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Job and Industry Resources for
Careers in Medical Fields

Medical Fields

Success in a medical career demands constant learning. From cardiology to orthopedic surgery, from neurology to nephrology, from pediatrics to podiatry - every subfield requires its own specialized training. Even after you've got that hard-earned degree, you'll still need to keep your certification up to date in order to keep your license - and if you want to advance in your career, or just slide into a new subspecialty, you'll be spending even more time studying and taking tests. So here, we'll explain how to gain access to the information you'll need to succeed - and how to put it to use to better your own career outlook in the medical field.

Educate yourself on education

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No matter what stage of your medical education or career you've reached, you can help yourself out by reading up on the basic steps you'll need to take to reach your career goals. That's why it's crucial to assemble a list of go-to sources for info on certification and education in your subfield - or at least on medical education in general.

If you're still in medical school - or preparing to apply - the "Aspiring Docs" page provided by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) can help guide you through the processes of applying to medical programs, funding your medical education, and getting experience in a clinical environment. ExploreHealthCareers.org and MedicalCareerInfo.com, meanwhile, offer detailed background info - including employment outlooks and salary estimates - for a variety of medical subfields.

Assemble a list of go-to sources for info on certification and education in your subfield.

And when you're ready to get certified or recertified in a particular medical field, the website of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is a great place to start your search for helpful resources. This site offers contact info for a large list of ABMS member organizations, many of which offer certification in a particular specialty or subspecialty. And if you can't find contact info related to the specialty you're looking for, just contact the ABMS staff - they can almost certainly point you in the right direction.

Examine organizations

Though you may already be familiar with broad-based medical associations like the AAMC, the benefits and networking opportunities provided by more specialized associations may suit your career needs even more precisely. Almost every medical subfield has its own association or other professional organization - so it's worth your while to spend a few minutes investigating ones that cater to your own specialty.

It's worth your while to investigate professional organizations that cater to your own specialty.

The International Chiropractors Association, for instance, aids the growth and professional development of chiropractic professionals; the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery represents surgeons who repair and improve patients' appearance; the American Academy of Neurology serves neurologists and neuroscience professionals; the American Academy of Ophthalmology offers education and other benefits to eye care professionals; the American Podiatric Medical Association represents medical professionals who work with feet; and the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics helps guide the careers of those who conduct pharmacological research.

It's easy to track down professional associations and other organizations that offer education, legal advocacy and other career-boosting benefits to medical professionals of your own stripe. Start with a Google search for terms like "spinal medicine organization" or "cardiological professional association," substituting your own specialty where necessary. As you browse the websites of organizations you find, bookmark the ones that promise benefits you can see yourself utilizing - malpractice insurance, for example, or continuing education. Even if you don't sign up for membership today, you may be glad you held onto those links.

At the same time, stay on the lookout for a few tell-tale signs of each website's usefulness and trustworthiness: Do they provide a clear privacy policy? If not, they may share your information with third parties without your consent. Do they offer a library of free "loss-leader" information without demanding any of your contact info? If not, they may start flooding your inbox with marketing emails as soon as you create an account. A little common sense can go a long way when it comes to avoiding traps like these.

Join a social-network group (or three)

While a professional organization can help connect you with thousands of medical experts at conferences and other industry events, you can start building up your professional network right now via the social-networking websites you already use every day. Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn all play host to a wide range of large yet specialized medical communities - many of which are glad to accept new members like you.

Facebook, Google Plus and LinkedIn all host a wide range of specialized medical communities.

The Facebook groups "Medical Students" and "Doctors in Training," the Google Plus groups "Medicine+" and "Doctors Hangout," and the LinkedIn groups "Networking for Business Professionals & Doctors" and "Medical Students Network Online," are all handy sources for making new connections and staying current on medical news. Try typing your own specialty into these sites' search boxes, then setting a few advanced search filters from there, to zero in on communities that cater to your own area of medicine.

Just as you used a few common-sense checks to determine which of the professional organizations above were worth your while, you can diagnose the condition of a social-network group via a few fairly obvious indicators. Exactly how recent - and how spaced-apart - are the most recent posts? Who posts them - the same one or two people, or a variety of different members? Do new posts mostly just get a bunch of Likes, or do members actively dialogue about them in the comments? All these criteria can tell you whether a group is worthwhile as a source of up-to-date information - and whether its members are likely to answer questions you have.

However, the fact that a group is somewhat small doesn't necessarily mean it's useless, as long as the members seem well-acquainted with their field, and eager to participate in discussions. Don't let the fact that a group is marked "closed" or "private" deter you, either - many groups simply use this setting to keep out the general public. Submit a join request and see how the admins respond. An approval could help connect you with hundreds of medical professionals you'd never have met otherwise.

Get strategic about job-searching

Most medical schools will offer some kind of career center for graduates - but that doesn't mean you have to leave your employment future in their hands alone. Plenty of online resources can help you take control of your own job search - or at least get a clearer idea of what's available for medical professionals in your specialty - no matter where your education stands right now.

These job-searching resources fall into two broad categories: Recruiting firms and job databases. Generally speaking, the main difference is that recruiting firms will track down opportunities on your behalf, and collect commissions from employers once you're hired - whereas online job databases will require you to do the legwork on your own.

Job databases, on the other hand, tend to extend their reach throughout the medical industry - often even into allied health fields - but wil typically offer search tools to help you focus your search on a particular subfield, type of work environment, and geographical area. HEALTHeCAREERS.com and HealthcareJobStore.com both provide good starting points for a do-it-yourself medical job search.

Recruiters and job databases each bring their own advantages and disadvantages - and in fact, you may want to combine both approaches with your school's career program, to maximize the reach of your job search.

Developing your career in medicine will take time and dedication - there's no doubt about that. But the good news is, you don't have to do all the work on your own. With the help of professional organizations, social-network communities, recruiting firms and other career services, you'll boost your own job-searching power and your learning speed. The answers you seek may be just a few mouse-clicks away - so get searching.

Helpful links

Association of American Medical Colleges -- Lists of accredited U.S. medical colleges, information on education and residency, and details on admission processes.

American Board of Medical Specialties -- Contact info for numerous organizations that offer certification in specialized medical subfields.

ExploreHealthCareers.org -- Information on schooling, educational financing, and career development in healthcare and medicine.

See our Allied and Complementary Health Fields page for additional resources that may be of interest. You may also be interested in some of the sources listed under Natural Sciences and Engineering.

Please also peruse our career research center articles, including those for healthcare practitioners, nursing, and allied health fields.