10 Happiest Doctor Specialities that offer the Best Lifestyle

Kristen Campbell
May. 25, 2020
10-minute read

Becoming a doctor is no easy feat. Medical school is competitive, grueling, and heavy on the pocket. If you’re going to invest a significant amount of time and resources to earn your M.D. or D.O., then you want to ensure that the medical career that lies ahead is fulfilling and rewarding–financially and otherwise.

As of 2019, there are more than eight hundred sixty thousand active physicians in Canada of which 52% are family physicians and 48% are specialists of other disciplines. Having a satisfactory doctor lifestyle is dependent on multiple factors such as your day-to-day lifestyle, work hours, remuneration, work stress, and more. Being a part of the healthcare industry can sometimes take a toll on some of the best doctors and negatively impact their work-life balance.

Having the right information regarding the complete list of doctor specialties and medical subspecialties, students who are still deciding on their medical field can pick doctor specialties with the best lifestyle and make an appropriate decision for their desired career path. After all, each specialty demands time and resources to master it.

4 Factors Affecting The Work-Life Balance Of A Doctor

As if the medical profession wasn’t arduous enough, choosing one of the most satisfying doctor specialties to maintain a good work-life balance is an important decision that medical students, interns, and residents often stress out about. As a medical professional you often work under a lot of pressure that can wreak havoc on your mental and physical wellbeing.

Therefore, when trying to find out which areas are the happiest doctor specialties, consider the following factors to ensure a good work-life balance:

The Perfect Personality Alignment

Efficiency at any job is directly proportional to work satisfaction. Your personality trait plays a crucial role in the selection of your medical specialty. The Internet offers numerous quizzes to help you analyze your perfect match.

However, while not all of them are totally reliable they are a good starting point. Finding a specialty that compliments your personality can have a direct impact on the quality of service as well as your happiness quotient as a doctor.

You should take the time to explore your interests, like analysing what courses you’ve enjoyed in school or what type of work you’re comfortable with (i.e. emergency, surgery, etc.) to help choose a speciality that best suits your personality.

The Financial Aspect

A healthy bank balance is a major part of job satisfaction. Doctor specialties that pay well also determine the quality of your overall lifestyle.

However, it’s important to note that just because a specialty offers good monetary benefits, it doesn’t promise great emotional and physical well-being. For example, plastic surgeons and cardiologists get paid slightly more compared to family physicians and pediatricians.

However, the latter are less stressed as compared to the former. While a particular specialty promises financial stability, it does not guarantee a high happiness quotient at work.

The Skill Of Balancing

While being a doctor is a busy job, a few specialties do offer a good work-life balance. The best ones normally include regular working hours, a good social life, and good compensation.

Pathology, dermatology, and family medicine are often considered to be relatively less stressful than the other doctor specialties.

The Long-Term Plan

Before picking a specialty, you must know what your future goals are and what you’re working towards.

Choosing and sticking with a doctor specialty, in the long-haul, demands commitment and dedication. It’s crucial that your vision for your future is aligned with the specialty that you’ve chosen to ensure long-term job satisfaction.

Top 10 Medical Specialities With The Best Lifestyle

Irrespective of the doctor specialty you choose, you’ll always have to put your patients first. This is why it’s important to choose an area that makes you and your future life happiness a top priority.

Here is our list of the top 10 happiest doctor specialties according to work-life balance and personality:

1. Family Medicine

Family medicine is the primary care specialty in Canada that focuses on caring for the community as a whole. It is one of the most fulfilling specialties especially if you like interacting with people.

It also offers normal work hours and a good social life. Not only can you join other doctors at an already established office but you can also buy or set up your own medical practice for even more flexibility.

2. Diagnostic Radiology

Radiology is considered to be one of the less stressful doctor specialties. Your primary role here would be to use imaging techniques to diagnose a disease and act as a consultant to other physicians.

If you prefer working alone and don’t like a lot of interaction, then this could be a good field for you.

3. Dermatology

A dermatologist focuses on the problems of the skin, mouth, external genitalia, hair, and nails.

This specialty, like family medicine, offers a fixed number of office hours and an opportunity to interact and form long-term relationships with your patients.

4. Anesthesiology

As an Anesthesiologist, your job is to provide pain management, critical care, and perioperative care. You may have to work long hours, but you’ll have better control. This is considered to be one of the less stressful specialties. Moreover, if you’re an introvert then this doctor specialty can be great for you since there’s very little to no patient interaction.

5. Ophthalmology

As an Ophthalmologist, you’ll be involved with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and issues that are associated with the eye. This field of medical specialty gives you good control over your working hours and is not deemed as too stressful. The specialty offers the opportunity to build patient-loyalty over a period of time.

6. Pediatrics

If you love kids, then this will be one of the most satisfying and fulfilling medical specialties for you. As a Pediatrician, your primary focus would be on the physical, emotional, and social health of infants and kids. The only caveat is you may not have a lot of control over your work hours.

7. Psychiatry

Not only does psychiatry as a medical specialty pay well, but it also offers a shorter work week than other specialties and  it’s perfect for those who have an extrovert personality and like helping people.

8. Clinical Immunology/Allergy

As a clinical immunologist/allergist, you’ll be dealing with some of the atypical responses of the body’s immune system. This medical field helps generally healthy patients with small medical problems. This field is not deemed very stressful and offers regular working hours most of the time.

9. General/Clinical Pathology

A Pathologist (general or clinical) is primarily involved in learning about the causes, forms, and diagnosis of a disease. Similar to radiologists, they work as a consultant to other physicians and advise them of a possible course of treatment. It’s a great specialty for doctors who are introverts and don’t prefer a lot of patient interaction.

10. Nephrology

A nephrologist treats diseases and infections of the kidneys and urinary system. It’s one of the less grueling medical specialties that offer decent working hours with relatively less work stress. As a nephrologist, you have the option to work at a hospital or open your own medical practice.

What Medical Speciality is the Right Choice For you?

Helping patients, saving lives, high wages, and respect among your peers and society are some of the great reasons to pursue a career in medicine. However, when it comes to choosing a specialty, you must keep your personality and your life’s long-term goals in mind. To be efficient at your job, you need to feel fulfilled and happy.

You know you’ve chosen the right specialty when the study of it excites you and you’re just as happy going to work as you are after you’re done for the day. That’s where the ‘work-life balance’ really comes into the picture.

Being satisfied in your career is a crucial aspect to consider when exploring your medical specialty options. The way you feel at work will often  spill over into your personal life and can affect your health and relationships.


This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by RBC Ventures Inc. or its affiliates.

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Kristen Campbell is a content writer with experience writing for technology, real estate, healthcare, and higher education. She holds a BA from McMaster University and a B-Comm. from the University of Calgary, and is passionate about creating content that’s both educational and engaging.
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