How To Choose A Residency Program

There are hundreds of great family medicine residency programs in the U.S., so narrowing down your search can be somewhat difficult! If you need some advice on how to choose a residency program, consider these factors in your search to help you choose the best program for you!


Accreditation/Boards Pass Rate

In short, you want to know that the program you want will prepare you to competently practice medicine by the time you finish. Worrying about whether or not your program will lose its accreditation/funding/etc. is not something  you want to be doing!


This one is arguably one of the most important factors to consider, since you’ll be spending your next 3 years (if you’re going for Family Medicine) with these people!

What was the general vibe you got when you were visiting/from your interview or audition rotation? Did you like the people there? Did the residents seem happy? Were the preceptors supportive of the residents, and were they happy to teach and answer questions? What’s the patient population like?

Focus/Interests/Mission Statement

Does the residency program have the things that are important to you? Are you interested in sub-specializing in the future? Is it an unopposed program (a single residency program in that hospital) or are there other residency programs there? Do you have a preference between the two? If it’s the latter, do the different residency programs work with one another?

Are you interested in practicing full-spectrum family medicine? International medicine opportunities? Research? Incorporating OB into your future practice? An emphasis on providing care to the under-served?


Is it safe there? What’s the average cost of living, and is it somewhere you’ll be able to afford living in with your salary + student loan debt? Is the weather something that you’ll be able to deal with? If you want to be close to your family again, how far away is it from them?

A work/life balance is also important–what hobbies/interests do you have, and are they available in the area?


How many months of electives do you get? Is there flexibility in regards to what you can and can’t do with them? Are you interested in doing “away electives,” and are those allowed? Are you interested in moonlighting, and is that an option that’s available and/or allowed there?


If you’re interested in pursuing a fellowship after residency, does the program offer opportunities to gain more experience in that area of focus? Do they have the fellowship you’re interested in?

Spouse/Significant Other/Kids

Will your spouse/significant other find a job there? Is there daycare available? What schools do they have there? What family activities are available in the area?



Farrah has a background in exercise biology and music. Her passions include food, sports medicine, working with the under-served, blogging, food and cats. She’s a good cook, too.

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