your scores. We don't have that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was asked at one of the programs I interviewed at about my abysmal grades in first year undergrad (now 8 years ago). Was definitely caught off guard!

 

yeah - you get strange stuff like that :) At some schools my grades came up - at one my first year calc score actually. I remember thinking - really? After 8 years of trying to get into rads, really pushing for it and all the stuff I did etc, you are exciting about a course I took in first year, first term of university? I almost wanted to just say ok, yeah sure, but how about those two summers of research.....(desperately hoping they mattered so I didn't waste my time as opposed to travelling for 12 weeks instead....).

 

Fortunately I remembered the first rule - in an interview don't interrupt someone saying nice things about you :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any school / program that used undergrad grades for residency decisions should be boycotted! I entered med school at 28, and won't be applying until I'm 31(.5), If they really want to use grades that 10 years old to compare me against someone who is only 4 years out, I'd lose my shit. That is not comparing apples to apples.

 

My perspective on this has changed over the years. This is a problem your predecessors as med students created. I agree, UG marks are not a fair metric. But I will fire this one back at you. What measure should a program use to separate people? Prestige of a publication? Knowing the person who wrote the reference letter? Working with the clerk for 1 hour a day for 5 days? Being the leader of some sort of club or extracurricular?  

 

The reality is this, lets say you are in the top 50% of your class on academic performance. To the programs you're probably not looking that dissimilar from the guy just scraping by and getting a passing mark. That's the crux of the problem. Academic measures are completely removed from the equation. Yeah it's nice as a med student to know grades won't make or break you. It removes that stressor. But over the long term it probably does a disservice to most students.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

perhaps but we as students have to understand they problem they are facing - it was us as students that really pushed for the change. That change has a downside - it is almost impossible to really tell applicants apart and I am pretty sure students are working pretty much as hard but on other things not related to the core medicine (all the ECs, research....) and with less reliable results. People always ask how to get into field X - the truth is it is very hard to figure that out because there isn't objective criteria. Some programs will reach for any objective data they can get their hands on as a result.

 

In the US where everything is standardized you can pretty much predict the fields you can access based on your scores. We don't have that.

 

When people ask "how do I get into field X", you can still give an answer.

 

Each program has criteria they use to evaluate their applicants, which they could make available for future applicants to see. They don't. Saying "we don't have your marks to look at" is a red herring - programs may not like the criteria they have at their disposal to evaluate applicants, but they still have criteria. They could be explicit about what those criteria are and how much they matter.

 

I've made this point with much deeper explanation, but I'll try to be succinct this time - looking at undergrad marks isn't programs making the best with what they're given, it's undergrad marks making a less-than-perfect situation worse. We're talking about non-standardized evaluations of students sometimes a decade or more before they apply for residency. Yes, it's comforting to have numbers because it seems objective, but the interpretation of those numbers is entirely subjective. The current methods for evaluating applicants is too subjective, but adding another subjective component doesn't change that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...