In which medical specialty are physicians happiest? Year 2017

Saving lives, job security, high wages and respect among your peers are probably just a few of the many good reasons why you chose to pursue a career in medicine. But when choosing a medical specialty, your overall happiness should be at the top of your list of things to consider.

You’ll know you’ve chosen the right specialty when you’re just as happy going to work as you are after you’ve left for the day. That’s what we call achieving “work-life balance.” (And yes, it is possible to obtain within the medical field.)

When fielding their annual Lifestyle Report, global medical news site Medscape asked physicians in the U.S. to rate their happiness on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being “extremely unhappy” and 7 being “extremely happy.” The study found that well over half of the physicians surveyed said they are extremely happy at work and about three-quarters are happy outside of work, too.

But how does happiness break down by a physician’s specialty? Let’s take a deeper look at the survey and try to sort out which physicians whistle while they work and which ones grumble incoherently.

The highest percentages of physicians who said they are extremely happy at work were seen among dermatologists (43%), closely followed by ophthalmologists (42%). People in these two medical specialties were also the top two happiest at work in Medscape’s 2016 and 2014 reports.

Outside of work, urologists (76%) topped the list, though ophthalmologists, dermatologists and even allergists and immunologists, placed high, with all three specialties tied for second place at 74%.

Working in any specialty in medicine, though, you’ll constantly be putting your patients first, which is why now is the time—before you’ve chosen an area to pursue—for you to make you and your future happiness a top priority.

Below is a list of medical specialties ranked by happiness at work (from smiles to frowns), according to the study. Click through to see who is hiring for each.

Dermatology (43%)
Ophthalmology (42%)
Allergy and immunology (41%)
Orthopedics (37%)
Psychiatry and mental health (37%)
Pulmonary medicine (37%)
Pediatrics (36%)
Pathology (36%)
Oncology (36%)
Gastroenterology (35%)
Surgery (35%)
Otolaryngology (34%)
Neurology (34%)
Anesthesiology (33%)
Radiology (33%)
Obstetrics and gynecology (32%)
Plastic surgery (32%)
Urology (31%)
Diabetes and endocrinology (31%)
Infectious disease (31%)
Cardiology (31%)
Critical care (30%)
Family medicine (29%)
Emergency medicine (28%)
Internal medicine (28%)
Nephrology (24%)
Rheumatology (24%)