Medical Specialty

How Competitive is an Otolaryngology Residency?

You want to become an otolaryngologist? Here's what it takes to match into residency.

If you want a career as an otolaryngologist, here is how competitive the medical specialty is to match into an otolaryngology residency. Otolaryngology is the branch of medicine that involves the surgical and medical care of the ear, nose and throat (often referred to as an ENT).

Statistics on the Otolaryngology Match

In 2020, otolaryngology had a total of 493 applicants and 350 spots. This equates to 1.41 applicants per position. Of the 310 U.S. MD seniors who applied, 104 did not match.

Total Positions Total Number of Applicants Number of Applicants per Position
350 493 1.41

Osteopathic (DO) Students Matching into Otolaryngology

In 2020, the total number of DO Senior Applicants was 30. Of those, 17 matched, for a 56.67% match percentage. This makes otolaryngology a Not Friendly field for osteopathic students.

Total DO Applicants Matched DO Applicants DO Match Percentage
30 17 56.67%

International Medical Graduates (IMGs) Matching into Otolaryngology

Because there are 1.18 U.S. MD applicants per 1 program spot, otolaryngology is considered to be Not Friendly for IMGs students.

Honors, Research and Awards for Otolaryngology Residency Candidates

The average matched U.S. applicant had 8.6 volunteer experiences and 3.5 work experiences. They had 6.1 research experiences and 13.7 abstracts, presentations and publications. That makes this specialty on where the number of publications needed is High.

Research Experiences Abstracts, Presentations and Publications Work Experiences Volunteer Experiences
6.1 13.7 3.5 8.6

Average Step 1 and Step 2 Scores for Otolaryngology

The mean U.S. Step 1 score for matched medical students in otolaryngology was 248. The mean USMLE Step 2 CK score was 256.

Overall Competitiveness of Otolaryngology Residency and Chances of Matching

The overall competitiveness level of otolaryngology is High for a U.S. senior. With a Step 1 score of 200, the probability of matching is 42%. With a Step 1 score of >240, the probability is 78%.

How long is a residency in otolaryngology? What is the lifestyle like for an otolaryngology resident?

Compared to other residencies, otolaryngology has a Long training length. As far as lifestyle, otolaryngologists generally have a Medium 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 an otolaryngologist?

The average salary post-graduation from an otolaryngology residency is $455,000, 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 an otolaryngology residency?

Following the successful completion of general otolaryngology 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 otolaryngology. Currently, the American Board of Otolaryngology certifies the following fellowships:

What are the best otolaryngology residencies in the country?

The best residency for otolaryngology, 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 otolaryngology including:

    • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore)
    • University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
    • University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (Iowa City)

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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