FREE Consult: Master More - Faster - for Impressive Boards ScoresSCHEDULE CALL
FREE Consult: Master More - Faster - for Impressive Boards Scores

blog

Plastic Surgery vs. Urology: Which Specialty is Right for You?

Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.

Subscribe
by Yousmle Staff in Career

Plastic surgery vs. urology is one of the biggest debates among medical students interested in physiology. Both specialties allow you to explore the complex workings of the human body and use your skills to improve patient outcomes. However, they also have significant differences, such as the scope of practice, the work environment, and the training requirements.

How do you decide which one is right for you? In this article, we will provide helpful information and tips to help you make an intelligent decision on plastic surgery vs. urology and find a fulfilling career that matches your interests and abilities. We will also help you evaluate practical factors such as job availability, salary, and training duration.

Plastic Surgery vs. Urology: Salary and Job Security

If you want to earn a lot of money and have a steady demand for your service, plastic surgery and urology are ideal specialties to consider. But be prepared for a competitive job market, even if you graduate from a prestigious program.

Urology, meanwhile, offers more job openings. You can easily find a hospital that needs urologists, and the career outlook is positive, even if the salary is not as high as plastic surgery. But urology also comes with some challenges, such as higher burnout and less job security, which we will discuss later.

According to recent data, plastic surgeons have the highest average annual salary among medical specialties at $619,000, while urologists earn less with an average of $506,000.

Estimated Physician Average Yearly Salary by Medical Specialty in the US

Plastic surgeons earn $619,000 per year on average, while urologists earn less with $506,000 annually

Plastic Surgery vs. Urology: Competitiveness

Here we can assess the competitiveness of a specialty by looking at the unmatched rate – the % of people who apply and do not match into their preferred specialty. Plastic surgery was the most competitive residency in the 2022 Match, with a 37.3% unmatched rate among US Seniors.

To become a urologist, graduates are required to complete a one-year internship in general surgery, followed by a four-year residency program in urology. The percentage of US seniors who were unmatched in general surgery was 18.4%, making it a highly competitive residency in the 2022 match.

Plastic Surgery vs Urology

Plastic surgery had a 37.3% unmatched rate, while general surgery had an 18.4% unmatched rate among US seniors

Training Path: Residency

Plastic surgery requires completing a five to six-year residency program accredited by the Residency Review Committee for Plastic Surgery (RRC-PS). Urology involves a one-year internship in general surgery, followed by a four-year residency program in urology.

An urology residency is typically less competitive than a plastic surgery residency. Your USMLE scores, med school, and research are the main things for residency applications. Research is also a big thing for fellowship applications, and your residency program counts more, but your USMLE scores matter much less.

Plastic Surgery vs. Urology: Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a crucial factor for many medical professionals. Urologists often enjoy a slightly better work-life balance due to the nature of their work. They usually have predetermined working hours, leading to more predictable schedules.

In comparison, plastic surgeons often have demanding surgical schedules and may work long hours in the operating room. They may also be on-call for emergencies such as trauma or burn accidents.

On average, plastic surgeons work 52.2 hours per week, which is in the middle of all medical specialties. Urologists work an average of 54.7 hours, ranking near the upper end of all medical specialties.

Estimated Physician Weekly Working Hours by Medical Specialty in the US

Plastic surgeons work an average of 52.2 hours per week, while urologists work slightly more hours, at 54.7 per week.

Plastic surgeons spend an estimated 11 hours per week on administrative paperwork tasks, such as documenting pre- and post-operative notes and taking photographs. In comparison, urologists have to spend more hours with 14 hours per week, ranking near the middle end of all medical specialties.

Estimated Physician Admin/Paperwork Hours by Medical Specialty in the US

Plastic surgeons work on admin/paperwork an average of 11 hours per week, while urologists work more hours, at 14 per week.

Training Duration and Subspecialties

The training duration is a key aspect to consider when choosing between plastic surgery vs. urology. Urology has a five-year training period, while plastic surgery has a minimum of five to six-year residency program.

After completing a plastic surgery residency program, some surgeons may choose to pursue additional fellowships to further specialize in a particular aspect of plastic surgery. This can increase the length of your plastic surgery training.

Plastic Surgery vs. Urology: Job Satisfaction and Burnout Rates

Job satisfaction plays a significant role in career fulfillment. According to various studies, both plastic surgeons and urologists tend to have high job satisfaction rates, with many professionals expressing contentment with their career choice and would choose it again if given the chance.

According to recent data, plastic surgery and urology ranked at the upper end of all medical specialties with 97% of plastic surgeons stating that they would choose the same specialty again, followed by urology with 96 % of urologists feeling the same way.

Job Satisfaction Rate By Medical Specialty in the US

Plastic surgeons reported a 97% job satisfaction rate, while urologists reported a 96% satisfaction rate

Urology and plastic surgery have almost similar burnout rates. Plastic surgery has a burnout rate of 46%, which is near the lower end of all medical specialties, while urology has a burnout rate of 47%.

Burnout Rate By Medical Specialty in the US

Plastic surgeons have a burnout rate of 46%, while urologists have a burnout rate of 47%.

Plastic Surgery vs. Urology Comparison

To provide a visual overview, here’s a table comparing plastic surgery and urology:

AspectPlastic SurgeryUrology
Average SalaryHigh income, especially in specialized areas like reconstructive or cosmetic surgeryHigh but lower than plastic surgery
Job SecurityStable field with availability of both reconstructive and cosmetic proceduresSteady demand due to various urological conditions and an aging population
Training PathTypically involves 5-6 years of plastic surgery residencyTypically involves 5 years, including one preliminary general surgery and 4 years of urology residency
LifestyleGenerally predictable work schedule and increased opportunities for time off, but may involve on-call responsibilities for trauma or burn cases
More predictable work schedule and increased opportunities for time off, but may involve on-call responsibilities
Administrative PaperworkLow to Moderate documentation requirements for patient records and surgical plans Higher documentation requirements
Job SatisfactionGenerally high, satisfaction tied to successful surgeries and patient outcomesHigh
Burnout RatesLow to Moderate, depending on the workload and stress associated with surgical proceduresLow to Moderate
PersonalityRequires creativity, precision, and good communication skills, attention to aestheticsStrong analytical and diagnostic skills, along with effective communication with patients

Please note that this table serves as a general comparison. To determine the most suitable career for you, consider your personal and career priorities and goals.

Concluding Thoughts

Choosing the right specialty between plastic surgery vs. urology depends heavily on your priorities. To determine this, try reverse engineering your ideal life and identify your top priority. A helpful exercise is to write down the top five things you want to achieve in your career and personal life. Knowing these priorities will make finding a career that aligns with them easier. Often, the biggest obstacle is not a lack of knowledge about different fields but a lack of self-awareness about our own preferences.

Want FREE Cardiology Flashcards?

Cardiology is key for impressive USMLE scores. Master cardiology from a Harvard-trained anesthesiologist who scored USMLE 270 with these 130+ high-yield flash cards. You’ll be begging for cardio questions - even if vitals make you queasy.

Subscribe