Shortest residency programs in 2021 with the highest pay


A good number of medical students are looking out for the shortest residency programs. This due to the intensive training they will have to go through, or the time they will spend during the training. This makes them detest long residency programs.

Choosing a branch of medicine to specialize in can be quite a process. This is because, in addition to an affinity for that research field, you will also need the energy and mental strength to be successful in that field. 

In this article, I have outlined the shortest residency programs with the highest pay, in which you will spend the shortest amount of time in training.

What is medical residency?

A medical residency program is simply training that medical students will undergo right after they have completed their medical school. You will not be able to enroll in a medical residency program without first, completing your medical school. This internship is taken in a hospital, under the supervision of a consultant or a senior registered physician, and is aimed at building your practical medical experiences. Upon completion, this program makes you eligible for board certification to legally practice medicine.

Step by Step Process for getting into a residency program

Applying to a medical residency program is one that has a demanding process. A step-by-step process of getting into a residency program is outlined below.

  1. You need to complete a registration with the USMLE via the ECFMG.
  2. Next, you have to pass the USMLE examinations.
  3. You should acquire relevant clinical experience before starting the USMLE.
  4. Complete your registration with the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges).
  5. Select your preferred residency program.
  6. Obtain an ECFMG token and proceed to make a registration with ERAS (Electronic Residency Application Service).
  7. Complete your documentation and submit your ERAS application.
  8. Attend the interview for medical residency.
  9. Complete your registration with NRMP (National Residency Match Program) and get your residency post–match.
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What is the easiest residency to get into?

The ease of getting into a residency program is dependent on the level of competition in that very branch. The residency program with the least competition in Family Medicine. This makes it the easiest residency to get into.

How long is Residency in the USA?

The length of your residency program depends on the branch you are specializing in. However, the range for the residency program moves from 1 year to 7 years, according to your branch of specialization.

Internal Medicine Residency Salary 

The salary during internal medicine residency varies according to the level of training. The PGY 1 level receives an annual salary of about 58 642USD. PGY 2 level gets a salary of 60 618USD circa, per year. For level PGY 3, the annual salary is about 62 577USD. You also get some non-specific benefits and rewards in addition to your salary.

Shortest residency programs in 2021

The different residency programs have different times requires for completion. This period of training is the period between being a physician and a practitioner. This is why many medical people want their residency program to last for as short as possible. I have listed the shortest residency programs available in 2021.

1 year preliminary/transitional internship residency program:

This one-year internship in the preliminary/transitional residency program is an experience level that is required for all the fields. It is a practical experience you should have acquired before applying for residency.  

3 years residency programs:

  • Anaesthesiology  
  • Ophthalmology
  • Dermatology
  • Pediatrics
  • Neurology
  • Internal Medicine
  • Family Practice

3 – 4 years residency programs:

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Pathology
  • Physical medicine
  • Obstetrics / Gynaecology
  • Radiology-Diagnostic
  • Radiology Oncology
  • Psychiatry

5 years residency program

  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • General surgery
  • Urology

6 – 7 years residency programs

  • Plastic surgery
  • Neurosurgery

Highest pay residency programs 2021

I have outlined below, the residency programs with the highest pay in 2021.

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This branch of medicine focuses on managing patients with very low or no response to stimuli during medical procedures like surgeries. The median salary for academic Anesthesiology doctors is 353 000USD. The median salary for clinical Anesthesiology doctors is 426 000USD.  


Ophthalmologists take care of the diagnosis, structure, treatment, and function of the entire visual system using medical and rehabilitative services. The median salary for academic ophthalmology doctors is 304 000USD. The median salary for clinical ophthalmology doctors is 370 000USD


Dermatology is the medical branch that takes care of the skin, its diseases, and disorders. The care is given also extends to mucous membranes, the nails, and the hairs. The median salary for academic dermatology doctors is 315 000USD. The median salary for clinical dermatology doctors is 450 000USD.

Family Practice

Family Practice deals with comprehensive medical care for everyone despite their age. They are commonly known as the ‘General Doctors’. Their training involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illnesses. They have training from some other branches like internal medicine, surgery, obstetrics, and gynecology, etc. The median salary for academic family practice doctors is 192 000USD. The median salary for clinical family practice doctors is 211 000USD.  

Emergency Medicine

Emergency medicine is in charge of recognizing, evaluating, and taking care of patients under emergency medical conditions of different degrees of severity (injuries or illnesses). The median salary for academic emergency medicine doctors is 272 000USD. The median salary for clinical emergency medicine doctors is 320 000USD.


Pathology focuses on diseases, their nature, causes, cure, and prevention. It is a diagnostic branch of medicine that combines laboratory exercises with clinical experience. The median salary for academic pathology doctors is 258 000USD. The median salary for clinical pathology doctors is 363 000USD.

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Obstetrics/Gynaecology academic

This branch combines obstetrics and gynecology. They take care of the medical health of the woman and the female reproductive system. The median salary for academic obstetrics/gynecology doctors is 274 000USD. The median salary for clinical obstetrics/gynecology doctors is 309 000USD.  

Orthopedic surgery

The orthopedic surgeon is in charge of musculoskeletal diseases, injuries, and disorders and treats those ailments using surgical, medical, and physical methods. The median salary for academic orthopedic doctors is 504 000USD. The median salary for clinical orthopedic doctors is 559 000USD.  


Otolaryngology is a branch of medicine that focuses on treating lesions and diseases that are above the shoulders. However, they do not treat disorders related to the eye and lesions on the brain. The median salary for academic Otolaryngology doctors is 364 000USD. The median salary for clinical Otolaryngology doctors is 401 000USD.  

General surgery

The general surgery branch of medicine deals with the management of varieties of diseases and disorders in the body that would require surgery. They take care of diagnosis, pre-operation, and post-operation care. The median salary for academic general surgery doctors is 358 000USD. The median salary for clinical general surgery doctors is 383 000USD.


It is important for you to start planning the branch of medicine you wish to go into. In addition to your passion, it is necessary to consider the length of time you will spend during the residency program, and of course, how much pay you get. When you consider these things, it will help to channel your choice of a residency program.

You might also want to check: Cheapest colleges of medicine in Canada.

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