Medical Specialty

How Competitive is a Family Medicine Residency?

You want to practice family medicine? Here's what it takes to match into residency.

If you want a career practicing family medicine, here is how competitive the medical specialty is to match into for residency. Family medicine is the branch of medicine that involves the primary care of patients of all ages.

Statistics on the Family Medicine Match

In 2020, family medicine had a total of 4,913 applicants and 4,662 spots. This equates to 1.05 applicants per position. Of the 1,459 U.S. MD seniors who applied, 56 did not match.

Total Positions Total Number of Applicants Number of Applicants per Position
4,662 4,913 1.05

Osteopathic (DO) Students Matching into Family Medicine

In 2020, the total number of DO Senior Applicants was 1,365. Of those, 1,281 matched, for a 93.85% match percentage. This makes family medicine a Very Friendly field for osteopathic students.

Total DO Applicants Matched DO Applicants DO Match Percentage
1,365 1,281 93.85%

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Matching into Family Medicine

Because there are only 0.32 U.S. MD applicants per 1 program spot, family medicine is considered to be Very Friendly for IMGs students.

Honors, Research and Awards for Family Medicine Residency Candidates

The average matched U.S. applicant had 8 volunteer experiences and 3.5 work experiences. They had 2.2 research experiences and 3.3 abstracts, presentations and publications. That makes this specialty on where the number of publications needed is Low.

Research Experiences Abstracts, Presentations and Publications Work Experiences Volunteer Experiences
2.2 3.3 3.5 8

Average Step 1 and Step 2 Scores for Family Medicine

The mean U.S. Step 1 score for matched medical students in family medicine was 221. The mean USMLE Step 2 CK score was 238.

Overall Competitiveness of Family Medicine Residency and Chances of Matching

The overall competitiveness level of family medicine is Low for a U.S. senior. With a Step 1 score of 200, the probability of matching is 92%. With a Step 1 score of >240, the probability is 99%.

How long is a residency in family medicine? What is the lifestyle like for a family medicine resident?

Compared to other residencies, family medicine has a Short training length. As far as lifestyle, physicians in family medicine generally have a Low stress lifestyle. Of course, lifestyle is very subjective and if you love what you do, it does not matter! And if you hate what you do, it can still be rough no matter what. In medicine, you should find the specialty that makes you enjoy your everyday interactions with patients, staff and colleagues.

What is the average salary for family medicine?

The average salary post-graduation from a family medicine residency is $234,000, provided one does not go on to sub-specialty training which can change the salary substantially. Academic versus private practice as well as location also play a large role in physician compensation.

What are fellowships one can do from a family medicine residency?

Following the successful completion of general family medicine residency, some physicians may choose to continue their graduate medical education with subspecialty training. Board-certified subspecialists complete additional training and qualifying examinations beyond those required for board certification in family medicine. Currently, the American Board of Family Medicine certifies FM physicians, who can specialize in the following:

    • Academic Fellowship
    • Community Medicine Fellowship
    • Geriatric Medicine Fellowship
    • Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship
    • Integrative Medicine Fellowship
    • Reproductive Health Care & Advocacy Fellowship
    • Sleep Medicine Fellowship
    • Sports Medicine
    • Pain Medicine

What are the best family medicine residencies in the country?

The best residency for family medicine, or any specialty, is very driven by personal preference and situation. How close you are to family, loved ones, the type of training environment, the opportunities available are all things to take into consideration above and beyond name recognition of a program. However, there are some highly regarded names in the world of family medicine including:

Much of the data above is available from the AAMC Charting the Outcomes report.

Explore Other Specialties:

SpecialtyAverage Step 1 Score (Matched)Average Step 2 Score (Matched)
Anesthesiology234246
Child Neurology233246
Dermatology248256
Diagnostic Radiology241249
Emergency Medicine233247
Family Medicine221238
General Surgery237249
Internal Medicine235248
Internal Medicine/Pediatrics236250
Interventional Radiology247255
Neurological Surgery248252
Neurology232245
Obstetrics and Gynecology232248
Orthopaedic Surgery248255
Otolaryngology248256
Pathology233242
Pediatrics228245
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation228241
Plastic Surgery249256
Psychiatry227241
Radiation Oncology243250
Vascular Surgery239247
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